LOWE’S buyers are threatening to boycott the hardware store because they describe its alleged labeling practices as “shady”.
Less than a year after the company’s chief executive admitted sales in its garden division were declining, the major retailer has been accused online of mislabeling a number of its plants.
William Boltz said in one analyst call in August last year that sales for “outdoor garden products such as fertilizers, chemicals and live nurseries” were down.
He noted that the short spring season negatively impacted demand for lawn and garden products.
Now on a Reddit thread Captioned “PSA: Garden Center Lies” on the r/NativePlantGardening subreddit, Lowe’s Garden Center was accused of being “overdone” by mislabeling plants.
A photo of the mislabeled plants was captioned: “Several piled shelves of Curassavica are sold as Tuberosa.”
“They are thwarting the public and harming the monarchs.”
The post published last month reads: “All Floridians reading this: don’t plant this garbage. It would be better not to buy milkweed at all and just take home some sources of nectar for the adults.”
“The photo on the label doesn’t even show the plant being sold.
“I saw it too [Lowe’s] Selling porter grass which was apparently cayennensis and referred to as jamaicensis.
“It’s a problem because once again, a problematic species is being deliberately sold as native to people trying to do the right thing, and it makes my blood boil.”
“Never trust labels for non-native nursery plants. They are only there to persuade you to buy the plants. You can never trust them!”
Other Reddit users were shocked by the claims, saying they wish “something like this could be legislated.”
In response, another user shared a link to Fair Packaging and Labeling Act by the Federal Trade Commission, but said, “It’s not enforced for things like that.”
The 1967 Act enacted regulations requiring correct labeling of all “consumer goods” to indicate the net content, the identity of the product, and the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor.
In addition to raising concerns about customers allegedly misselling items, the thread also raised concerns that gardeners might unintentionally plant harmful or invasive plant species, some of which are poisonous to pets.
Users asked whether the alleged practice could be reported to the state fish and wildlife agency or the wildlife agency.
Others recommended reporting their claims to the state’s Department of Agriculture, which handles such matters.
One user, who used to work for his state’s Department of Agriculture, said, “If something like this was wrong, we would issue a halt to sales and a violator’s notice, which could result in a fine (typically 100 percent of the listed amount).” .
“We would also sample this first milkweed plant for systemic purposes because it’s illegal in my state to market something as ‘pollination friendly’ and use systemic agents like neonics.”
Other legal issues were discussed in the comments on possible proof of damage and setting up a lawsuit.
“Perhaps a Land Trust infested with an invasive species sold by Lowes could do some harm,” wrote one user.
They added, “Or just anyone who bought one of these plants because they were tricked into buying species A when they were sold species B instead.”
Another said: “If the reverse were true, if you are sold milkweed but you think it is something else, you could bring forward the case that the milkweed was intentionally planted in your garden where your dog is playing and milkweed is poisonous for dogs and others.” Cats.
“For me, the endangerment of pets through negligence in the kindergarten would be an interesting case.”
Other users provided their own stories of “shadyness” from Lowe’s Garden Centers.
“A few years ago I bought a pink flowering dogwood called Cornus Florida from Lowe’s,” someone safely claimed.
“Over the years it has become increasingly clear that this is a Florida x Kousa hybrid.
“It flowers later than the Cornus florida we already have, the flowers are a slightly different shape, the flower color is a little different, and it’s sterile, which defeats the whole purpose of buying another Cornus florida.”
Meanwhile, another claimed, “I just witnessed illegal practices at Lowes in Pompano Beach two weeks ago.”
“I wanted to buy a Eureka lemon (marked $97). The cashier charged me $325 for a grapefruit but then told me to go to return and take it back.
“She couldn’t undo it in her register. When I got to the returns department, the new cashier and manager said the label (which said “Eureka Lemon $97”) was put there by the clerk and was a fake label, and that was true, even scanning as a grapefruit tree.
“She could sell it to me for $170, but that $97 was too cheap since Lowes paid more for it. I left without the plant, which I believe is illegal due to false advertising.”
“I then went to Lowes in Oakland Park and all of their lemon trees were priced at $97.
“I have no idea what the heck is going on, but I won’t be shopping there anymore because there’s something shady going on there.”
Frustrated readers commented, “These days, I get in trouble in the big stores if I see such shadyness or lack of transparency.”
Another user clarified that the issue of labeling plants rests with the supplier rather than Lowe’s.
“Lowe’s does not grow or label any of these crops. They’re bought from major commercial greenhouses like Metrolina and Banner, with the labels attached specifically for their retail locations,” they said.
“These greenhouses provide 80 percent of what you see in nurseries across the country, from big stores to your local garden center.
“I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years and you can’t necessarily blame the end seller when the cause can be traced back to anything from mislabeled or mixed seed to errors in the transplant line when millions of plugs are put in .” pots.
“There are many moving parts in this industry and mistakes happen in mass production.
“So instead of supporting Lowe’s, get your plants from a local garden center that can answer questions about sourcing.”
The US Sun has reached out to Lowe’s for comment.