I bought some seeds online in the name of an experiment, of course. Sometimes it’s hard to get a grasp of what’s being offered online and whether you’re getting value for money, or good quality seed.
I have found that over the years that the large umbrella of plant and seed suppliers aren’t always value for money and not worth the shipping costs. If like me, you’re on a limited budget, it’s not always possible to splash out, especially unnecessarily. Plus, I always find those popular branded seeds in the garden centre, so if there’s a specific packet of seeds I need, I would just pick one up then.
I am always on the hunt for new seed websites, but I do have my reliable favourites that I go back to again and again and they’re always worth shouting about.
It’s not always about the price of the pack. You can get some absolutely amazing organic seeds from small suppliers. It’s more about the quality that you receive, rather than quantity, but I find they are still extremely generous with the packet size.
I shopped around for seeds that I needed so this isn’t at all in vain. I saw this as an ideal opportunity to review the seed sites I use so often and to throw some new ones in there too, however, they’re not in order of preference. Please also note that the reviews are not on the seeds themselves as that can only be done later in the year when sowing and growing.
These are the websites/brands that I regularly use as a customer. None of the below reviews are a paid endorsement.
I don’t think there’s much competition with this site in terms of quality, quantity and price. Reasonable and fast postage, seeds from 99p, an excellent selection of seeds, seed tapes and organic seeds. I have grown a lot of seeds from this site and have used them for a good few years now and I am never disappointed. Whether its flowers, vegetables, fruits, organic seeds or something new, I really find that this is my first stop shop. The seeds are available in individual packets from 99p or in bulk quantities. Quality seeds, generous pack sizes. There are no printed instructions for the seeds you receive but they’re all available on the website and for the price of the seeds, I can’t really complain about that. Easy search bar options too which pick up key words like ‘blight’, for anyone with search specifications like I had, looking for blight resistant tomato varieties – of which I bought due to the ease of finding them. They also sell the most generous and long seed tapes. I absolutely love seed tapes for salad vegetables and highly recommend for some fast and natural food.
You can’t help but fall in love with everything Real Seeds stands for. Saving seed, organic, finding rare but high yielding plants that may have fallen out of fashion or that are used around the world and are suitable to UK climates. You have to give it to them, they’re gorgeously unique. There are guides for saving your seed with everything they have on there. The charm of the seed packet printing also lures you in, especially when you read the fabulous story behind their seed pack printing machine. Each seed packet comes with its own printed instructions on the pack. I think the seeds are such good value as they’re so unique. I bought some broad beans from here last year and it has been the best year I’ve ever had for them. I also visited an allotment last year where Real Seeds were used a lot and I went home with a big stick of Orach seeds and in amazement over Aztec broccoli.
What I found even more wonderful about Real Seeds, is that you get a printed guide on saving your own seed, specifically for the seeds that you have ordered, with your delivery note. All printed on one page. Everything also comes in recyclable packaging. The shipping is reasonable and fast, and they also have reduced shipping if you’re an NHS worker. Win!
A little confused when I received these seeds as the package indicated a different website (Pretty Wild Seeds) but the invoice inside came from Budget Seeds. I had originally ordered from Budget Seeds and after some googling, saw they were the same company.
I had a little bit of fun with this site as I have never ordered from here until now. I spent £9.80 and ended up with 18 packets of seeds. The website was a little hard to navigate but when you have seed packets starting from 29p, let’s be honest here, you’re going to go into a doom scroll until 2am.
The seed packs are all sealed well and have the expiry on them. I found the variety on the website somewhat confusing but it’s well worth looking for something fun and different to try, like asparagus pea for 39p or Butterfly Pea for 99p. It’s worth a go especially if you don’t want huge bulky seed packs or have little space for storage, or you just want to try a small amount of something new. I found the search bar a little selective as you can’t search for attributes of the seed, such as blight resistance/tolerance, but I found what I needed regardless after a bit of searching. A good and fun selection of seeds, a lot of the old favourites. Reasonable and fast shipping too. If you fancy a bit of whimsy in your life, I would certainly suggest this site.
I am in two minds about this website. I like the concept of the ‘half-sized’ seed packs. If you are limited on planting space then quantity isn’t what you need in terms of your seed purchases. Also, if you wanted to try a certain seed out, but didn’t want to splash out on a bigger pack, then this would be ideal. Also for those invasive plants like mint, where you may not need a pack of 2000 seeds, buying small seems a lot more economical. I loved the variety on the site and all the lovely flowers, and the vegetable classics. They also offer a nice range of heritage seeds and seeds to sow by month, which is always helpful. The search options again are limited but you can find their small selection of organic seeds. My only quibble is that postage is expensive and slow. When I ordered from these sites, I did this all on the same day. It isn’t very clear how much postage you will pay prior to ordering as it’s worked out at the checkout. You can use their estimate on their website, but it only gives you a postage amount up to 250g at £1.95. So you have to register and check out , before finding out your shipping amount. I probably won’t use this website again, if I am being honest. I love the cute website and the cheap seeds (if they come), but I do like reliable shipping in terms of timing and cost. I am in not desperate need for the seeds that I ordered, I just want to know that I’m going to receive them, especially when this was the first time I had ordered from them. One thing I must say was that checkout was very easy and quick with options to pay such as ApplePay, ShopPay and PayPal.
Another website with charm and allure. If you follow Benjamin* (Benjamin Simon Scott-Ranyard Lion of Lions King of Kings…keeper of the key of a lost beauty), Flash and Casper on their adventures across the country on social media, then you’re probably familiar with this small seed shop. Run from Casper, the canal boat, Benjamin and Flash make the perfect team in supplying good quality seeds, primarily for the cut flower garden. Not only can you read his blogs on creating his own cutting garden from his own stock of seeds, but you can then buy those seeds and there are growing guides for them all on his website.
In terms of variety, these seeds are hand-picked by Ben for their specific qualities, be that height, texture or strength. His website does exactly what it says on the tin.
The selection of sweet peas is exactly where I head first, having had great success with ‘Painted Lady’ last year. Biennial, half-hardy annuals, hardy annuals, classic cut flower seeds and sweet peas – this is where you need to shop first. Reasonable, fast shipping (free on orders over £15). Amazing quality seed, very generous pack sizes, no fuss and gorgeous cut flower seed.
The seed packets will charm you further, being stamped with Higgledy’s gorgeous design. Little touches like the handwritten envelope, the higgledy stamp on the envelope and the wonderful postcards inside. If you’re feeling low with this dark and wet Winter weather, shopping here feels like wrapping yourself in a blanket with a hot chocolate.
Absolutely perfect for beginners in the garden and allotment.
A taste of the Mediterranean. Absolutely top quality seeds. Very generous pack sizes (more than you’ll ever need, great for making friends at the allotment!).
This website is a joy. You can join the Endangered Heritage veg club, inspired by their 1929 catalogue, where you receive 3 seasonal deliveries of seeds that need our support to survive.
You’ll also find information about the ‘Slow Food’ movement, who have a register of foods, varieties and ingredients that are at risk, called ‘The Ark of Taste’.
There’s also a selection of Eden Project seeds which are always worth a look.
They specialise in Italian seed, with Franchi seed being the oldest family run seed company in the world. They were also found to be the most ethical major packet seed brand by Ethical Consumer Magazine, they’re Vegetarian Society approved and are part of the Slow Food UK movement.
My favourite seeds have to be their tomatoes, squash and courgettes. The flowers are also brilliant too. They also sell trees, bulbs, Italian delicatessen, gardening accessories, survival kits (such as the Brexit Vegetable Growing Survival Kit), an Italian perfumery and soaps, and my favourite item for the allotment – seed tapes!
I love their seeds and have to include them wherever I can. If you try any seeds this year, try some Italian heritage. Franchi WANTS You to grow your own food and gives you everything apart from the soil and the sun to do so. The full catalogue of seeds are available online, and they can be found in garden centres across the country. I have never regretted buying a pack of Franchi seeds and I don’t think I ever will. They’re so much fun, more than reasonable pricing for the quality and quantity that you receive, reasonable and fast shipping. What more could you want or need? Also, don’t forget to follow Paolo Arrigo through his fantastic blog on the site too.