Unhappy customer

James AKA lumpy_jMay 27, 2014

I recently placed an order with Plantogram for 2 mango trees, a Pickering and a Maha Chanook. The package arrived on May 15th, attached are photos of the plants the day they arrived.

The Maha Chanooks new growth was wilted, I thought it wasn't a big deal at first because of stress from shipping until I looked at the roots.

The potting medium was a ball of compacted muck. This is a picture of the root ball on arrival.

I re potted the same day but I think the roots were dead. Here is the tree 10 days after delivery.

This is the Pickering day one. To me it looks like die back of the new growth, again because the roots were rotted.

I sent the photos to Plantogram a week ago. Their response was that the dead part of the Pickering was the flowering stem and it is normal for it the turn brown and in fact it showed how healthy the plant was to be flowering and producing fruit on a tree so small.

I say everyone knows you don't let such a small tree produce fruit because it weakens the tree and the part that was dead was also the new growth not just the flower stem.

The response on the Maha was that since the old leaves looked healthy the wilting was just stress from shipping. I think that the roots couldn't support the new growth and the tree was stressed before shipping.

For this I paid $239. The shipping was around $80 and the box arrived crushed. They shrink wrapped the pot together with no other protection.

I have ordered many trees before from other vendors and have always received well packed healthy plants. I didn't notice until later that Plantogram does not offer any guarantee on what they sell, so if they send you crap you are out of luck. The only thing I can do is advise people to shop elsewhere.

Thanks for listening to my rant.


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good to know
i just got a jaboticaba and a starfruit
from Pine Island. Everything arrived packaged very nice, and very much alive.

the only possible beef would be the pot was actually bigger than need be for the starfruit
the plant (more or less a vine) was about 4ft tall, not to bad
in a 3 gallon pot. with a pencil thin trunk for $40

but they are both doing great.

I had also ordered a blueberry and a goji from Home Depot.
very small plants (also very cheap)
they both looked completely dead when i got them,
no leaves at all, except the dead brown ones in the bottom of the container...
instructions included mentioned they should start sprouting in days.
both sprouted new growth in just days, and are now very healthy.
cant complain too much about them either.

good to know James


    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 7:56AM
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James AKA lumpy_j

I have also ordered from Pine Island and was always happy with what I got. They build a wooden frame inside the box for larger trees and everything was green and healthy and had a nice root ball. Unfortunately none of the vendors I usually order from have the Maha Chanook so I tried someone new. So next time I try someone new I will be sure to check the return policy.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 3:54PM
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On the second photo, why there is no "soil" material around the root ball and the stake? Normally the stake was inserted into the "soil ball" and plastic bag was wrapped tight around the ball. When you opened the bag is that what it looked like on the photo, or you removed the "soil ball" around the stake and root before repotting? I always just cut open the bag and planted the whole ball into the pot with extreme care not to disturb the "soil ball", let alone open the ball up.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 4:00PM
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mangodog(palm springs 9B)

Hard to believe your story James as I've ALWAYS had a great experience with Plantogram! Have ordered at least 6 things from them the past couple of years, but i will take you on your word that this is how it arrived. And I agree with you - the root ball looks like crap, and the plant too with those shriveled leaves...

You can always talk to your credit card company about making a claim for a refund. They will contact the vendor and ask them to try to make this work for you...and if not then you should be able to get your money back...

At least I hope you paid with a credit card.....


    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 5:49PM
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James AKA lumpy_j


It came in a 1 gallon pot. When they packed it they taped the top of the pots closed then stacked them and shrink wrapped the pots together. The photo of the box is the way it was left on the door step when I got home. When I cut open the shrink wrap the pot on the bottom was crushed on one side. I always re pot new plants as soon as I get them and would normally slide the root ball out of the pot and place the whole thing in the new pot and fill in around it .
There weren't enough roots to hold the ball together so most of the soil fell away, what didn't fall off looked like pudding and with a few taps what was left is what you see in the photo.

I don't doubt people have had good experiences with them, I went there because I read good things about them here. Maybe they have one bad employee who packed my order. The way the box was packed made it like a giant bowling pin which got beaten to hell on the trip. The top growth of the Pickering was dead and bone dry so whoever packed it must have seen it. The Maha was twice as tall but in a smaller pot so it was over due to be re potted. If I or anyone for that matter was in the nursery in person picking out trees, those would never be selected. I can't help but feel that they took stock they couldn't sell, shipped it to me and say sorry we don't offer any guarantee.

I did use a credit card I will give them a call.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 8:09PM
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Interesting. I had only bought mangoes from TTropical so far -- more than 12 trees in two years and I'm happy with all of them. I believe your are 3 gal plants and so why they were not shipped with root ball in bag instead of bulky easy damaged pots. With ball in bag two plants could be easily and safely staged on top f each other and placed in one long box filled with peanuts. That's how TT did. Also I'm surprised to see they shipped you the plant (Maha) with new tender leaves, which for sure wont survive the trip; those new shoots should be cut off to the more mature branch. For the Pickering, all I see is the reddish flower stoke, not any new grows, and of course the flower stoke would wilt and fall off if it has no fruits on it.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 8:36PM
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If the box was left on your doorstep in that condition, you should have taken it up with UPS, FEDEX, USPS or who ever did all the transport, the day it was delivered (or the next). Probably a moot point now that it has been two weeks since delivery. It obviously got mishandled somewhere in transit.


This post was edited by dangermouse01 on Thu, May 29, 14 at 5:33

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 5:23AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

I'm SO sorry about your mango trees...Please keep us posted if they fixed the problem for you and replace them...Good luck!!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 7:28AM
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vanman23(6b/7a - OK)

Sorry to hear about your experience. Have you contacted Marty (I think that is his name)? at plant-o-gram? I ordered some trees this winter and unfortunately they came just as a cold front was moving in. It would have been ok if it were shipped direct FL to OK but the carrier went to KS first and I doubt if their facility is heated. The only think that lived was a small branch of of a Longan which is doing OK now but it's only a foot tall and smaller than the diameter of a pencil. Anyway, I contacted Marty and I told him that he had a good reputation on the web and the dead plants were part my fault for ordering in the middle of winter and part his fault for sending them when he did. I suggested that he send me new plants and that I'd pay the shipping. He agreed to that.

My lychee did not make it and since I'm a glutton for punishment, I order another one. This time when I got it, I sprayed it with distilled water and wrapped the canopy with a clear trash bag and closed it up next to the cellophane wrapped pot. I left it that way for about two weeks with just indoor lighting. I then slowly started letting some fresh air in over another 2 weeks with more light. And just a few days ago I took the bag off and put it against a north wall. I also loosened the cellophane wrapped pot but keep the newspaper that was on top of the soil. Here is a picture of the Sweetheart Lychee. So far so good. I will probably using this method for all my potted mail order trees. This method comes from tropicalfruithunters.com.

I'd give Marty a call. I looked at Pine Island website and they don't actually have a guarantee about condition of plant on arrival either.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 7:31PM
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vanman23(6b/7a - OK)

Here is a picture of my mango from plant-o-gram.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 7:33PM
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How can you move this heavy container in Winter?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 9:58PM
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vanman23(6b/7a - OK)

Its on 4 inch casters. You can barely see the one behind it. I've actually moved it more in the spring because of the changing wind directions here. The prevailing winds are mostly south but with a low front it will change to a north wind. If they're over 15 mph I'll move everything to the south side.

lumpy - your Pickering looks pretty good. Hope your Maha gets replaced. Again, I'd probaly be pretty slow at changing out containers. It's probably been in that container for months if not years. Whats another month or two in that same container?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 10:30PM
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It's MICKEY - the guy at PlantoGram...and here's my maha when I got it about 3 years ago....

And by the way, he sent me like 3 pictures from which to choose a plant from. That's why I really can't believe the bad product you got. And as someone else said, it did get some super rough treatment in its shipping, your plant...


    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 11:41PM
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James AKA lumpy_j

Thanks all for the comments, I've been swamped at work for the last few days and haven't had a chance to check in. I decided to try and call Mickey to see if we could work something out. I would be happy if they replaced the Maha, the Pickering looks like it will survive. I really want the tree more than the money.

All of the leaves of the Maha are wilted and brown and the stem is black in some spots. The way the leaves wilted and didn't drop makes me think the tree had issues other than shock from shipping / transplant. Wouldn't shock cause the leaves to drop like citrus trees do?

PS. Seeing all of your nice heathy trees isn't helping. LOL.

And Vanman that is quite the pot you have there. Even if it is on wheels how do you push it and where do you push it to?


    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 6:33PM
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vanman23(6b/7a - OK)

It's hot now so I just leave it outside but if the temp is forcast below 40 then I push it into my workshop, and I put a bunch of cfls around it. Here in OK in the winter, it can be 60 one day and 20 the next day. So if its nice enough, I push it to the barn door which is facing south and let it (them) get as much natuaral light (and to save on my electric bill) as possible.

With my nam doc mai doing so well (may be a false sense of security), I'm thinking about getting a Cogshell. It may be from Pine Island since I don't see it stocked at Plant-o-gram.

Good luck with Mickey, I think he'll work with you.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 7:04PM
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