Growing a plant from a seed is one of the most gratifying (and cheapest) ways to create a home garden. You can find seeds at your local garden center or hardware store, but keep in mind that buying seeds produced locally, can help ensure a successful result. "Seeds produced from parent plants grown in Florida might not thrive in the northern part of the country," says Debra LaGattuta, a Master Gardener and a member of The Spruce Gardening and Plant Care Review Board.
Also, when possible, look for a retailer that provides plenty of information on the seeds themselves, "including a complete description of the plant or crop, preferred growing conditions, growth habits, mature height and width, time to germinate and harvest, and disease resistance," says LaGattuta.
With LaGatutta's insights in mind, we evaluated retailers for the quality of information they provide, as well as their delivery and return policies and customer service. Here are the best places to buy seeds for your garden online.
Specialty garden shop
If you appreciate a company that focuses on quality, Eden Brothers sells seeds that are 100 percent pure, with no additives and fillers, and germination rates exceeding government standards. They have one of the largest variety of options in the U.S., from vegetable and heirloom seeds to organic seeds. You can contact their customer service team by phone during regular business hours for expert advice. Their website is user-friendly, with lots of information available, from how-to articles to bulb growth charts. You can sort seeds by color, planting season, and sowing method.
Eden Brothers take two to five business days to process orders, plus the delivery time to get to your front door, and they do not offer expedited shipping. While shipping charges increase as your order total goes up, once you hit a $79 subtotal, the shipping is free. They take back unopened seeds within 15 days for a full refund, less shipping costs. Returns for defective or missing products can be 30 days from the date of receipt.
Delivery Time: 4-10 business days | Return Policy: 15 days, 30 days for defective merchandise | Customer Service Options: Phone, email
Strong company history
Burpee is another retailer that started from humble beginnings and was the first research-based seed company in the U.S. to improve carrots, cabbage, celery, and lima beans. They offer a wide variety of seeds, and you can also purchase gardening supplies while you're at it. The site has detailed information on each product, such as how to grow, tips, key attributes, and when to grow.
If you are only looking to purchase a few seeds, they offer a flat $3.95 shipping rate on all seed packet orders, which is low compared with other retailers, and the company ships within a few days. Burpee stands behind their products and accepts a seed return within the year. But the customer pays for return shipping.
Delivery Time: Ships within 2 to 3 days | Return Policy: 1 year for seed packets | Customer Service Options: Phone, email
Seed Kits make great gifts
Can shop other decor
Can be found at other retailers
We love Terrain for its unique home decor items and garden supplies. While you can choose from an array of plants, pots, and garden decor, they do lack a large seed collection. However, you can buy seed kits which we think make great gardening gifts, and you'll be tempted to pick up a few things for yourself as well. You can choose to visit one of their retail stores, shop online, or visit one of their pop-up retailers such as Anthropologie.
Shipping charges increase as your order subtotal goes up. The average order takes 24-48 hours to package, plus the delivery timeline. Regular delivery is 5 to 8 days, but you have the option to pay for express or overnight delivery. They do not accept returns on plant products.
Delivery Time: 2 business days to pack, standard shipping timelines | Return Policy: No returns on plant products | Customer Service Options: Phone, 24/7 chat, email
Free shipping on eligible products
Can shop all gardening needs
Stores in many communities
Only basic options
When it comes to buying seeds, Home Depot is the no-fuss, affordable option. Although they don’t offer many additional features, the seed options are well-priced, and you can purchase single packs or their top-rated variety packs. They lack a large variety but can fulfill the basic seed options.
You can shop online where you can read reviews, and there is a live chat, but it is not a physical person on the other end. They offer free shipping on most smaller gardening products, but if you prefer to shop in person, there is most likely a Home Depot within driving distance. The main perk is you can grab everything you need to plant your seeds, like a garden hoe or a seed starting tray kit.
Delivery Time: Pickup in store, shipping 2 to 10 days | Return Policy: 90 days from purchase with receipt (opened or unopened) | Customer Service Options: Online reviews, virtual bot assistant, in-store help, phone
Shop by region
100 percent success guarantee
Shipping dates vary
A family-owned company, American Meadows has been in business for over 30 years and prides itself in being the trusted gardening partner—for the experienced client to the beginner just starting out. The company has a large selection of flower seeds and focuses on growing flowers that are good for the region. They have an online chat, but it does not provide instant replies. They say they reply within the day, but you can also contact them via phone for assistance.
Most orders ship within two business days. When you check out, they provide an estimated date to decide if the timeline works for you before you finalize your purchase. The company promises a 100 percent success rate, saying they replace or refund your order if anything fails to grow in your garden.
Delivery Time: 2 business days to pack, USPS or UPS standard shipping timelines | Return Policy: Contact costumer service, situational | Customer Service Options: Chat, phone, email
Stores in many communities
Can shop for other garden supplies
Lack of specialty seeds
If you're looking for affordable options and aren't in the market for anything out of the ordinary, Lowe’s is a great choice. They have most of the basic seeds you seek but lack specialty options. You can shop online, or in person if a store is nearby. You can also return seeds, either in person or by mail, within 90 days of purchasing with a copy of your receipt.
Similar to Home Depot, you can purchase all of your gardening tools and supplies at the same time, but you may not be able to find the same level of expertise as you would at a retailer that solely specializes in seeds.
Delivery Time: Pickup in store, shipping 1-7 days | Return Policy: 90 days from purchase with receipt | Customer Service Options: Online reviews, virtual bot assistant, in-store help, phone
Seeds of Change
Work with schools and kids
Seeds offered in collections or individual packets
Learning Center on website
Basic seed options
Seeds of Change has a powerful mission behind everything they do. For every item you buy, they plant nutritious seeds through school growing programs across the country. They use their resources to create opportunities for kids through helping FoodCorps service.
Although they don’t have an extensive range of options, they have all the basics covered, from vegetable and herb seeds to flower seeds. You can also purchase collections of seeds for specific uses, such as the herbal tea pack of four they sell. The website has a Learning Center section with a few articles and videos that touch on gardening tips. But they do not have extensive customer service options.
Delivery Time: Not listed | Return Policy: No returns | Customer Service Options: Email
Seed Savers Exchange
Built on preserving heirloom seeds
Easy to shop online
Free shipping over $250
The first thing you notice about Seed Savers Exchange is the heart and soul behind the company to save and share heirloom seeds. A not-for-profit organization, they offer a variety of seed options from vegetables, flowers, and herbs. They ship nationwide and offer free shipping on orders over $250. They also have partnered with hundreds of retail locations across the U.S. and Canada.
The company relies on its network of people and sales to keep its mission going. Memberships are donation-based, tax deductible, and offered on an annual basis. They have great customer service, with an on-site section with recipes, seed information, and a blog. If you happen to be in Iowa, stop by their farm in Decorah, in the northeast part of the state. There you find a visitor center, gift and garden store, hiking trails, and display gardens.
Delivery Time: Stock items 3-4 business days, bulk orders 7-10 business days | Return Policy: Only if quality issues; must request within 3 days of receiving | Customer Service Options: Phone (Monday-Thursday), email
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Large selection of heirloom seeds
Good search functionality
Can only contact via email
Baker Creek was started in 1998 and has grown into North America’s largest heirloom seed company. If you’re looking for a place to shop for heirloom seeds online, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has a large selection and ships all orders free. Their site is easy to shop; the search bar at the top pulls up all varieties related to your search, delicious and relevant recipes, and provides tips on how to grow the seeds you select.
If you get a chance to stop by their headquarters in Mansfield, Missouri (northeast of Branson), you can peruse gardens, greenhouses, and a pioneer village; browse and buy at the seed store; and dine at the restaurant. They also host festivals throughout the year for seed enthusiasts. It’s important to note that they can’t be reached via phone; all inquiries must go through email.
Delivery Time: Not listed | Return Policy: No returns but will replace within reason | Customer Service Options: Email only
Johnny's Selected Seeds
100 percent employee-owned
High shipping minimums
100 percent employee-owned, Johnny’s Selected Seeds sells various seeds from vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs, and organic options. They offer free standard shipping on orders over $200, or you can pick them up at their location in Winslow, Maine, in the central part of the state.
Johnny’s maintains an on-site seed lab that sets and maintains strong germination requirements, so you can be sure you receive seeds that are fresh, vital, and of superior quality. Their site is easy to shop, and they even have a Quick Order section, where you can search for products and add them to your cart. We love the section on their site called the Grower’s Library, where they have set out clear, accurate, timely information to excel as a grower.
Delivery Time: 2-4 days to process plus shipping time; pickup at location | Return Policy: Return unopened seeds within 60 days of ship date; replace if wrong, defective, or damaged items | Customer Service Options: Phone, email
Fun, detailed packaging
Gardening tips and recipes
No unique seed options
Another popular seed company, Botanical Interests was created with a desire to provide more information on seed packets. You find information on each seed packet that includes art, garden history, landscape ideas, organic gardening know-how, recipes, and fun facts. You can even find a section on their site that tells you how to read their packaging.
You can find various flowers, herbs and vegetables, organic options, and shop garden products such as gloves and pruners. They also have a section on their site with 20 seed collections that make great gifts. However, they don't offer as many unique seed selections as other retailers. They do offer free shipping on orders over $150. Otherwise, rates increase as the order amount goes up.
Delivery Time: 3-5 days for delivery, expedited options available | Return Policy: No return policy for seeds, contact customer service for replacement. | Customer Service Options: Phone, email, FAQs
Pinetree Garden Seeds
Quick packing time
If you need seeds fast and there’s no nearby local store to shop, Pinetree Garden Sheds ships your seeds in 24 hours or less when you choose expedited shipping at checkout. They are a family-owned and operated business located in rural eastern Maine with the main goal to offer low prices on quality seeds. If you spend over $150, they offer free shipping.
When you click on the different seed varieties, you find information about how to plant and when to harvest. You also can order garden supplies, spices and teas, and crafts, and they even sell home beer and cider kits. Pinetree guarantees everything they sell for 90 days from shipment and offers credit for orders under $5 or a refund on orders over $5.
Delivery Time: 24-hour processing plus delivery time | Return Policy: 90 days from shipment; refund or credit for orders under $5 | Customer Service Options: Phone, email, newsletter
Kitazawa Seed Company
Large Asian variety
Can buy assortments
Limited flower options
If you are looking to grow Asian vegetables, buy from Kitazawa Seed Co, which has been in business for over 100 years. The company proudly offers over 500 seed varieties of the highest quality. You can shop for vegetable, herb, flower, and microgreen seeds, and specialty seeds such as pak choi and sesame. They also have assortments such as Mexican Cuisine Garden, and Stir Fry Garden, with a combined selection of seven gourds and greens.
You can contact customer service during the week via phone or email anytime. Orders can be placed online and shipped to your house. The shipping charge is waived on orders over $45.
Delivery Time: 1-to-3-day processing time, 1-to-5-day delivery depending on the shipping method | Return Policy: 30-day guarantee; returns not accepted after 30 days | Customer Service Options: Phone, email
What to Look for in a Place to Buy Seeds
Some online options take close to two weeks to deliver, with processing and shipping time included, so make sure the retailer you select can deliver in time for the growing season. Some retailers offer expedited options that come at a cost. Ensure you are prepared and have the supplies you need to start planting your seeds when they arrive. If you need last-minute options, you may have to opt for a local big-box store.
Each retailer we recommend has a different return policy, ranging from 15 to 90 days, with the original receipt. Other than big-box store brands, most do not accept opened seed packages. The smaller, garden-specific specialty retailers usually have shorter return timelines, and you often have to cover the return freight if you change your mind.
Customer Service Options
Some websites are easy to maneuver and offer a lot of product specs that can be useful in deciding where to purchase seeds. Some sites allow you to search by region to determine which seeds are best for planting based on your climate. Most specialty garden retailers offer the option to speak to someone who can give you expert advice on what seeds to buy and when to plant.
When is the best time to shop for seeds?
Debra LaGattuta, a Master Gardener and a member of The Spruce Gardening and Plant Care Review Board, recommends always buying fresh seed. “Make sure the retailer is selling seed that was packaged for sowing in the current year,” LaGattuta says. “Fresh seeds have a higher rate of germination.” Furthermore, LaGattuta adds, it’s best not to wait. “Online vendors should update their websites during the winter,” LaGattuta says. “Seed catalogs start arriving in winter, usually in January. Don’t wait too long to purchase—the seeds for popular varieties sell out quickly. Ordering early makes sure the type of seed you want to grow is available.”
Check the USDA Plant Hardiness map for your region to determine when to plant your seeds. Start your seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost date.
How do you store seeds?
Once you have purchased seeds, maximize their shelf life. Most important: Ensure the seeds are dry before storing them and that they are kept in a cool spot between 35 to 40 degrees. Keep seeds in airtight containers such as glass jars or seed envelopes. You can even add silica gel packets that act as a defense against moisture.
How long do seeds last?
Seeds can be stored for up to one year without detriment to the germination rate but can be viable even longer. The older the seed is, the lower the germination rate, but it is possible to grow some seeds, such as beans, that are up to 10 years old.
To keep seeds vibrant, store them well. “Until I'm ready to sow them,” LaGattuta reports, “I store brand-new seeds and seeds left over from the previous year in a sealed plastic baggie that I place in a desk drawer, where the seeds remain cool and dark.”
Before planting seeds, you can test if they are viable by placing them in a container of water and letting them sit for 15 to 20 minutes. If the seeds sink, they are still good to plant; if they float, there is a high chance they will not sprout.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Deanna McCormack, a contributor for The Spruce since 2017. She has tested and reviewed online shopping options for several years in the home and outdoors category. To select the best products for this roundup, she examined each retailer, poring through their sites. We also contacted Debra LaGattuta, a Master Gardener and a member of The Spruce Gardening and Plant Care Review Board, for expert insight.