Warning about shady Thai eBay vendor 'Areya'

julias(z9 CA)May 7, 2009

Hey everyone,

Just a heads-up about an eBay vendor going by the name "Aleya Garden" or "Areya's Garden."

I purchased 5 plants from this vendor. They took 14 days to reach the U.S., and when they arrived, they were all - except for H. davidcummingi -- on death's door. The stems, roots, leaves were yellow and mushy on the rest.

The vendor advertises that "mature, 16-inch, well-rooted plants." This is a lie. The H. caudata was a 5-inch vine. The sole leaf fell off en route. The H. waymanaie has 2 struggling leaves and was only 6 inches long.

He refused to replace the hoyas, and told me I'd have to send back the entire shipment back to him on my dime (shipping to Thailand is very expensive). I took detailed close-ups of the damage, but he still refused to replace the plants.He said the "stems still looked good."

This is just a warning to all you hoya heads attracted to his cheap prices on eBay. You get what you pay for. Don't waste money on him - it's a scam. Better to go with more expensive U.S. vendors - at least you'll get a live plant!!


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I have purchased from this vendor in the past and experienced no problems. I think that when you order plants from half way across the world you have to figure in the possibility that those plants may be dead when they get to you. The vendor sent perfectly healthy plants and when it comes down to it they are not at fault if the plants don't make the trip. I will admit that the gel on the roots needs to be completely removed before the plants are potted up but other than the slight problem I experienced with that I was quite happy with what I received. I currently am awaiting two more Hoyas so hopefully they make the trip. I try to limit foreign orders unless I can absolutely not find what I want closer to home, there is always risk associated with these transactions and it can end in disappointment.

Sorry your Hoyas did not make it.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 12:01AM
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julias(z9 CA)

I understand the long trip can lead to damages, but what bothered me even more was the paltry size of the cutting after he advertised 16-inch mature plants.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 12:20AM
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kellyknits(6/WV Eastern Panhandle)

I, too, had a similar experience with the same vendor. One plant waymanaie was dead, another was struggling and another was incorrect. I think for one - that gel stuff on the roots led to the demise just as much as the time in transit. To top it off he was quite rude about the whole ordeal, although he did reimburse me for the dead plant. Same deal, I'd have to send them back for reimbursement and then he'd have to decide whether I "altered" them or not....
Hope you didn't ask him to trace the package because of how long it was taking! He was really upset with me about that! Told me to file a claim with a Paypal, so I did and then he totally flew off the handle about it saying I owed him money for the hassle of having to check....he TOLD me to file the claim....
Never again...

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 7:32AM
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I've always been leary of plants coming that far, which is why this is my first year participating in the Liddle order. Dehydration is the enemy when it comes time to root cuttings, so that's my biggest worry... Last fall, I ordered a couple Hoya cuttings from the Dischidia guy. I think what probably happened is he took the cuttings when I ordered them, but then he didn't get them sent for another week. By the time I got them, they were too dehydrated to salvage. I didn't say anything to him for the very reason you mention, Kelly - I just don't like to "get into it" with people, and you never know how they will react. I think it's just easier to scratch them from my "buy from" list... I'm sure a lot of people would make it right, but then there's always an air of hostility on their part because they have to wonder (probably rightfully so in some cases) if the buyer didn't just screw up and lose the cutting.

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 8:29AM
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julias(z9 CA)

Kelly, did you have to send back your order, or how did you get him to replace the plant?

The roots were pretty much mushy and rotted by the time I got them. I had to laugh aloud when he said the "stems still look good" thus he was not going to replace them. Um, you advertise a healthy, mature, fully-rooted plant and then send rotting stems? Yeah, right.

Sorry about your cuttings, Denise. But don't vendors need our feedback so they can improve their services? What ever happened to customer service - especially because hoya collectors form a relatively small group and we share data re reliable vendors.

I learned my lesson. Sigh. My favorite way to acquire new hoyas is the old-fashioned way - trades!!

p.s. I had previously ordered a hoya "square leaf" from another Thai vendor off eBay, apodagis, and the plant arrived healthy and happy after 10 days.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 11:19AM
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I think the gel that keeps the roots from drying out causes rot. My Hoya coriacea lost it's roots and I had to save it by cutting the top two nodes of the cutting and rooting that. I can see both sides of the coin though because the seller does put in lots of time and work growing the plants just to have them die in transit due to unforeseen delays, that is not their fault and there is little they can do about it. If the seller were to replace the plants they may just end up dead a second time so it's a tough situation to deal with and can end up costing them much more than the buyer spent. I think sellers close to home are the best bet for good healthy plants and trades are always fun but there's always a chance something will go wrong. I know there are several nurseries in Canada that I will never order from again from past negative experience, live and learn I guess but it is always disappointing when you loose the plants or they languish for years and then die slowly.

Julia now you have me worried about my Hoyas. LOL


    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 11:40AM
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kellyknits(6/WV Eastern Panhandle)

I just dropped it after he was so rude. Like you I thought it too expensive to send the plant back and with his comment about having to check it to see if I'd "altered" it made me VERY leary. Once it would be back in his hands how would I be able to prove I didn't do anything to it? So I have a plant I didn't really want- of course it's the only one of the 4 plants that has done well!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 3:53PM
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I have also ordered from this vendor. Luckily I had a good experience though. Don't like that gel either. I rinsed it off right away. I have had bed experiences with other vendors, not hoyas, and it is really disappointing.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 4:05PM
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julias(z9 CA)

Sorry, Mike - maybe he'll read this thread and expedite your purchase!

Kelly - how in the heck would have "altered" it- ha! I think good close-up photos should suffice given the distance/ shipping costs.

My H. caudata from him lost its last leaf. I tried placing the bare stem on top of soil in a tabletop greenhouse, but it turned to mush.

I understand about the long transit time not being the vendor's fault, but again, had the plants really been 16 inches long -- as advertised -- I could have very well taken cuttings and tried to revive them.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 9:49PM
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Well my Hoyas arrived yesterday just minutes before I left for work. The package looked like it had been run over by a truck, testament to the journey the plants had been on since leaving Thailand. When I opened the package the cuttings were well wrapped but a few leaves on Hoya hypolasia had dropped due to dessication and both cuttings were obviously very dry. At first sight the cuttings looked like they would not make it. Because I was in a rush to get to work and because I have experienced this sort of thing before I quickly filled a bucket with luke warm water and a little bit of sugar, a trick orchid growers used to use when they received stressed imported plants. The cuttings have been in the bucket for almost twelve house and they look good as new now. I really wish I had not been in such a rush because before and after photos would have been a dramatic way to show just how far a dessicated and stressed cutting can improve with a little TLC. If it's green it's still alive! LOL

Importing plants is much more complicated than it seems and is not always as easy as making a purchase and waiting for the plants to arrive. If your package were to be inspected by customs and it were potted in anything it would have been destroyed. Importing soil or any type of potting material is prohibited to protect against introduced pest species. Bare root cuttings or cuttings without roots are fine because they pose no problems for inspectors and are unlikely to carry hidden insects. Although I am in Canada the rules are much the same. I have had packages inspected in the past and because it contained rootless cuttings they were repackaged and shipped to me. Had there been soil or plants that are CITIES controlled but without an import permit and phytosanitary certificate of inspection they would have been destroyed and I may have had an unpleasant phone call, importing plants is taken very seriously.

Here are my Hoyas after their soak. I will pot them up and keep them in my rooting chamber until they develop more roots and make a full recovery.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 12:17PM
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Mike - they look pretty darned good! I'll have to try this trick next time I get dehydrated cuttings...

Julia - when I e-mailed the Dischidia guy to let him know they arrived, I told him they were pretty dehydrated. (They were also small cuttings - less than 6"...) He didn't respond. I figured if not mailing them as soon as he took the cuttings was his M.O., I don't plan to order more. If it was a mistake, surely he would have let me know that and offered to replace them if they didn't make it. If I were selling, I'd certainly try to follow up and see if everything was satisfactory.

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 12:46PM
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julias(z9 CA)

Wow, Mike - he must really like you! Your cuttings are twice as big as mine! Lucky you.

Here's H. caudata (now DEAD):

Here's H. flavida:

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 5:41PM
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julias(z9 CA)

As you can see, they are not as healthy as yours. I did soak them in water/Superthrive overnight, but I think they're too far gone to save.

Denise, too bad about the Dischidia guy - these vendors would do better to be virtuous, they'd get repeat customers and make more money. (p.s. I don't collect dischidias, but I just noticed them at the Berkeley Target from EA this morning for the first time.)


    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 5:45PM
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Your cuttings do look a little rough. The Hoya coriacea I got last fall developed similar rot but you would never know by the plant it has become today. Were you able to salvage some healthy parts of the Hoya flavida? The Hoya caudata looks OK, this one often has very few leaves close together so cuttings can look bare but that's just the way this one grows. My Hoya caudata has taken a year to add two new leaves but although the stem has grown quite a lot since I got it. If a cutting looks like it's not doing well after you pot it up make sure to remove it from the pot to check for rot. If you trim the stem to healthy tissue before the cutting starts to look too bad it will usually root just fine. A warm, bright and very humid atmosphere helps the cuttings tremendously.

This reminds me of the cuttings in the American East order from David Liddle last year. The cuttings were held at customs and by the time they were released many of them were completely yellow and close to death. Any more than ten days in a box and many plants start to decline in health fairly rapidly.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 6:04PM
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Thanks for your comments about caudata. I got a small, rooted cutting from Cowboyflowerman last summer. Actually, there were two rooted cuttings, but I lost one of them. The other had only two leaves, which it has to this day. I watch it closely and there is absolutely no signs of new growth. But it maintains the two leaves, so I figure it's just a matter of time before it grows.

Another one is sigillatis. When I got the aforementioned cuttings from the D-guy, I also got a rooted cutting of sigillatis. It seems perfectly healthy, but not even an iota of new growth. **sigh** I guess they can't ALL be monster-growers!

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 6:30PM
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kellyknits(6/WV Eastern Panhandle)

Mike, your cuttings do look really good! Was the gel stuff on them?


    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 8:55PM
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I am quite surprised to read here some negative
feedbacks about the store Areya on ebay because I got
on the contrary a very positive experience myself a few
weeks ago, and I don't think that many stores would
have acted as honestly as they did with me. I had
bought Vanda orchids from them and because of a
specific application of the CITES exemption regarding
these plants in Belgium they were confiscated at the
customs. In order to avoid confiscation I should have
done an import permit before importing or the Vandas
should have been flowering when I received them but I
really did not know it and this shop Areya at that time
did not know it either. They used to send Vandas with a
CITES to countries in the EU where import permits are
not required from buyers although these countries are
under the same law as Belgium. As I thought that Paypal
was working like an insurance and could give me a
refund I made a claim for a non received item. But
Paypal closed the case saying that they would not be in
my favour. The following day Areya's owner offered me
the refund of 50% of the total including transport,
saying that although Paypal had closed the case in
their favour they appreciated my good faith in our
discussion. As as I said the case was already closed, I
am pretty sure that a court order would not have been
in my favour either and also I could not threaten them
with a negative feedback anymore so they had really no
obligation to refund me but they did it.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 5:21AM
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But don't you think that as an exporter, they should have known the laws to make sure you got what you paid for? And, if there was something you needed to do on your end (such as get a permit), surely they should know that, too, and have told you what you need to do. I don't think I'd be very happy if I were in your shoes. I know it's not possible to have all the rules & laws memorized for every country, but surely if your business is exporting, you have to have access to the information and make sure your customers understand the risks and their obligations... Maybe there's something I don't get about it.

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 8:42AM
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Denise I have Hoya sigillatis and it is very slow. I actually had a the only new growth my cutting put out die over the winter, seems a little tricky to grow.

Thanks Kelly they really did a complete turn around once they were hydrated again. The gel was on the roots but it comes off with a good soaking. If the gel were not on the roots they would never survive the trip, sometimes they don't anyways and you have to take cuttings.

Following the proper laws for your country is the buyers responsibility. If you require an import permit you have to apply for it for the specific nursery, send the permit and then it will be included in your order along with the phytosanitary certificate which is the nurseries responsibility. When the plants arrive abroad they may be opened by customs and unless you have arranged for them to be sent to a port where they are familiar with plant imports then someone who can't tell an orchid from a dandelion will be doing the inspection and things will often not turn out well. If there are CITIES restricted plants like slipper orchids it gets very serious but for us Hoyas are not a controlled genus, they grow very easily from cuttings. When it comes down to it, it's the importers responsibility to do the work not the nursery you are buying the plants from, they may give you some advice from past experience but it's up to you to do what is required by law in your own country. There is a system set up to import plants and if you follow it there will be few problems, if not you are taking a chance. Ebay is a great way to make contact with foreign plant vendors but in no way does it protect you against breaking the laws or somehow avoiding those laws. The vendor in question has done everything required in their country plus what is required by customs and plant inspectors, the rest is up to you as a buyer.


Here is a link that might be useful: Plant imports USA

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 10:37AM
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Acquiring rooted hoyas from beyond is tricky at best...cuttings are much more stable and travel much more successful than anything that has rooted. Although it is still illegal to send without the necessary import/export paperwork...it's a much better chance they will survive and be prosperous when they reach their destination.

Good luck finding all the unusual hoyas that seem to be easier to find worldwide. I too fell victim to the location of this seller...he was gracious to replace the plants that arrived dead. The second time I chalked it up to another vendor outta my range for my hoya addiction!


    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 2:33PM
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Joni : I wonder if these hoyas that you acquired were rooted hydroponically or in a glass of water, because a good rooting should be more useful than no root at all in my opinion.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 4:29AM
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I agree with Mike and derierwin in everything they said.

I begun to collect Hoyas two years ago and I ordered them from Europe, United States and Thailand.

I might have been lucky, but I did't lose more than 5 Hoyas in 2 years.

Areya's garden is one of my favorite vendors, for his good communication, honesty and last but not least, for the plants he sent to me.

When I decided to order Hoyas from Thailand, I knew that the risk of losing some of them was real. And, my first order arrived after a long 2 weeks trip. Some of my Hoyas have no leaves left. I rehidrated them by putting them in a bath of warm water with honey. Then I planted them and covered with transparent plastic bags, in order to preserve the humidity and warmth, until the new leaves apeared.

I hope that you all will have good experiences with your Hoyas!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 3:35PM
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julias(z9 CA)

Joni - did you have to send your plants back to get him to replace them? 3 out of the 4 plants he sent me are now DEAD. Nope, I agree - not worth the money. Next time I'll use vendors as far as HI, but no farther....Julia

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 12:33AM
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I too have been tempted to order from international vendors offering low prices. I would probably order seeds but nothing else, for fear a live plant wont make the trip.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 7:23AM
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I recently received 4 boxes of hoyas from Aleya. The first box arrived within 6 days, two more on day 10, and the last on day 11. All were in amazing shape considering the trip. They were a little dehydrated but within a couple of days they started to rehydrate. Roots were good, most leaves were green and a few yellow leaves fell off. No problem, the plants were larger than expected, matter of fact it cost Aleya more than I paid to ship because the hoyas were larger than the 105g average. I chose the packet air shipping which is the second fastest method, so there is a faster method. I am getting ready to order again. A real good experience.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 9:26PM
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okie_deb(6 OK. zip 737)

The trick I found is to ask that he makes sure to use larger pieces of the water crystals. The first order to him I received had large water crystals and they arrived in great shape after 19 days shipping time. 2nd order he sent with tiny mush of the water crystals and plant arrived dead after 10 days shipping time. The mush totally enveloped the root system. I emailed and told him plus sent a picture and he offered me a replacement at half price. I really wanted the Hoya I had ordered so did it but asked him to use large crystals and he did and it arrived great after 8 days shipping time.
I prefer if available to receive a rooted cut from foreign places than just a cutting. I have found the roots help to make the trip easier on the cutting.,,,,Debbie

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 5:23AM
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Hi All,
I've bought from Aleya garden a few times would like to add my experience.
I have enjoyed dealing with this guy and 'Shady' is the last word I'd use to describe him.
I've ordered established rooted plants and unrooted cuttings and am extremely pleased with my purchases and the service I've received.
All my shipments arrived in about 4 days (at very reasonable cost), were well packed, and communication was friendly and plentiful.
I always put mine into intensive care when they arrive and have pretty good results. I've had 100% success with the cuttings, and about 90% with rooted plants. He replaced the 10% that died with cuttings too - I'm more than happy with that.
Remember that the plants travel a long way and suffer a great deal of stress, so you need to take great care of them. My experience tells me that unrooted cuttings are the way to go - I know not everyone agrees with this, but it works for me!
Finally, I also sell plants online as a hobby (within the EU) and this would be a great opportunity for me to shoot a potential competitor down, but I genuinely feel he's done a great job with me, and I am pleased I've taken the time to tell you all.
(Molly's Tropical Plants)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 4:22PM
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kellyknits(6/WV Eastern Panhandle)

I ended up taking another chance last year and am glad I did. Much more positive experience and I think it really helped that a faster means of shipping is now offered. Will be ordering again.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 7:11AM
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I've ordered from him and he was fantastic. He sent me so much curtisii it was almost coming out of my ears. And awesome communication. Looking forward to another and much bigger order!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 2:26PM
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