Gurney’s experiences?

Gurney’s occasionally carries varieties nobody else does, but I’ve always been a bit leery about them.

Years ago I bought seeds from them (and Henry Field’s, which even back in the late 1980s came across exactly the same company), and they were fine, but I’ve never ordered live plants from them.

I know it sounds bad, but a big part of it is that they just come off so kitschy, for lack of a better term.

Any thoughts?

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The only thing I recall ordering from them was a spring clearance of Carmine Jewel cherries. It was something like 8 plants for $5 each. They were small but healthy and have all done fine for me. I’ve even transplanted some of them once or twice and they have hung on. I just ordered the Everest grape. I added a bottle of Enz-Rot foliar calcium spray to get the $25 off since I use a similar product on my tomatoes every year anyways. If I subtract the $13 for the spray, which would be a reasonable price at a local store, I paid just under $30 for the bare root grape plant and shipping. If I would order a premium grape (ex. Golden Muscat) from Stark Bros right now it would be $19.99 plus $9.95 flat rate shipping, about the same price BUT I could order a bunch more stuff and not pay any extra for shipping from Stark and I imagine Stark’s grape would be much larger. I’m guessing the knock on Gurneys is : healthy plants but small and somewhat overpriced unless on sale. I don’t expect the Everest grape to be on sale any time soon, so I went for it.

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They sent me a dead grape two times in a row, but each time were very friendly about replacing/refunding…so that counts for something I guess. The other items I ordered were all very healthy and of average shipping size. They just had issues with the grape for some reason.

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I’ve ordered from them off and on for 50 years. They used to have a lifetime guarantee. Now it is only a one-year guarantee, so I have gone to ordering from several other companies. Some of the Gurneys items were mislabeled, but for the most part, they seem to be an okay company.

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Small trees- so-so prices because of high S and H. I ordered what was touted as being like an early Goldrush in mid-summer expecting delivery next spring. They sent it right away from cold storage- a twig with roots.

The rest of that summer and this entire growing season and the tree is still much smaller than trees from other nurseries I planted this spring. Not that much fresh growth. In 8 more years I may actually sample some fruit at this rate.

Buying trees from nurseries that provide service for commercial growers reduces the chances of getting runty trees, but even better advice would be to refer to reviews like Dave’s Garden. There are plenty of small nurseries that sell good stock.

Have they been under the same ownership as Henry Field’s for a long time?

As I stated, even in the late 1980s when I was a kid gardener, I noticed that their catalogs had the exact same print style, same layout, same descriptions, and I pretty much assumed they were the same company, even back then.

I would be leery of getting the right tree (lots of mis-labels) As well as having no idea what the rootstock is, Not to mention being little uncertain whether any new variety they had was just something else re-named.

If i want something rare i usually get it by exchange here or someplace like Englands, Honeyberry USA, etc., if i want cheap i graft myself and/or trade here, or go to burnt ridge and/or starks spring sale.

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I view them as the nursery of last resort - if no place else has it and I really want it I will order from them. Usually it works out fine, but the odds of it not are a lot greater, and as Alan mentions you may get a runt which will take an extra year or more to recover.


Gurney’s used to be a fairly good source of trees and had a good guarantee. The company that owned them went through bankruptcy several years ago the best I recall. I have not ordered from them since.


I got 3 of the romance cherries from HF’s a few years ago and they were huge, but…
Too many stories like Alan’s about both companies.

About 10-15 years ago, my wife ordered a semi-dwarf pear from gurneys. Not sure of the variety (I don’t recall the variety she wanted at this point). The tree was generally healthy although it had some set backs and was transplanted to a sunnier location a few years ago. It finally produced pears this year, and they appear to be winter nelis, which is not what my wife ordered. I read about that happening to someone else around the same time frame. Oh well, it seems we have a winter nelis :slight_smile:

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I have ordered from Gurney’s in the past. Mainly seeds but a few trees. I ordered a TruGold peach tree this past year because it was the only place that it had it at the time. The tree was average size and nothing wrong with it. Using a coupon the price was good for one tree.

Years ago I used to order seed from Gurneys on a regular basis. I stopped because it seemed like the germination rate was lower than seeds from other companies. This was some time ago.

I took a chance on their end of the season bare root strawberries, $20 shipped for 10 albion and 25 annapolis. every one I planted leafed out. they must have been treated pretty well since they went eight days in the mail in some really hot weather after being in cold storage for who knows how long

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I tried to order a Wowza cherry once. They refuse to ship to Alaska…cross them off the list.

It’s hit or miss. One year the potato seeds I ordered from them were great. This past year, the purple viking had scab. I’ve ordered kohlrabi seeds from them, and had alot not form the bulbs, but the green jade 2 seeds I ordered from them were great. So hit or miss. I haven’t tried them for fruit trees.

My wife finally received the last two parts of her seed order from Gurney’s. The order was placed in early March. I had warned her about Gurney’s before, she now will not order from them again.

I avoid Gurney’s but had a gift card for them this spring. I ordered a Juliet cherry and they sent out one of the biggest bare root plants I’ve ever received. Took well and even set a handful of cherries this year.

They also managed to convince me to buy one of their new KangaRhu rhubarb plants. They sent a too-small tissue culture plant that I had to nurse along for a few weeks, but I think it will be OK.

Long story short, I was wowed by the cherry and disappointed by the rhubarb. It’s nice when you get exceptional quality occasionaly, but it would be nicer to get consistent quality at whatever level. Between that and their inflated prices (and never ending “limited time offers”), I think I’ll continue to order from them only if I have a gift card or if they’re the only one carrying a must-have item.

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Despite their cringe-worthy advertising practices - ridiculous markups accompanied by ridiculous coupons - I have gotten some good trees from them over the years. Would only order with a 50% off coupon


I ordered a couple things from Gurneys this year.

I bought a pixie crunch and Sundance apple trees from them. They are very thin but have leafed out well and look to be growing.

Goji berry and aronia berry also have established and are leafing out. I bought two raspberries, Anne and Caroline. Anne looks to be growing no sign for Caroline, but I hear they have a good return policy.

Finally I got sunchokes and sweet potatoes from them and they are growing.

Overall, I buy things from them when there is a sale and survival rate has been good for me. No big complaints from me, but then again I’m a beginner and just staring to build out my backyard orchard

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Thanks for the helpful feedback. Congrats on your first posting.

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