Growing from seed allows you to try a wider variety than you'll typically find as seedlings at the garden center. These are some of our favorite places to order seeds—you'll even want to keep the packets!

By Megan Hughes

In the depths of winter, looking through a seed catalog is the gardener’s equivalent of planning a summer vacation—a chance to fantasize about warmer days ahead. What's even more fun is getting the seeds in the mail with the surprise of a unique and pretty packet holding them. Not only are these some of our favorite seed companies, but they are also known for their gorgeous packaging.

The abundance of specialty seed companies means gardeners have a world of plants to try growing, including heirloom Asian greens and French melons. Smaller seed companies need to stand out among competitors, meaning they often offer rare varieties in packets that will catch your eye. You’ll want to order seeds now to get your first choices for spring, which will be here sooner than it may feel.

Seed packet from Botanical Interests for larkspur 'Shades of Blue' with botanical illustration on front
Image courtesy of Botanical Interests

Botanical Interests

Botanical Interests' seed packets provide extensive growing information on each packet of vegetables, herbs, and flowers sets gardeners up for success. Each packet has a white background, easy-to-read black text, and a classic-style botanical illustration of what lies inside the packet.

phlox cherry caramel flower seeds packet

Floret Flowers

We love the simplicity of this seed packet. Floret Flowers selects its 200 cutting flowers for their scent and long blooming time. The brown paper seed envelopes have a black line drawing of the plant that will sprout from the seeds.

Woman holding fanned out seed packets from Fruition Seed for leeks, parsnips and thyme
Image courtesy of Fruition Seeds

Fruition Seeds

Each packet of Fruition seeds has an illustrated border around the bottom that has to do with the type of plant inside. Many packets have a full-color photo of the grown plant on the top half of the envelope, so you know exactly what to expect after sowing. Their focus is on flower, vegetable, and herb seeds that thrive in the cool, short seasons of the Northeast.

Seed packet for cucumber hybrid Tsuyataro from Kitazawa Seed Co.
Image courtesy of Kitazawa Seed Co.

Kitazawa Seed Co.

Expand your palate with unusual Asian vegetables from this century-old seed company. You always know you're looking at a Kitazawa packet by the color scheme: a butter yellow background with pine green botanicals and text.

renee's garden tricolor carrots circus seed packet

Renee's Garden

Founder Renee Shepherd, who has spent decades testing out seeds, includes new and time-proven veggies and flowers in her collection. Renee's seed envelopes give off a magical vibe with a drawn garden gate and watercolor illustrations of the plant.

badger flame beet seed packet

Row 7

The chefs and plant breeders running Row 7 seek to cultivate the most flavorful vegetables possible. Each packet is white with black text and has minimalist watercolor shapes in the color of the plant inside.

Metal box set of heirloom seeds in different colored envelopes from Monticello
Image courtesy of Monticello

Thomas Jefferson Center For Historic Plants

This Founding Father was also a voracious gardener (and seed sharer). You can buy seeds of plants he tended in his garden at Monticello in Virginia. If you're looking at heirloom seeds, you better expect vintage-inspired packets. The black line drawings on the packets show either a vase full of flowers or a farm landscape fitting of the time period of Thomas Jefferson.


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