If you’re wondering where to order seeds, below are my 10 absolute-favorite places to source seeds for the farm and garden. We’ve got everything from large, dependable selections to obscure finds like uncommon heirloom tomatoes, the hottest chilies, antique flowers, rare medicinal herbs, and more.
From quality and reliability to rare and unusual, you could say I’ve explored my fair share of seed companies over the past decade of gardening. I like to think of my seeds as a well-curated collection, but my other half thinks of them more like someone hoarding for the apocalypse, ha!
When I first started gardening, though, I had no idea just how vast the world of seeds was. I thought a cucumber seed was a cucumber seed. Boy was I wrong! To be fair to my younger self, I was really only used to seeing one or two varieties of cucumbers at the supermarket, so it seemed like a fair assumption.
Little did I know that there are many, many varieties of cucumbers. I definitely didn’t know there was such a thing as white cucumbers. That is until I grew ‘Holland White,’ which became one of my all-time favorites.
But you don’t know what you don’t know, right? And that’s just cucumbers! Don’t even get me started on tomatoes, chilies, herbs, or antique flowers.
And although I wish I could give you a one-stop shop to order seeds, each company is on this list for specific reasons. I scour the internet for rare and unusual varieties, best prices, and reliability.
10 Best Places to Order Seeds
Johnny’s Selected Seeds
When I think of Johnny’s, I think quality, reliability, and variety. Although I just said there was not a one-stop shop, if I could only order seeds from one company, this would be it. From high-yielding, disease-resistant veggies, to unique flowers, and even highly-medicinal herbs, their offerings are top notch.
They offer many types of seeds, including certified organic, open-pollinated, heirloom, hybrid, enhanced, pelletized, and primed. None of their seeds are genetically modified, nor do they breed new varieties using genetic engineering. Their breeders use traditional, painstaking methods of natural crossing.
My only gripe with Johnny’s is higher shipping prices, which is sometimes hard to swallow in this day and age of “free shipping” everywhere. And although they have an extensive catalog, prices on smaller quantities are a bit higher than other places. However, their prices on larger quantities are on par with or even beat out some wholesalers.
If you’re into flowers, Floret needs no introduction. If you aren’t familiar yet, don’t be surprised if you end up with multiple seed packets in your cart. This family-run flower farm specializes in unique and uncommon flowers. They even have their own breeding program dedicated to subtle coloring and striking forms, giving small-scale farmers (like us!) an advantage.
However, you don’t need to be a flower farmer to grow these beauties. Their speciality seed line goes live in January, so be ready, because they go quick! With varieties like ‘Golden Hour,’ ‘Unicorn Mix,’ and ‘Pink Champagne,’ what’s not to love?
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
From gorgeous photography to amusing descriptions and rare heirloom varieties, Baker Creek offers my hands-down favorite catalog. Ever! With over 1,000 heirloom varieties from around the globe, you’ll want to grab your comfiest blanket and coziest cup of goodness for this one.
They have one of the largest selections of heirloom seeds from the 19th century, including many Asian and European varieties. Their prices are right and shipping is either really reasonable or FREE!
Seed Savers Exchange
Not a seed company, but a movement, Seed Savers connects thousands of home gardeners, farmers, and others through the world’s largest seed exchange, open to all. They steward a collection of 25,000+ rare and heirloom varieties in a seed bank at their Iowa headquarters.
While you can purchase seeds directly from their site, you can also list and request seeds from other listers through their exchange. Although I haven’t participated in the exchange (yet), they offer varieties in their shop I can’t grow without (like ‘Royalty Purple’ Bush Bean).
Uprising Organic Seeds
Uprising offers 100% open-pollinated, certified organic seeds grown by small family farms in the PNW. Their catalog includes vegetables, specialty cut flowers, herbs, and grains.
While their selection is smaller, Uprising has some real gems like my favorite snow pea ‘Schweizer Riesen.’ They also offer some harder-to-find flowers like ‘Pastel Meadow’ Icelandic Poppies, ‘Zeolights’ Calendula, and a number of sweet peas. Their new catalog and inventory will go online around the New Year.
If you love flowers, you must check out the rare and unique gems from Select Seeds. They specialize in old-fashioned fragrant flowers, flowering vines, and rare annuals and perennials. There is SO much to explore from their catalog, and I love how organized their site is so that you can find exactly what you’re looking for. I’m especially fond of their scented geranium.
Although it’s not something I share as often, I’m deeply interested in medicinal plants. However, I have a reverence for getting to know the plants and still consider myself a novice. Some plants, like Valerian, I’ve been growing on for years in order to study and use its roots. Matt and I started growing reishi and lion’s mane mushrooms a few years ago. I hope to share more in this space in the years to come.
Strictly Medicinal is a true gem for medicinal plants. This family-run seed company began with a fascination of seeds and medicinal herbs. Due to a lack of availability, the Cech family started collecting seeds from their own gardens and began offering them through a hand-drawn catalog. The first catalog featured then 8-year-old daughter Nadja’s drawing of a Calendula flower on the front!
Richo has travelled extensively through China, Africa, Central and South America, and the United States to find rare and unusual medicinal herb seeds. He grows them out in their state-certified greenhouses and intensively cultivated and cover cropped fields and gardens. I’m beyond thankful this family works so hard to offer these rare finds.
In my opinion, tomatoes are the gateway plant to gardening. Once you experience a sun-ripened tomato straight from the vine, you’ll want to grow all the tomatoes. I know, because I once grew over 30 tomato plants one summer, oy! But nothing quite beats the flavor and unique shapes and colors of an heirloom tomato.
This is where Tomato Fest shines. They offer a jaw-dropping 650 heirloom tomato varieties they personally grow and pollinate by hand in order to provide the finest quality, true-to-type, tomato seeds.
They have many favorites, like Brandywine strains, Black Krim, Gold Medal, Black Cherry, Costoluto Genovese, and Paul Robeson. But they also have some rare gems like African Queen, Blondkopfchen, and many many more (I think we need a blog post on tomato varieties, yeah?).
If you’re a chilihead, Fatalli is your place! I honestly don’t remember when or how I stumbled across this site, but I know why. They have the most unique selection of peppers worldwide! I’ve been ordering from them for years, and it’s always hard to narrow down the selection in my cart.
One year, they sent me some free Naga Morich seeds, the ghost pepper’s HOTTER cousin. In fact, only the hottest ghost peppers can compare to the mildest Naga Morich, ouch!
Although growing it was fun, what I really love about Fatalli is their peppers with sweet and citrusy flavors (like Aji Cristal, Sugar Rush, Pink Habanero, El Oro De Ecuador) and unique colors/forms (like Cabai Burung Ungu and Starfish).
Owl’s Acre Seed
Finally, if you love sweet peas, you must check out Owl’s Acre Seed. They offer a wide range of traditional and new sweet pea varieties. They offer everything from the modern, large flowered Spencer types, the more informal but highly scented and abundant Heirloom varieties, Early Flowering types that can give bloom in early March from an autumn sowing, and Dwarf types, ideal for container growing.
Bonus! Wholesale: Ball Seed (formerly Gloeckner) and Geo Seed
Bonus! I wanted to call out that if you are growing on a large scale, buying in quantity is your best bet. Johnny’s, Gloeckner (now Ball Seed) and Geo are all excellent options for your wholesale needs.
Do yo have a favorite place to order seeds that’s not on this list? I’d love it if you’d share with me!
You Got Your Seeds, Now What?
If you’re wondering what to do with your beautiful bounty of seeds, check out our post on how to start seeds indoors here. I also created a list of our seed-starting supplies. You can get it for free here (all you need is an email address).
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