What are Substitutes?

  • A substitute is when we swap out a different plant than what you ordered.
  • We find the closest comparible variety in these instances (for example Jalapeño for Jalapeño, Ancho for Ancho).

Why does this Happen?

  • To be blunt: plants live, plants die. We account for a certain amount of loss against forecasted demand (25% in the seed stage, 10% after transplanting), but there are times when the amount of loss exceeds what we accounted for.
  • We do our best of course to raise plants from seed to be ready to send, but so much can happen in life, particularly with the high number of varieties we offer.
  • We would be remiss to ignore that sometimes inventory is simply mismanaged. We have RFID plant tags and track closely what's planted vs. what's sold, but it's still extremely complicated. In March through May, we have over 200,000 plants in our greenhouses spread amongst 800 different varieties. Things can happen!


  • Instead of thinking of buying plants like buying clothes online, think of it more like ordering groceries.
  • Groceries are fast moving products, there are lots of different options, and they spoil. Clothes get put on a shelf and stay there without dying or spoiling.
  • Sometimes you order groceries for pickup or delivery and you receive a different product from what you ordered.

So why Bother Even Picking out a Certain Variety?

  • Subsitutes are the exception, not the norm.
  • They reduce customer satisfaction, and they are more work for us. If we have all the plants ordered, an order is assemebled and is ready to ship. If a substitute is needed, we set aside the order, find a suitable substitute, adjust the physical order, and adjust the online order to reflect the change.
  • If many substitutes are needed, we'll email or call you to let you know and offer different options.

Ordering Definitions

  • Substitute with similar items: We choose the most similar item to swap in.
  • Double up: We choose other items on your order, and increase the qty to account for what's not available. For example, you ordered 1 Aji Omnicolor, and 1 each of five other varieties. The Omnicolor isn't available, so you will receive 2 of one variety, and 1 each of 4 varieties
  • Substitute list: Write in other varieties you'd like to try if a substitute is needed. We really do honor these lists. There are some instances where it isn't possible. For example almost all of the Jalapeños died and we have to quickly find alternates. We wish this was a hypothetical scenario.

We really try to minimize substitutes, but please be understanding if they happen!

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