I ordered 4 plants recently from TheTreeCenter.com. 2, 1-gallon evergreen groundcovers (Bowles Periwinkle), a 1 gallon Pink Lemonade Blueberry and a 3 gallon Double Red Knock Out rose. I paid $107 total. They offer free shipping on orders over $100, so there was no shipping charge.
The order process was smooth. Getting around The Tree Center website was easy enough. I ordered on a Thursday, the plants were shipped the following Monday and were delivered to my home on Wednesday. All 4 containers/plants showed up in one box. I was kind of surprised, I expected more than one box. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve posted pictures below of the box & plants.
Here’s the bottom line… I was impressed by pretty much everything.
The shipping box had 42 staples (I counted). I’ve received orders before from other nurseries where they put the staple through the bottom of a container to keep it from moving. You need a screwdriver or pliers to get the friggin staples out, to get the plants out.
Turns out not a single staple needed to be removed. Not to open the box. Not get out the plants. Custom corrugated collars helped keep the plants secure inside the box. Each container was in a plastic bag closed with a zip tie to prevent soil from dropping out.
There was a thick plastic zip lock bag inside that contained a printed invoice and an envelope with my first name handwritten on it. A welcome letter from a co-founder of The Tree Center was inside. Nice touch.
The Tree Center packaging and packing processes are not cheap. I worked for 3 of the largest online nurseries for 10 years. In my opinion, the time, effort & money The Tree Center puts into packing & shipping your plants is as good as it gets.
Our review and overall rating of The Tree Center expresses a concern about the address they use being a Post Office box. From looking up the address on the shipping label, it appears they actually have their own fields. Not to mention all four plants came in one box, from one location. Makes me feel better about them being a real nursery.
I paid $16.50 each for the 2 Vinca Minor ‘Bowles’ Periwinkle. I thought that was a good deal. You can easily find nurseries selling trays/flats of plugs. I haven’t found many nurseries that sell more established Periwinkle plants. They are a spreading evergreen groundcover that thrives in shade. I've got the perfect spot for them under an oak tree in my back yard.
The 1-gallon Pink Lemonade Blueberry was $24.50. In comparison, Nature Hills charges $34.95 for the same thing. At the time we looked, there was no shipping discount or promotions running. That means I would have paid an additional $17.95 shipping.
I paid $49.95 for the 3-gallon Double Red Knockout. They were on sale at a local big box hardware garden center for $30. I see 3-gallon container Knock Out roses ranging between $40 and $60 online. I paid more than if I had bought from a local garden center but the price was in the middle of with what others online are charging. I was okay with it.
The plants themselves, in my opinion, were awesome. All of them had buds and/or blooms with well-developed root systems.
I did notice The Tree Center Google reviews this spring are mostly negative. All but 2 from the past 2 months are 1 star ratings. Many complaints are for customer service but a few were disappointed with their plants. It always surprises me when someone spends $1,500 or $2,000 and then complains after they get their order that they could have found the same thing cheaper locally. Maybe it's just me but I would be asking a lot of questions & getting a strong comfort level from any nursery before I spent that kind of money.
If there was anything to criticize about my order, and it is relatively minor, there were no planting directions in the box from The Tree Center. At least not that we saw. Both the order confirmation & ship notice emails from The Tree Center had links to a Planting Guide. For those more tactile, having something to hold and take with them outside would be nice.
Overall, I was impressed. The Tree Center has put a lot of thought and care into the packing, apparently operate their own fields and send quality plants. At least from my experience.
Photo Gallery - Un-boxing Plants Ordered From The Tree Center: