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Lowe's Slammed for "Shady" Garden Centers: "Do Not Plant This Garbage"

Shoppers are urging others to avoid getting plants from the home improvement retailer.

Lowe's is easily one of the most popular home improvement retailers in the country. But amid its head-to-head race with top competitor Home Depot, Lowe's has earned its fair share of criticism. Back in January, the retailer found itself in hot water as customers complained they were not getting refunds for faulty products. More recently, Lowe's was under fire for allegedly not properly responding after a washing machine installation went wrong. Now, shoppers are aiming their complaints beyond the store's appliances. Read on to find out why Lowe's is being slammed for "shady" Garden Centers.

RELATED: 7 Plants You Can Buy That Are Actually Dangerous Invasive Species.

Lowe's struggled with its garden sales last year.

Bountiful, Utah, USA - September 7, 2011: Two women look at the raised garden plants at Lowes in Bountiful, Utah on a fall day. One of the women is holding a baby.

Around this same time last year, Lowe's was reporting a decrease in its comparable sales for the second quarter of the 2022 fiscal year. That decline was particularly driven by "lower than expected" DIY sales, Lowe's CEO Marvin Ellison said during an analyst call in Aug. 2022.

"The timing of spring disproportionately impacts DIY sales as many seasonal categories like lawn and garden are heavily concentrated in DIY," Ellison explained. "In addition to spring arriving late, it also ended early, quickly moving from a cold winter to a hot summer in some regions. This showed in the planting season and pressured lawn and garden sales."

William Boltz, the company's executive vice president for merchandising, said the short spring season severely impacted customer demand in lawn and garden. That meant that Lowe's sales for "outdoor garden products like fertilizer, chemicals, and live nursery" were down, according to Boltz.

But the home improvement retailer might see more declines in garden purchases this year, thanks to a new controversy.

RELATED: Shoppers Are Turning Away From Lowe's and Costco, Data Shows—Here's Why.

Shoppers are calling out Lowe's Garden Centers.

Retail Greenhouse in Springtime Vibrant Flowers and Plants Shallow DOF Photo Series - Matching 4K Video Available (Shot with Canon 5DS 50.6mp photos professionally retouched - Lightroom / Photoshop - original size 5792 x 8688 downsampled as needed for clarity and select focus used for dramatic effect)

On July 6, Reddit user @Absent_Mindead posted a thread called "PSA: Garden Center Lies" on the r/NativePlantGardening subreddit. The user included several photos of plants from an unspecified Lowe's Garden Center in Florida, claiming that the retailer is selling incorrectly labeled plants in its nursery.

"Several heaping racks of curassavica being sold as tuberosa," the Redditor captioned one photo.

Both tuberosa and curassavica are a type of milkweed, but the difference between them is important. Tuberosa is a native plant that provides nectar to monarch butterflies. On the other hand, curassavica (also known as tropical milkweed) is a non-native species that can be harmful to monarchs, according to the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS).

"They're pulling a fast-one on the public and hurting monarchs too," @Absent_Mindead warned.

RELATED: Ex-Lowe's Worker Issues Warning to Shoppers About Anti-Theft Measures.

They're urging others not to "plant this garbage."

Chillicothe, Ohio, USA - April 13th, 2011: A female shopper in front of a Lowes Home Improvement Garden Center is choosing a fruit tree.

Reddit user @Absent_Mindead said they've also seen porterweed sold at Lowe's that "was obviously cayennensis," yet was labeled as jamaicensis.

"That's a problem because, again, a problematic species is being deliberately sold as a native to people who are trying to do the right thing and it makes my blood boil," they wrote.

They cautioned other Lowe's customers from trusting the retailer's plant tags, claiming that the store is only trying to get you to buy the plants.

"Do not plant this garbage," the Redditor urged. "You'd be better off buying no milkweed at all and just bringing home some nectar sources for the adults. The photo on the tag isn't even of the plant being sold."

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Other shoppers have called Lowe's practices "shady."

Santa Fe, NM: People shopping for plants outside at Lowe's Garden Center on the outskirts of Santa Fe.

This is hardly a one-off complaint. In the comment section of the original Reddit post, another shopper said they experienced similar trouble with plant labeling problems at a Lowe's in Pompano Beach, Florida. Reddit user @Hungry_Topic_2287 alleged a mix-up between $97 Eureka Lemon trees and grapefruit trees that left them without any tree, and the need for a $325 refund.

"I have no idea what the heck is going on but I will not shop there anymore because there is something shady going on," the Redditor responded.

Others have warned about the serious consequences the lack of clear and correct labels could have.

"Obsessed with Lowe's and other vendors labeling plants (including snake plants) as 'assorted blah blah,'" one customer wrote in a Jan. 2022 X post. "Some of these kill animals and kids, label them correctly so I know what I'm taking home!"

Best Life reached out to Lowe's about the Garden Center complaints, and we will update this story with their response.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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