Whether you're looking for flowers, veggies, herbs, or specialty plants, these suppliers have you covered.
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As this year's seed catalogs start landing in my mailbox and inbox, I'm making a list of old favorites and new varieties I want to grow this year. There are classics I always plant, such as 'Better Boy' tomato and 'Black Beauty' eggplant, which I know will be available at my local garden center in the spring. But for those more unusual, harder-to-find varieties of veggies and flowers, the Internet is the way to go. The best places to buy seeds online depends on the types of plants you're looking for. These top choices each offer plenty of high-quality options for veggies, herbs, flowers, and more.

pink poppies coneflowers growing garden
Credit: Kindra Clineff

1. Best Flower Seeds: Renee's Garden

Renee Shepherd, founder of Renee's Garden, trials and chooses all the flower seed varieties her company sells. Along with open-pollinated and heirloom varieties from around the world, Renee's Garden also offers exclusive varieties like 'Summer Peaches' alyssum and mixes like Spinning Wheels marigolds. You can shop exciting vegetable and herb varieties, too. And each seed packet is a miniature work of watercolor art with personally-written descriptions and growing instructions. You'll be tempted to save them for crafts, garden journals, or scrapbooks.

2. Best Vegetable Seeds: Johnny's Selected Seeds

Every year, the gardeners at Johnny's Selected Seeds plant thousands of vegetable varieties to find the best for their customers. Browse their site for organic and heirloom veggie seeds, exclusive varieties, award-winners, and seeds for hydroponic and greenhouse growing. Some smaller seeds, including lettuce, carrots, and onions, are available in pellet form. This makes them easier to see and handle, whether you're sowing by hand or using a mechanical seeder. Pro tip: Order only as much as you can use in a growing season; pelleted seeds often have a shorter shelf life.

3. Best Heirloom Seeds: Seed Savers Exchange      

Seed Savers Exchange helped launch the heirloom seed movement in 1975. Now, this non-profit based in Decorah, Iowa, maintains a seed bank of over 25,000 rare and heirloom varieties. While some heirloom seeds are now produced on a commercial scale and widely available, other varieties are still found only in backyard gardens. Join the Exchange, and you can share or request homegrown flower, vegetable, and herb seeds from other members across the U.S.

4. Best New Varieties: Park Seed

Almost all seed companies offer new varieties each year, so it's hard to pick just one. I like Park Seed, which has added over 140 new choices to its 2022 lineup. You'll also find unique seeds exclusive to Park, along with growing supplies, tools, and bulbs. This company occasionally runs sales and offers discounts, so check the website often for a good deal or sign up for its newsletter (you'll get a discount when you do).

5. Best Non-GMO Seeds: Botanical Interests

Focused on organic gardening practices, Botanical Interests was among the first to sign the Safe Seed Pledge, which promises the company won't "knowingly buy, sell, or trade genetically-engineered seeds or plants." Many of its herb, flower, and vegetable varieties are heirlooms; some are new or exclusive, and the seed packets don't contain fillers. Colorful seed packets tell you when to harvest and include recipes, landscape ideas, gardening history, organic pest-control tips, and more.

herb garden in galvanized pots
Credit: Bob Stefko

6. Best Herbs: Eden Brothers

Buy a packet or in bulk from Eden Brothers, where you'll find over 100 varieties of culinary and medicinal herb seeds. There are heirloom, open-pollinated, rare hybrid, and organic seeds; plus recommendations for container gardens, cut flower gardens, and indoor gardens. These seeds range from "A" for absinthe to "V" for valerian. They're listed by the best herbs for growing indoors, in containers, for use as microgreens, and to preserve for dried flowers.

7. Best Seed Mixes: American Meadows

American Meadows has an online map to help you find the best wildflower mix for your region. Annual and perennial mixes are designed to support pollinators, provide color throughout the growing season, and thrive in specific growing conditions such as part shade or dry soil. They also sell flower bulbs, grass, and pasture seed. Helpful videos and online guides show you how to plant a garden or a meadow.

8. Best Native Plant Seeds: Prairie Moon Nursery

When you're looking for native seeds and mixes for specific needs, Prairie Moon Nursery is a sure bet. Need flowers to grow in wet soil? A groundcover for a steep slope or shady woodlands? This company has over 700 native wildflower, grass, and sedge seed varieties. You'll also find specialty mixes for birds and pollinators, and seeds that produce deer-resistant plants. Prairie Moon's mixes are a diverse balance of native seeds, so you'll have a succession of blooms once the plants mature.

9. Best Exotic and Specialty Seeds: Kitazawa Seed Co.

True Leaf Market is now handling seeds for Kitazawa Seed Company, a long-time source for many unique Asian varieties. True Leaf Market sells a huge collection of specialty seeds, such as micro-greens, sprouts, grain, wheatgrass, and cover crops. Check out its blog for unique recipes, like chia seed tortillas and preserved tomato leather.

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