Very sad to see that.
It is pretty late in the year to be ordering plants by mail. I will find out how late next week when my latest Hirts order comes in.
Long time Hirts customer. 4 orders over the past 2 years. Always thrilled with the hard to find varieties of ornamentals I have purchased from them.
Yes, they sell small plants. But usually healthy and in good condition.
Lol, be warned, they ship as soon as you place an order. I like that because I have places to overwinter stuff till spring. It would be pretty awkward otherwise.
Most of my orders have been hardy evergreens (but grown in a greenhouse and needed hardening off!) shipped in January to March.
I bought from hirts before and the plants i received are usually good. I got a Jan and Joel cherry last year and the Jan quickly died. I emailed and they send a replacement Jan and Joel and the Joel quickly died. But again it was very late in the shipping season.
When ordering from places new I always like to start here first. Just like you posted a pic others do as well. That gives you a chance to see what it is they sell and hear others chime in with their experience. I would have been disappointed with that order as well.
Doesn’t Hirts tell you the size right there on the page when you are selecting the plant? So you order a 2 inch seedling for $7, and you are disappointed when the 2 inch seedling arrives? If I ordered this blackberry plant in the attached pic below, at that size and price, and it shipped and arrived in livable condition, I would not describe the vendor as “shady”. Hirts is pretty transparent in their sizes and prices.
I have ordered from Hirts a few times and yes the sizes are small, but the prices reflect that. If you are looking for large plants, and are willing to pay a higher price, then skip this vendor.
I sent my mom some hardy kiwi a few weeks ago from a couple different vendors. I ordered her a few plants from Hirts- they were tiny. The price was also tiny. She couldn’t believe how small they were (she mentioned it to me multiple times). I also ordered her some larger sized plants from One Green World. The price was larger. You would have loved the size of the plants from One Green World…but your $7 plant would have been $40 and the shipping would have been more expensive as well.
Flash forward to today- the tiny Hirts plants are doing amazing, and one of the One Green World plants has died. Go figure.
I don’t mind getting small plants. Larger plants are often root bound in a pot.
I’ve also found that Hirts ships immediately- sometimes within a few hours of placing an order. What other vendor ships that fast? I’ve ordered from many different places, and it averages a few days to a few weeks to two months for shipping.
The issue with Hirts is not just they have small plants but the fact they are often mislabeled. 8 dollars for a blackberry is not what I call cheap. Indiana berry has something like 10 dollar shipping to me and has much lower prices. The Apache blackberries there are 4.75 a piece while you are paying 8 dollars. Besides with blackberries you are cutting down the stock to begin with. My raspberry stocks from double a vineyards was already cut for example. With those blackberry stocks OP has I would be worried to cut them.
The issue wasn’t the size of the seedlings but the condition which was nearly dead. Did you notice the dead leaves where healthy growth should be? The plants were in extremely poor condition and only the blackberry survived. Even it shed most of the leaves which I don’t mind.
Hirt’s did refund the cost for the strawberry plants that eventually died. This is what I had asked for and Hirt’s was good about that. The fact that they were shipping nearly dead plants as ‘on sale’ items is unethical. Please stop belittling someone else’s experience just because yours wasn’t the same.
If you notice the agristarts label in the picture above these are tissue culture plants. There are a few other sellers like wellspring that ship those tiny tc starts as well. I agree it’s fine for the price but always a shock to people who order one of those for the first time! Good thing about tc plants is they are a safe bet to be disease free
No matter who you buy plants from, if it’s late in the season for bare roots they are not likely to perform that well because they are coming out of dormancy in summer conditions instead of the gentler weather of spring. If they have already begun to leaf out, it is worse, because that means that energy has already been wasted on roots that start to grow and die. It’s like a bank account that has been half drawn on However, such plants usually survive, IME, and you do get a bit of a jump over waiting another year…
If you’d payed full price and gotten them at the ideal time for strawberry plants their small size wouldn’t have mattered much because they grow very quickly when planted at that time.
When you’ve had many seasons of experience with many different nurseries you are in a better position to evaluate them, but Dave’s garden can be helpful. Nowadays many companies don’t invest much in customer service because it is not worth the investment in pure business terms. Small nurseries are often an exception to this, but try getting some help from Google or your health care provider. “Hold please”
I often buy clearance plants for $1 or $2 from the big boxes. And they are nearly dead. I guess one difference there is I can pick the least nearly dead myself while taking advantage of the sale, so I’m seeing what I’m getting. But I don’t consider that unethical.
Not to mention that you are looking at the very bottom of the pile. I have to order my bareroots for early June delivery because that’s the safe bet for Alaska. You should see the crap Stark Bros sent me last year. 2 out of 4 trees died, they just ignored my email asking about their warranty.
i agree that anything shipped from any nursery past mid june is a crapshoot and not likely to survive. i have the same issue as other northern growers so i now preorder over winter and have them deliver in early may and plant out right away so i still get decent stock. ive got s few rare fruits from hirts over the years and had good luck with them but they definitely need some tlc before putting outside. you get what you pay for. you want a well established plant, dont buy from them.