PO Box 644023
Vero Beach, Florida 32964-4023 (United States)
(772) 778-8361


Native Habitat celebrates 21 years in business October 2009. Prior to that, Allan McCarthy & Lee Rathbun co-founded & run to this day the Indian River Chapter of Rare Fruit Council International, Inc. in 1980. We have been collecting rare fruits, nuts, spices, medicinal plants, unusual culinary herbs, rare palms, Florida Native plants, fragrances, entheogens and other hard to find ornamental & useful plants for over 30 years.

Most of these plants are available for shipment worldwide including the island of Bermuda & other very hard to ship to areas). We will also, acquire, permit, deliver & install a rare plant collection anywhere for the discriminating horticulturist and we contract grow crops of rare plants for those in need of large numbers.

We pride ourselves in our ability to find & deliver the rarest plant material to our fellow collectors around the world. We are open to visitors by appointment only. Our website is //www.nativehabitat.com (currently undergoing massive revision.)

posted on March 20, 2009



Displaying the 15 most recent reviews

On Nov 7, 2004, RWhiz (6 reviews) from Spring Valley, CA (Zone 10a)

It took three months of cajoling to receive the plant I ordered. $30 for one tiny little seedling. I noticed on my CC statement that they applied it immediately. I ordered in early-August and finally received the plant in early November. Lee, the e-mail contact was very nonchalant about the whole process. Every two weeks I would send an inquiry. After the first month he started using the hurricanes as an excuse. I usually order 1 or 2 plants and usually not too expensive before I commit to doing steady business with an online company. This is one company I won't be doing business with again. I did FINALLY get my plant, but beware of this outfit.

On November 24th, 2004, RWhiz changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following: I went back and looked at my e-mails and it was August 26 when I first received a response from Lee Rathbun. So he is correct on that point. Back in the mid 1980's I received about a half-dozen Butea monosperma seeds. The dry seeds look like big brown lima beans. I soaked them overnight and planted them the next day. All of them sprouted within a few days. In six months they were between 8-10 inches tall. I gave half of them to friends and kept three for myself. Three years later they were about 2-1/2 feet tall. I kept them outside in pots on the patio. In around 1988-1989 we had a cold rainy winter and I lost all three of them. I'll give the benefit of the doubt and say this plant I received is about 4 inches tall (max). In retrospect I should have just gotten some seed and grown them myself. It would have been much cheaper and less hassle. I'll change this to neutral because I was wrong on the time duration and I did receive the plant. Just don't tell me it was a 3-year old seedling. A lot of this distrust and dissatisfaction could have been avoided if there had been better e-mail communication in the first place. I wanted the plant so much that I probably would have bought it anyway full well knowing it was 3-4 inches. And when you have a catastrophic event like a hurricane, it would help to notify customers with a bulk e-mail mailing. Ron Whisenhunt Spring Valley CA
Company representative comment on November 8, 2004:
The date on Mr. Whisenhunts order is August 26. The order was shipped on October 28th. On Sept. 5th, we took a direct hit from Hurricane Frances enduring 36 hours of eye wall with sustained winds in excess of 100 mph. This caused unprecedented devastation to the town of Vero Beach, Florida. We were a Federal Disaster area with National Guard directing traffic with M16s, no traffic lights, no power, no ice, no food, no water, no fuel....long lines for everything. Three weeks later Hurricane Jeanne hit us as a category 3 hurricane with SUSTAINED winds in excess of 122mph with gusts over 145!!! Thankfully we were only in EYE WALL for 10 hours this time. Back to no infrastructure at all & survival conditions. Mr. Whisenhunt has the nerve to say that we used the hurricanes as an excuse!!! We are still not recovered from these disasters & nothing will ever be the same.
But we took the time as soon as we could to send Mr. Whisenhunt his order. A Butea monosperma. The plant was a small "seedling" but it was 3 years old. We drive 7 hours to the only tree we know that sets seeds. For every 200 pods that we pick up, one has a fertile seeds in it. Maybe half ot these seeds germinate so we produce 3 of these a year if we are lucky. He makes it sound like we sent him some just sprouted seedling. If he knows where a better deal is on Butea, why doesn't he tell us all? I would like to buy some bigger, nicer plants for less than $30....

One last thing. Like a Phoenix, we are going to rise from the ashes of these disasters bigger & better & more able to be responsive. The website is undergoing a major facelift. We plan to offer less variety so we can concentrate on what we do the best. We will likely never sell Brugmansia again until everyone admits that the virus genie is & has been out of the bottle for some time (and we did not uncork the bottle)....
We have never failed to resolve a complaint if given the opportunity, and we really are trying hard to provide a service that was not available to us when we started collecting rare plants. We wish you well!!!

On Jun 28, 2004, plantcrazy1955 (1 reviews)

well i ordered several plants from them on, i think it was thursday of last week, the 24th of june 2004. it was charged on my mastercard, and i was supposed to be sent by them an email confirming my order with them, and what i had ordered from them as well, with a total on it etc.they said on their website that they would be sending it to me shortly to confirm my order with them!!! i have yet to this day received nothing whatsoever from them to acknowledge the fact that i had even ordered anything from them at all!!! they submitted my order, processed it to my mastercard, and i have not heard anything from them since!!! i just emailed them today the 28th of june 2004, to find out where the hell is my confirmation email they told me that they would be sending me shortly on their website, after i gave them all of my information etc. that they needed to process the order, and the list of plants that i wanted to order from them as well. i have not received anything from them at all!!! it is as if i never ordered from them at all!!! i do not know what to think, but one thing is for sure i have no intention of paying for plants that i have never received, and then have them charged to my mastercard, there is no way in hell, they will get away with that, that i can assure them of!! i will dispute the charges on my card if they appear and i have nothing from them to show for it, and i will have my credit card company retrieve all of my money back from them before i pay the bill. i have a right to do this.i will wait and see, and i hope that it does not come to this, but if it does this neutral will be turned into a negative,you can be for sure of that!!!!! thanks for listening, and i hope that this will be cleared up as soon as possible!!! sincerely, rennea d. burgess, and my mother betty j. esposito.

On Apr 17, 2004, gardenerbob (1 reviews) from Belleville, IL

Well, I have now sent this company 2 separate emails and finally tracked down a phone number (I think) and left them a message. I have received NOTHING back from them.... It is spring 2004 in my area and I am very interested in purchasing quite a bit from this company based on their website and the types of plants they have in stock. In fact, many of their plants say "contact us" before purchasing --- my question is HOW????? They NEVER get back to you and this is very frustrating. I have purchased a lot of things over the internet, including plants and have always had my questions and concerns answered very timely and in a very polite manner. This is kind of ridiculous... What in the world prevents them from answering an email sent more than 3 weeks ago... By the time I order and receive these plants it will be WINTER!!! Bob

On Aug 28, 2003, RobynLacy (7 reviews) from Sacramento, CA (Zone 10a)

Ordered 5 plants sometime in Spring....waited and waited...emailed them and they told me they had a crop failure or something, no problem....I went on waiting....and waiting.....finally, I just got them. Well, the clove died...it was doing poorly when I got it, but I KNEW that it was ultra tropical, so I don't blame them, but next time I am going to pay for overnight shipping. Everything else arrived perfectly. I have ordered plants online long enough to tell when plants are propagated when ordered. All this is fine, I really am satisfied with the plants, I would order from this company again, I really would, I just have 2 wishes....1) give some kind of idea of the wait and/or warn when shipping, so that after all those months, I can have pots/soil ready when they arrive. 2) send some kind of growing instructions as some of these plants are extremely rare and finding cultural needs on them is difficult. Luckily, I have grown enough tropicals to give a good guess, but a newbie would fail. I wish them luck in their business, I really appreciate the shipping to California, since Jene's won't ship here. I can hardly wait to re-order the clove...hopefully with better results. Like I said, I will order from them again!

On Aug 17, 2003, Mblade (3 reviews)

I have been trying to figure out how in the world to contact this comapny since they are not listed anywhere regarding Vero Beach, even with the chamber of commerce! I have sent out a few emails to them and never get a reply back, and am Growing fustrated as I have money to spend, I live close enough to vero beach to drive there and pick up plants in person, yet with no direction or even so much as a "yes or no" we dont take walk ins, this gets very frutrating. I realize this company is probably a hobbiest company, and Kudo's to them for becoming so successfull at it, but with a websight that took many many hours to design and pictures of everything they offer, you would think they would spend the extra money on just hiring someone to answer the phone (once they ever got around to putting a number up). This is not a negative session, just a very frustrated person trying to reach these people to be able to enjoy the rare and unusual plants they have to offer

On Aug 16, 2003, Calalily (40 reviews) from Deep South Coastal, TX (Zone 10a)

I have purchased from this company several times in the past year. The plants are always large, packed really well and in great shape.

On Aug 11, 2003, tmagent (3 reviews) from San Diego, CA

A few weeks ago, I ordered several different brugmansia cuttings from this company. I've heard nothing from them, my credit card has not been charged, and I've been left in the lurch. How long would it take to send a simple email saying they're backlogged or out of stock? Not getting a response to the order is irritating, to the say the least. I don't even think they're worthy of having a website and they will never get another order from me even if they do eventually shape up.

On August 12th, 2003, tmagent added the following: FOLLOW-UP 8-12-03. Here is the response I just received from Lee at Native Habitat. Nice guy, huh? He might want to take a course on customer service. ------------------------------------------------------ We clearly state that it could take up to 8 weeks to fill orders. Did you not take the time to read our terms? Plants are not like hummel figurines that I can take off a shelf & send to you the day I get your order. I am glad I found out what kind of person you seem to be (aggressively impatient & hard to satisfy, etc.) BEFORE I charged your card or sent you anything. Most of our customers are repeat business & they know that it can sometimes take up to 6 months or more to fill an order for particularly rare items. Many of the plants we offer are available ONLY through us & folks are willing to wait for them. I really feel like we dodged a bullet not doing business with you. lee www.nativehabitat.com
Company representative comment on August 12, 2003:
We are thankful for the overwhelming response that we have had from our offerings of rare plant material. Our terms clearly state that it could take 8 weeks or more to receive an order. I will freely admit to taking much longer than that in many cases. We have never once ripped off a customer. If the wait is too long, all they have to do is ask for their
money back & it is cheerfully refunded. Usually, the case is that we have grown a plant especially for that person & by the time their number comes up, the plants are huge & the customer's effusive with praise.

It only takes one unsatisfied customer to negate ten positive testimonials & ruin ones day. Over 2 months ago, we posted a notice on the front page of our website stating that we were no longer taking orders until we get caught up. This should have been a clue to Mr. McCammon that our response was not going to be swift. The fact that we did not even have his money & he slanders us in this forum (after 3 weeks!!!) should tell you what you need to know.

We are proud of being able to offer the rarest plants in
the world. We have successfully shipped to over 50 countries. We provide plant material for medical research and sell to many zoos, botanical gardens & arboretums.

I really wish I could answer the thousands of emails & hundreds of phone calls we get each week but I can't. We are too busy growing rare plants & putting them in the hands of good people who will help to insure their survival. Fortunately, the vast majority of our customers are patient and kind and in the end, very satisfied with our offerings. It is to them we are grateful.

Love & Light
Lee Rathbun

On Jun 30, 2003, suntzu (4 reviews) from Waterford, CA

I ordered plants and other items from this company almost three months ago.In that time I have recieved one packet of incesce (Incense of the month ).It has been said that patience is a virtue.Looks like these folks are not prepared for success.What the hey,I'll gve them a while longer.It's only money.

On Jun 4, 2003, ahelms (42 reviews) from Kannapolis, NC (Zone 7b)

Received my order and was happy. I'll order from them again when they get caught up. LOL

On May 3, 2003, Kell (8 reviews) from (Zone 9b)

Received a large and healthy plant so I would order from this store again. They were true to their word and even called to make sure I would be home to receive package.

On Apr 19, 2003, gone2seed (24 reviews) from Milton, FL (Zone 8a)

Received my plants as promised.They were well packed and in good condition.I am a very satisfied customer and will buy from them again.

On Jan 9, 2003, EkIm (1 reviews)

I have visited this nursery and met with both owners. Their knowledge, expertise and helpfulness has been extremely beneficial in the development of my "botanical garden". I live within the area of Native Habitat and have been there on several occassions to purchase trees and plants. Both owners have always made certain I was completely satisfied, and sometimes that can be tedious. Highly recommend them to the any botanical connoisseur.

On Jul 16, 2002, nizzy (1 reviews)

I cannot say enough bad things about my experience with this nursery, the worst I have ever had. I should have been suspicious when they listed no phone number or address on their website. They billed my credit card immediately, would not send my plants and did not answer my emails. They finally sent me one plant out of an order of 5 and my seed order, which consisted of any empty enevelope. Their packing list had the nerve to have "Tell your friends about us" at the bottom of it - I definitely will!

On April 13, 2003, nizzy changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following: This is to update my negative comment regarding this nursery a few months ago. When this was brought to their attention, the nursery located my order. I have now received my plants, they are healthy, and I want to inform this forum of their efforts to make things right.

On Jul 1, 2002, marysizemore (2 reviews)

I would like to go on record with a complaint about Native Habitat Ethnobotanicals, the worst mail-order experience I have had. They billed my credit card immediately, did not ship when they said they would, finally shipped one plant out of five, and they consistently refused to answer my email requests. I heartily dis-endorse this nursery.

On Dec 1, 2000, bspaleo (1 reviews)

I don't think this is actually a mail-order nursery, but rather a landscape company that has an interest in (what I would call ) unusual tropicals. They have a pretty nifty website, with pop-up photo/descriptions of available tropical plants. I ordered several tropical fruit plants (carambola, miracle fruit, black sapote) - there is no on-line ordering, so I had to print out the order form and fill it in~by hand~! It took about 5 weeks, but the plants arrived packed astoundingly well - a truck could have run over the carton without harming them. Very nice size plants, in good condition. No culture instructions. I really have the impression that this business is sort of a hobby run amok. Since ordering, I've made several info requests via e-mail, and received consistently informative replies. Nice little company, I think, though neither wanting nor prepared for big volume.

On Feb 20, 2003, nancyanne/bspaleo added the following:To the best of my knowledge, this co. is a couple of landscapers with a strong interest in unusual plants, particularly zone 10 and tropicals. This will be about my 5th yr. ordering from NH - I've always been thrilled with the plants, as well as their growth and health. They sometimes do take awhile to ship the plants, and are not particularly prone to keep in touch about orders. However, the plants always turn up, always well packed, always healthy. A really nice website, and the selection of plants is unusual and interesting. I would recommend them.

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