Updated January 2, 2020
Direct Gardening Grade: D-
Overall rating: 60.5
Location: Bloomington, IL
Why do we list location? This is so you can know, in most cases, where the evergreen shrubs you buy are coming from.
Breakdown of scores from each of the 11 factors we evaluate. You can read details on what each category means and how we score it here.
|Years site Active||5|
|Range of sizes||6|
Direct Gardening Review:
Direct Gardening is stuck in last place for the ninth month in a row. Their rating, grade and rank all stayed the same. At a total score of 60.5 Direct Gardening is just 1.5 points away from an F, our first ever if it gets that dubious distinction.
DirectGardening.com has been around a long time, starting in 1999. That placed it 7th in our evaluations of online nurseries that sell evergreen shrubs, deserving a high rating. Domain authority, or how Google perceives their authority with online nurseries went down this spring by 7 points. That's a lot and Direct Gardening has not fully recovered.
Direct Gardening has one of the shortest Terms of Service of all the online nurseries we evaluated. Whatever you do, KEEP the original shipping label! Their return policy has 2 segments.
If you're not satisfied within the first year send them the plant and original shipping label and they will offer a replacement. "If you are dissatisfied with any merchandise, return it together with the ORIGINAL SHIPPING LABEL within 1 year of receipt for a FREE REPLACEMENT. Replacement guarantee is VOID unless the ORIGINAL SHIPPING LABEL is returned." They actually repeat the same sentence twice. It's odd. It's also very short. You can read Direct Gardening's product guarantee here.
Direct Gardening does offer a refund if notified within 14 days after you received the plant(s). "For a REFUND of the purchase price, RETURN THE ITEM AND THE ORIGINAL SHIPPING LABEL, with the correct postage affixed, within 14 days of receipt." You should also know we found more than a few reviews claiming they never got the refund owed.
Direct Gardening reviews on Google aren't good. They're now up to 294 reviews and their average star rating keeps going down.. As of december 31st, it was down to a 1.3 average. That should probably be enough to tell you whether to consider shopping there.
It took us a long time but we eventually found 2 plants where Direct Gardening lists a plant size when shipped.
Direct Gardening doesn't disclose it as far as we could tell but it appears everything is shipped bare root. Kind of explains their low prices.
It seems shipping is flat rate at $9.99. Again, we couldn't find it stated anywhere but as we added more & more to our cart, the ship cost remained at $9.99. They also offer some free plants with minimum purchases. Details can be found on their home page.
Compared to other online nurseries, even ones older than Direct Gardening, the site seems a bit outdated & clunky. Sometimes the small things do matter. They still have a banner on their home page promoting what's new for 2019?!?! The copyright date at the bottom of the website still says 2018. Both relatively minor issues but we strongly urge you to call them if you want to place an order and ask a lot of questions... including why they have so many bad reviews on Google.
What were the red flags?
- The product descriptions are pretty basic, not a lot of details.
- No product reviews that we could find.
- No container sizes listed that we could find. If if they are shipping evergreen shrubs bare root, they should have some sort of size range.
- Ship times seem a bit vague.
- We found broken links as well as sizes that are listed both in and out of stock.
- Direct Gardening is getting HAMMERED with bad reviews on Google. A 1.3 average rating. Facebook isn't any better with a 1.3 average rating.
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