Be Cautious with Plants Through the Post….

This is the shipment I received today from the Michigan Bulb Company.  Have you seen their glossy ads?  Have you ordered from them?

April 11, 2014 Michigan Bulb order 002

A dwarf fig tree and a Colocasia received in today’s post from The Michigan Bulb Company. A second Colocasia, not in the photo, looks a little bit more healthy than this.

This company gives very variable service.  In honesty, I have gotten decent products from them at times in the past.    This is the worst I’ve ever seen from this company in terms of the quality of the stock, and the condition on arrival.

The larger plant is a fig tree.  It retailed for $5.00, and as you can see, is a well rooted cutting.  But, it arrived bone dry and shriveled.  The box passed from the postman to me about 5:30 PM this evening.  I opened it and photographed the plants before it had been in the house for 30 minutes.  And this sad lot is what I found.

(Yes, the plants are all getting a drink while I type.)

April 11, 2014 Michigan Bulb order 001

Now the Colocasia, also yellow and shriveled, isn’t even what I ordered.   I ordered the bare root tuber, and received this little potted start.

I actually ordered two of these, and didn’t photograph the one which arrived in slightly better shape.  This tiny, yellow, shriveled Colocasia actually cost $7.49.  And, there were shipping charges on top of it all.

Now in case you’re thinking it’s the fault of USPS that the plants are dry, the package was only in transit for four days.  The invoice was printed on April 7, and I’m receiving the order on April 11.  How do you think these plants looked when they went into the box?  Not so good, right?

This fig tree is absolutely bone dry as I unwrap it on delivery.

This fig tree is absolutely bone dry as I unwrap it on delivery.

This is why I prefer to shop locally whenever possible.  If you are able to find a good garden center who will stock the plants you want, you will nearly always get a better plant .  At least you have a choice in whether or not you want to purchase the plant before bringing it home.

In this case, I paid for these plants in early March.  My money has been tied up for six weeks, and this is what I get for it.

Lowes or Home Depot would have consigned these to the compost at least a week ago, yet Michigan Bulb Company shipped them out to me, and thinks I might order from them again.

What do you think? 

April 11, 2014 Michigan Bulb order 004

I’m getting ready to send them an email now.  And a copy of the photos.  And a link to this post.

Should the company make this good and replace the shriveled stock, you’ll be the second to know about it… right after my partner, who will probably bring the box up to me, from the postman.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

April 11, 2014 Homestead Plants 001

Just to end on a happy note, here are some of the beautiful plants we purchased earlier this afternoon at the Homestead Garden Center.  No plant in this entire box cost more than $5.00, by the way.  Look how healthy and well cared for they are!

April 11, 2014 Homestead Plants 002

Plants Through The Post

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

9 responses to “Be Cautious with Plants Through the Post….

  1. I think what you failed to here mention is the disregard and apathy of the pickers filling your order. In my early life my jobs included that type of work. I blame them too, and the management. I myself – as well as you – would never pick plants in those condition to send to a customer. We care.
    I like Lowe’s mark down plant section. I filled a small patch up front with the refugees. It makes me feel better here on my postage stamp piece of land by the canal. (more pizza slice shaped) Oh and my willow tree gets more beautiful each day! ( I’ve mentioned it in my email last time) Would you like to see a pic of it when it’s dine filling out?

    • Absolutely I’d love to see it! We don’t have willows in our garden, but there was a gorgeous one in the neighborhood that we always admired. It was a casualty of summer storms, and we miss it so much this spring. I join you in shopping the reduced rack at Lowes, and picked up a great Staghorn fern that way last week. They mark things down when they can be grown on successfully with a little care. Thank you for visiting Forest Garden today! WG

  2. After having similar disappointments, I’ve vowed to buy local (and not box stores, where money doesn’t stay in the area). Local nurseries deserve our business and support. They are hardworking members of our community, and because they are local, their products are often superior. Face to face is great way to build community. I’ve been buying from the same guy for over 20 years. His prices are great, his plants are at the pinnacle of health and his hanging plant combinations are pure art. We are lucky to have him. I think there are many good mail order companies, like your caladium grower, but I shy away from the big operations, whose quality has gone down over the years. I guess that old adage, “You get what you pay for” is true. Let’s hope this post gets MBC’s attention. Good luck!

    • Thank you, Eliza. You are totally correct. I generally talk with our local growers at our favorite garden center to find out what they plan to stock before ordering online. “You get what you pay for” is the bottom line, especially in this case! Thank you for visiting Forest Garden today 😉 Best wishes, WG

  3. Dear Woodland Gnome: sorry you got such a rotten delivery. I have ordered repeatedly from this company right here in Virginia and they are awesome. The plants arrive pampered and beautiful. Their website is hard to navigate and awkward but their plants are beyond good. Try them out. You’ll like them.

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