Walmart Garden Center

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Photo credit: Courtesy of wikimedia.org
good

OK-in-a-Pinch Garden Center. Our area Walmart garden center carries far fewer plants and shrubs than the two best garden centers, both in number and variety, but a good assortment of gardening tools and supplies. Service is pleasant but lacking in expertise. Shop here only if you're already planning a Walmart run.

The Walmart franchise is best known for low prices, and its garden center is no exception. When we tallied up our list of supplies during our field-based Walmart garden center review, the bottom line hit $164.69, which was about $7 cheaper than a similar basket of goods at Lowe's and about $9 less than Home Depot, but reflected the absence of one item from our shopping list of 14. Excluding the price of this plant (a daphne shrub) from the tally at the two big-box chains, the Walmart shopping trip cost mere pennies less than that Home Depot but nearly $10 more than the same wagon-load at Lowe's.

Our Walmart garden center review also found that the Burpee brand vegetable and flower seeds in stock here were cheaper than seed packets at rival stores but contain fewer seeds. This led one Garden Web commenter to remark that the seeds aren't quite the good deal they seem to be.

Despite prices that seem like bargains, when stacked against the garden center competition, Walmart's bare-bones plant selection and staffing levels pulled its ranking way down. Customers shopping for specific plants and flowers would be advised to call ahead of time to check on availability. If our experience is the norm, the selection is rather thin. In the outdoor plant section, we saw about a dozen displays of annuals, shrubs, bulbs, and perennials. Each display featured two or three different plant varieties. In comparison, the Home Depot store we visited showcased about the same amount of plants in front of the store, with many more for the picking inside the garden center itself.

A common complaint often lodged against garden centers at big-box stores concerns plant neglect. Based on the Walmart garden center reviews posted online, Walmart takes a lot of heat on this score. Commenters at the Garden Web warn of plants that have been underwatered or infested with spider mites. Several people chatting in the forums of Dave's Garden also report poor luck with Walmart plants, although others assert they have enjoyed surprising success with bulbs. Garden Guides postings also indicate customers are satisfied with the plant quality.

Walmart's garden center was at its least impressive when it came to staffing. We wandered for 20 minutes without a single employee making an appearance, then spent 10 minutes more actively looking for assistance. The employee we ultimately found was busy stocking the shelves and was friendly and willing to help, but admitted he knew nothing about gardening and advised us to come back another day to speak with the resident gardening expert. A subsequent phone call to inquire about a particular plant left us on hold three different times for more than 10 minutes each; we never did connect with a garden center associate.

Still, the selection of tools and gardening supplies at Walmart's garden center is more than decent, and as a source for such items, you can't go wrong. For living things -- plants, shrubs, and trees -- you're more likely to find what you want elsewhere at similar bargain prices.

Gina Briles

Gina K. Briles writes family, household, and shopping-related product reviews. She is a displaced Jayhawk and a coffee addict living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two small children, and Vizsla dog.

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