Posted on December 9, 2012, updated February 19, 2018
I have ordered plants and butterfly/ caterpillar live stock from Shady Oak many times. Service is always excellent, very friendly.
Plants and livestock are consistently good sized, healthy and well packed. Shady Oak is a great one stop shopping place for all my butterfly gardening needs. Edith, the owner, is always generous with information and assistance for butterfly gardening enthusiasts.On February 19th, 2018, margaran added the following:
5/5 STARS!! I have ordered livestock and plants from Shady Oak for ~a decade now. The prices, service, communication, packaging, and shipping have always been excellent. I have also ordered livestock from other companies when Shady Oak didnt have what I wanted. Shady Oak is better.
In 2017, I too ordered Spicebush Swallowtail cats. We'd (Florida) had an early stretch of warm weather followed by more cold. It caused many to eclose early and then get zapped by the cold.
I couldn't get my entire order either, sizes varied, a couple were DOA, and a few were questionable. Food was available in the box. I immediately took pics on opening the box and as soon as I had them on the plants so I could check their feeding and sent pics to SOBF. They offered me an immediate partial refund. They agreed to wait 24 hours as I felt more would live than they expected- which turned out to be the case. Even the majority of the small ones made it through.
My understanding is that most people got some of their order- myself included. It is rare but sometimes not all survive depending on size of cat ordered/available, weather conditions/stressors, and possibly distance but I live relatively close so I wouldn't know. I have ordered in 90+ degree heat and the order was fine.
These are livestock. Occasionally, some do not make it. Happens with any livestock company.
I took pics immediately on opening the box. Most went directly onto a plant and several were placed in a container so I could monitor them closely. I sent pics of that also and pics of their condition 24 hours later. I asked for and received compensation for those that died in first 24 hours. After that, I figure it's on me.
It was a rough year for butterflies, especially the less common ones. The key to a refund, per included instructions, is IMMEDIATE photo documentation and communication. I sent pics and phoned to follow up. They have never failed to get back to me. I continue to be a loyal customer.
I recently placed an order for 24 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars. My order arrived late and incomplete. Moreover, only 5 caterpillars survived shipping, likely due to inadequate food provided by the team for shipping. After requesting a refund or additional caterpillars, the Shady Oak Butterfly team refused even after I provided photographic evidence of the materials. Their customer service is woeful.
Friendly, helpful company with great plants (butterfly nectar and host plants, some not easily obtained anywhere else). Lots of information available online and they are also willing to answer individual questions. Good choices on sizes of plants. I've ordered twice now and plants have been in wonderful condition, larger than expected, and well rooted. My Great Southern Whites caterpillars ate down two cleome plants and the plants are quickly growing new leaves, a sign of a healthy plant. Also, all of my caterpillars have successfully pupated.
An excellent company to do business with. I recently ordered a variety of 70 larval host plants which all arrived in great condition. The plants were better than the size I was expecting, all had well developed root systems and were packed really good.
Am extremely pleased with this company, their plants and the communication and correspondence maintained through emails and the telephone as I was asking questions and deciding what plants to get.
I will definitely order from them again and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in butterfly larval host plants. They also have a good selection of nectaring plants too.