Floret’s Favorite Specialty Seed Sources

Our farm is situated in the northernmost corner of Washington State about an hour south of the Canadian border. Winters are long, dark, and extremely wet. During the winter months, the sun rarely makes an appearance and the sky is filled with a thick layer of gray clouds and fog most days. During these dark months, the sun sets by 4 o’clock in the afternoon and it’s hard to find the motivation to get outside.  

Thankfully each day’s walk to the mailbox brings a new batch of seed and plant catalogs, and my imagination runs wild with all of the possibilities for the coming year. Graph paper, gardening books, catalogs, and colored pencils litter my dining room table and every free moment is devoted to plotting out the season to come. 

The funny thing is that even though we have a seed company I probably order more seeds than anyone I know. Each year I find myself completely swept up in the hunt for new varieties and new companies and love learning as much as I possibly can about each and every one.

I thought it would be fun to share all of my favorite sources for specialty seeds including flowers, vegetables, perennials, wildflowers, cover crop, and even dye plants. Over the years, readers have shared their favorite sources for seed all over the world which I’ve included along with mine. My hope is that sharing this resource will introduce you to some wonderful companies that you may not have heard of and help get you dreaming of the growing season just over the horizon.

If you have a favorite seed company that’s not listed here, I’d love to know about it. Please tuck it in the comments section at the bottom of this post.   

DOMESTIC SOURCES

United States

3 Porch Farm
Located in northern Georgia, 3 Porch Farm is run by our friends Mandy and Steve O’Shea. Mandy and Steve’s commitment to sustainability is unparalleled and spans every aspect of their business. For example, all three of their delivery vehicles run on waste vegetable oil, and their house and farm are 100-percent solar-powered. They just started offering a small line of cut flower seeds including the beautiful fall-blooming formosa lilies we grow here on the farm, money plant, and a nice selection of sunflowers. They also ship their fresh cut flowers nationwide.

Adaptive Seeds
Oregon-based Adaptive Seeds is a small certified organic company with a unique catalog focusing on regionally adapted varieties. Working with a small group of Pacific Northwest growers, they are working to bring biodiversity back to small farms and home gardens. They sell many Northwest bred varieties of vegetables, grains, and flowers, as well as some wonderful mixes that could be fun for home gardeners to experiment with.

American Meadows
I had the pleasure of meeting owner Mike Lizotte a few years ago at a big seed conference and he was so generous with his information and has been a wonderful resource as we’ve grown our little seed company. Located in the Champlain Valley of Vermont, American Meadows offers a massive selection of wildflower seeds and their website is a treasure trove of information, especially when it comes to choosing which varieties will thrive in your climate. We planted a large meadow at the back of the farm this year and used their seed for the project.

Ardelia Farm & Co.
Based in Vermont, Ardelia offers more than 60 varieties of the highest quality sweet pea seed, much of which they grow themselves. You can discover some really rare, special treats, and be sure to check out owner Bailey Hale’s helpful step-by-step guide to growing sweet peas.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
This Missouri-based seed company offers one of the largest selections of heirloom seeds (over 1,200 varieties of vegetables, flowers, and herbs) in the country. Owners Jere and Emily Gettle are incredibly dedicated to seed preservation and education. Their catalog is the best on the market, and they mail them to over a million people annually—this year’s is their best one to date.

Botanical Interests
This long-standing Colorado seed company offers a great selection of both heirloom and newer varieties in the most beautifully designed packets. In addition to beautiful botanical illustrations by a wide range of artists, packets include garden history, landscape ideas, recipes, and fun facts. The company offers an inspiring range of wildflower mixes, as well.

Fruition Seeds
Fruition Seeds is a heart-centered seed company located in Western New York that specializes in organic, regionally adapted flower, vegetable, and herb seeds that thrive in a short growing season and have remarkably early maturity. What I love most about this company is how openly they share their knowledge and expertise.

Grand Prismatic
Located in Utah, this company focuses on open-pollinated seeds that are grown using organic practices. They have a great range of plants for natural dyeing and a variety of unusual offerings, including native desert plants and medicinal herbs.

High Mowing Organic Seeds
This well-respected Vermont-based company is a go-to source for organic vegetable, flower, and herb seeds with more than 700 heirloom and open-pollinated varieties in their catalog.

Jelitto
Based in Germany, Jelitto offers an incredible range of perennial and biennial seeds, including a huge number of long-stemmed columbines. If you are a beginning gardener, their website and catalog might be intimidating because all of the plants are listed with their Latin names. They have amazing seed-starting instructions, including all of the special tricks needed for starting perennials. 

Johnny’s Selected Seeds

I can’t say enough good things about this company! Johnny’s has been serving market gardeners since the early 1970s. They offer an insane range of vegetable, herb, and cut flower seed, along with tools and supplies—hoophouse benders, bouquet sleeves, seed-starting supplies, and high-quality hand tools. 

Chris and I had the pleasure of visiting their trial farm and shipping warehouse a few years back, and we were blown away by the level of quality and care that goes into everything that they do. Cut flower seed manager Hillary Alger (pictured above) has done a fantastic job expanding their range of flower seeds and supplies over the last few years, and I’m excited to see what she has in store for the future.

Renee’s Garden
For as long as I can remember, our local garden centers and nurseries have carried Renee’s beautiful seed packets. I love her custom flower and vegetable mixes because they allow you to try a wide range of varieties without having to order a bunch of individual packets—they are the perfect solution for backyard gardens. In addition, her wildflower scatter gardens make the perfect gift.

Seed Savers Exchange
Long-standing champions of preserving heirloom varieties, this Iowa-based company stewards a very large and interesting collection. They offer a wide range of vegetables and flowers on their website, but a wider selection is available through the Seed Exchange—a large nationwide group of home gardeners who grow a small number of varieties and provide them to members of the exchange for a small fee. The exchange catalog is extensive and if you like seed stories, this is full of them. 

Select Seeds
This Connecticut-based company specializes in old-fashioned and fragrant flowers. They have an incredible selection of heirloom varieties that you can’t find anywhere else. I always discover new treasures to add to my garden in their catalog which you absolutely must sign up for!

Siskiyou Seeds
This wonderful little regional seed company produces many of the open-pollinated and heirloom flower, vegetable, herb, and grain seeds that they sell. Located in Southwest Oregon, Siskiyou Seeds uses organic practices and biodynamic methods on their farm.

Snake River Seed Cooperative
Snake River has developed a regional seed hub in Boise, Idaho and focus on varieties adapted for the high desert. They work with small family farms in the west and share their seed saving knowledge with the goal of strengthening regional seed systems. Their catalog is full of native plants that pollinators love, as well as vegetables and herbs for the garden. They have also written a printable seed saving guide that is available on their website.

Swallowtail Garden Seeds
Swallowtail’s calling card is their wide range of varieties, especially when it comes to flower seeds. This is a great place to go for unusual novelties, and they have exciting new introductions every year.

Territorial Seed Co.
This Oregon-based company offers a good selection of garden flowers and herbs, and they trial all the seeds they offer at their farm. They have a new section on their website called Garden Planner that has loads of helpful information on insect pests, beneficial insects, and plant diseases, along with garden plans and videos.

Truelove Seeds
Truelove Seeds is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is named after founder Owen Taylor’s Great Great Great Grandmother Leticia Truelove. They offer a collection of flower and vegetable varieties grown by over 50 small farmers that were suggested by customers and partner farms as being culturally important to their communities, providing an agricultural, culinary or aesthetic link to home. Truelove Seeds has developed a generous profit share with growers, returning 50 percent of packet sales to the seed grower.

Uprising Seeds
This family-run organic seed farm in Washington State has led the way with organic flower seed production and offers a beautiful range of both common and unique varieties for cutting. They also have a great selection of vegetables, grains, and herbs. I look forward to their annual catalog—each variety description tells a story!

Wild Garden Seed
Owners Frank and Karen Morton have been our seed-growing mentors, generously sharing their hard-won knowledge over the years. They custom grow many of the flower and foliage varieties that we offer in the Floret shop! Frank is probably the most famous lettuce seed breeder in the world, and his catalog boasts more than 140 varieties!

INTERNATIONAL SOURCES

For international readers looking for specialty seeds, we’ve compiled a list of sources that have been recommended to us over the years. But please note that, while I have ordered from the U.S. suppliers listed above, I do not have any firsthand experience ordering from these companies, so I cannot vouch for their quality or service.

U.K.

Chiltern Seeds
This U.K.-based company has been offering rare specialty varieties since 1975. They have a great selection of flower, vegetable, and herb seeds, along with grasses and wildflowers. They are my go-to source for hard-to-find cut flower varieties that you can’t get anywhere else, and their customer service is great.

Grace Alexander Flowers
Grace won a scholarship to attend one of our in-person workshops in 2017 and has since gone on to start her own seed company. If you want to be seriously inspired with a big ol’ dose of beauty, be sure to check out her website, where she offers a small range of sweet pea seed plus seeds for natural dye plants.

Green & Gorgeous
We had the incredible pleasure of getting to visit Green & Gorgeous on our epic trip through England in 2019. Rachel Siegfried (pictured above) is a gifted farmer-florist and recently released a line of specialty seed that she has grown and harvested on her flower farm. Each variety is chosen for its “growability,” floral design attributes, and specific color and form. Rachel’s photos are heartbreakingly beautiful, and her perennial selection is incredibly inspiring. I can’t wait to see where she takes her seed line in the future, and I only wish I could get my hands on these treasured varieties.

Milli Proust Flowers
I have been following Milli for years on Instagram and was so excited when she decided to offer her own line of seeds. Her current collection includes nearly 50 varieties that are easy to grow and great for design work. Each seed packet has a colorful, painted illustration of the variety plus a simple sowing guide. Her shop opens again on February 5th, just in time for Valentine’s Day. 

Roger Parsons Sweet Peas
I have been pen pals with Roger Parsons—and a loyal customer—for many years, and he has taught me a great deal about growing sweet peas for seed. I had the chance to visit his farm (pictured above) in Sussex on our trip to England, and it was one of the highlights of the trip. In addition to being a world-renowned sweet pea expert and author (Sweet Peas: An Essential Guide), he has also won numerous awards. He is the custodian of the National Collection of sweet peas and offers a staggering number of varieties through his mail-order seed company. If you love sweet peas, you will lose your mind over his website and catalog.

Sarah Raven
Internationally renowned gardener, author, and BBC television host Sarah Raven has long led the way when it comes to cut flowers. Her books The Cutting Garden and Grow Your Own Cut Flowers gave me my start in flower growing and arranging with seasonal flowers. So many people have her to thank for sparking the seasonal flower movement. Sarah conducts extensive flower and vegetable trials at her famous Perch Hill farm and school, which we had the chance to visit in 2019, and it was even more magical than I expected. Her website and catalogs are the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, and you can easily get lost for hours in the pages.

Snapdragon Life
Jane Lindsey was one of the very first people I discovered who shared about growing cut flowers on a small scale. I have been reading her blog for over a decade now and have been so inspired by the way her business has grown and evolved over the years. Her seasonally focused shop specializes in seeds that grow well in Scotland and the rest of the U.K., offering 40 varieties of cut flower seeds. 

Higgledy Garden
From his cutting garden in Cornwall, Benjamin Ranyard sells seeds from flowers chosen for their color, form, texture, vase life, height, and strong stems. He also writes a blog to help new growers.

Kings Seeds
Based in Essex, Kings offers a large range of seed selected with commercial growers in mind. Bedding plants and cut flower varieties are listed together, so be careful when making selections.

Moles Seeds
Moles, also in Essex, has a huge range of flower seed, categorized by annuals, perennials, and biennials. It’s helpful to have a look at their cultural guide, “Cut flowers from seed.”

Mr. Fothergill’s
This well-known, second-generation company based in Suffolk caters to home gardeners and sells seed to more than 30 countries. They have a great selection of flower seeds and detailed growing information on their website. Check the end of the list for RHS flower seeds, including pollinator and bird mixes.

Nicky’s Nursery
This family-owned business in Kent sells to both home gardeners and commercial growers, and offers vegetable, herb, grass, and flower seeds. The bedding plants and cut flowers are listed together, so check your varieties carefully. They also offer wildflower seed.

Plants of Distinction
This company in Suffolk, at one time the largest supplier of the Himalayan blue poppy, still works with specialist collectors. It’s a family-run business with a ton of great cut flower varieties growers are looking for.

Swan Cottage Flowers
Zoe Woodward in Stoke Hammond, Buckinghamshire, grows flowers for her wedding design business. Her social media and Pinterest accounts are super-helpful, especially if you want to grow for weddings. Sign up for her VIP email list for her seed sales.

Suttons
Founded in 1806 and based in Devon, this internationally known company offers a wide range of garden seed, along with tools and supplies.

Thompson & Morgan
Founded in 1855, this well-known company based in Suffolk offers a wide range of garden products, including a good selection of annual and perennial flowers, plus wildflower seed mixes. The website includes a lot of great growing tips.

Unwins
Founded in 1903 and based in Cambridgeshire, Unwins originally specialized in flower seed and later expanded to include vegetable seed and other products. They continue to develop sweet pea varieties, and their site lists more than 90 sweet peas along with other flowers, with helpful categorization and search filters.

Woolmans
This long-standing company, founded in 1881 and based in Suffolk, is the place for chrysanthemum cuttings. Mums are their specialty, and they offer young plants in more than 150 varieties; be sure to choose cut flower types.

Europe

B & T World Seeds
This family-run flower seed company in France has a huge, searchable variety index on their website. Go first to list 44, “Cut flowers Commercial and other Recommended Varieties” and take time to check out their Botanical Glossary.

Graines Voltz 
This French company supplies plugs (small rooted plants) to the trade. You can browse the website in French, German, Spanish, or Italian, and search for specific varieties or scroll through the varieties listed by genus.

Jelitto
Based in Germany, Jelitto offers an incredible range of perennial and biennial seeds, including a huge number of long-stemmed columbines. If you are a beginning gardener, their website and catalog might be intimidating because all of the plants are listed with their Latin names. They have amazing seed-starting instructions including all of the special tricks needed for starting perennials.

Muller Seeds
This Dutch company lists more than 600 varieties of cut flower seed on its website. Perennials, sunflowers, sweet peas, ornamental grasses, and flowers good for drying are all listed in separate categories.

Bingenheimer Saatgut
This German company offers only open-pollinated vegetable, flower, and herb varieties of organic seeds and plants, working with a network of organic and biodynamic seed producers. Charts on the website show sowing, planting, and blooming times for each variety.

Seedaholic
This seed company in Galway, Ireland, offers almost 2,500 varieties, and you can search flower varieties using many categories, including foliage and fillers, dried flowers, natural dyes, sowing month, and more. While you’re looking for flowers, check out the “Ancient Crops” list under the Edibles tab.

Silene
This small Belgian nursery outside Brussels specializes in annuals and biennials. The owners love old-fashioned flowers, appreciate pollinators, and grow more than 500 varieties.

Vreeken’s Seeds
Founded in 1926, this third-generation Dutch company works with both home gardeners and commercial growers. They offer more than 1,700 annual and perennial flower seeds, along with many different seed mixes, including one for dried flowers.

Canada

Johnny’s Selected Seed
Hands down the best garden company in the U.S., and they ship to Canada. They cater primarily to market gardeners, but their selection and online technical growing information can’t be beat. Johnny’s offers an insane range of vegetable, herb, and cut flower seed, along with tools and supplies—hoophouse benders, bouquet sleeves, seed-starting supplies, and high-quality hand tools. They have everything you need, and the quality is great.

Renee’s Garden Seed
Based in the U.S., Renee’s ships throughout Canada. The longtime standard at locally operated garden centers, Renee’s really caters to backyard gardeners. I love her custom flower and vegetable mixes because you can try a lot of varieties without having to order a bunch of different packets. Her wildflower scatter gardens are a great invention.

West Coast Seeds
This fourth-generation family-owned company in British Columbia promotes organic growing and sustainable agriculture. They have a nice selection of untreated, non-GMO seeds for flowers, herbs, and grasses that can be used as cut materials.

William Dam Seeds
This Ontario-based, family-run company was founded by Dutch immigrants William and Rene Dam in 1959. They offer a long list of cut flower and herb seeds, including many fantastic, hard-to-find specialties.

Veseys Seeds
Family-owned for 80 years, this company on Prince Edward Island is geared toward home gardeners. They offer flower and herb seed, great wildflower seed mixes, seed-starting supplies, and backyard-scale season extension equipment.

Australia

Australian Seed
Based in Western Australia, this company specializes in Australian native seeds. They carry a wide selection of flowers, as well as vegetables and seeds for medicinal plants.

The Climbing Fig
The Climbing Fig, based in New South Wales, offers a great selection of cut flower seed, including many specialties, and you can browse seeds by color, season, and region. They also offer a wide range of propagation supplies, and the website is very easy to use.

Diggers
The Diggers Club, Australia’s largest gardening club, has a huge range of garden and cut flower seed varieties. There’s a ton of helpful growing information on the website, including some of the videos from their excellent YouTube channel.

Jardin le Fleur
A passionate seed collector, photographer Lisa Perhat launched her own line of specialty open-pollinated, non-GMO flower and herb seeds, now based in Victoria. Her gorgeous website has breathtaking photos and an inspiring blog.

Lambley Nursery
Owner David Glenn is known internationally for his emphasis on sustainable gardening, and the company’s garden complex in Central Victoria, which feeds four generations of the family, draws visitors from around the world. Lambley offers a great selection of cut flower seed.

Royston Petrie
This second-generation, family-owned wholesale supplier in New South Wales sells to both commercial growers and home gardeners. They offer more than 800 varieties of flowering plants, and their website shows the availability status on each one.

The Seed Collection
This Victoria-based company offers chemical-free heirloom, open-pollinated, non-hybrid and non-GMO seeds, including a good selection of cut flower seeds, as well as seed collections.

Southern Harvest
This company in Tasmania carries a nice selection of cottage garden flower seeds, plus a long list of herbs, and some natives that are really useful as cut flowers. A great site for cut flower growers.

New Zealand

Egmont Seeds
This family-owned company in New Plymouth caters to home gardeners and emphasizes customer service. They offer more than 500 types of flower seeds, as well as seeds for herbs and New Zealand native plants.

Emerden
After years of planning, Tikorangi farmer-florist Sarah Hawkless has just begun offering flower seed. Subscribe to her newsletter for information updates. (And check out her gorgeous dried flower bouquets.)

Garden Post
This family-owned company in Tauranga offers 33 types of sweet pea seeds, as well as more than 100 varieties of flower seed, with cutting and garden types listed together.

Dr Keith Hammett
Keith Hammett is a world-renowned breeder in Auckland best known for his contributions to sweet peas, dahlias, and clivia and sells seeds for these flowers and amaryllis on his website. His sweet pea varieties are amazing!

Kings Seeds
This company based in Katikati has a huge list and range of seeds—everything from flowers to animal grazing mixes. The website offers helpful search filters: hardiness, light needs, type of use, color, height, and sowing time.

Nourish Gardens
Christy Ralphs operates this diversified farm on Waiheke Island, with specialty cut flower production, a small-scale food forest, medicinal gardens, and more. She documents her work through writing and photos, and offers a beautiful curated collection of seeds.

Owairaka Seeds
This small company in Auckland specializes in rare and hard-to-find perennial seeds, and they also offer some annuals and biennials.

Puriri Lane
Longtime Floret supporters Deb and Clive Sisam own and operate a plant nursery and display garden near Auckland, New Zealand. They specialize in hard-to-find annuals and perennials that they ship across the country. Their online shop has a nice selection of sweet peas and annual flowering plants along with gifts and gardening books.

South Africa

Ball Straathof
This third-generation company in Gauteng partners with Ball Horticultural in the U.S. They offer a good selection of cut flower seeds and plugs (small rooted plants) to commercial growers.

Seeds for Africa
Located in Capetown, this company, founded in 2011, has a catalog of more than 2,600 seeds, including indigenous African varieties. They sell on eBay and offer many favorite cut flower varieties.

India

Seedlings India
This small seed production company in New Delhi collaborates with NGOs on planting projects. They have a small but solid number of cut flower seed varieties, which are grouped with bedding plant seeds.

If you have a favorite seed company that’s not listed here, I’d love to know about it. Please tuck it in the comments section below.   

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