Whether you just caught the planting bug like many people from around the world have while under lockdown, or you just want to add more plants to your growing indoor or outdoor garden, I’m sure you’d love receiving free seeds samples any day.
If you’re a beginner, you’re probably thinking why go through all the trouble, if each packet costs under a dollar? But I promise you’d soon find out that there are millions of flower seeds or that hundreds of different varieties of peppers exist that buying everything you like could quickly add up. And if given a choice to get them without spending a cent, why not, right?
5 Ways to Get Free Seeds Samples of Vegetables & Flowers
Here are several ways of people get free seeds samples by mail:
1. Directly from Garden Supply Stores
These stores do not have free seeds sample forms you fill out. Instead, they have a collection of hundreds of seeds, from perennial flowers to vegetable seeds. You can get free seeds from these shops by:
Sign up for all 3 sites to get regular freebies in the mail.
- Joining their newsletters usually gives you a discount off your first purchase.
- Buying on the store regularly
- Following them on social media
- Joining contests and giveaways
- Subscribing to monthly box packages – If your favorite store has a surprise box plan, subscribe to this plan to receive monthly packages with a ton of neat items. What’s great about subscription boxes is that these boxes usually include more stuff because the shops order them in advance (and in bulk), which allow them to give customers better deals.
2. Free Seeds Samples Hidden in Garden Catalogs
The cool thing about seed and gardening catalogs is that not only are they full of interesting information about urban or full-scale gardening, they almost-always have free seeds included in the catalog.
Some catalogs I know with free seeds samples include:
- Burgess Seed & Plant Co. – Over 100-year-old company with catalogs of perennials, bulbs, fruit, shrubs, and trees.
- Botanical Interests – Get a catalog of vegetable, herbs, flowers and organic seeds, as long as you’re from US or Canada, shipping is free straight to your door.
- Seed Savers Exchange – New up-to-date varieties of seeds every year.
- Annie’s Heirloom – For heirloom and vegetable seeds.
- Baker Creek Heirloom – Amazing catalog of heirloom vegetable, flower, and herb seeds.
- Burpee – Sends annual catalog of their heirloom seeds, perennials, vegetable and flower seeds. Sends to US addresses only.
- Brent and Becky’s Bulbs – Available for US and Canada addresses, this catalog has every bulb to your heart’s content.
- Burnt Ridge Nursery & Orchards – Pretty unique company that sends seeds of nut trees, fruiting plants and ornamentals. Can send to addresses worldwide.
- Burrell Seeds – This company has been providing seeds of cucumber, carrot, peppers, tomato, spinach and more for over 100 years.
3. Earth-friendly Organizations
Many organizations exist to protect and preserve plants and animals. A good example of this is how various organizations are sending specific types of seeds for free to extend the lives of bees all over the country.
- AltUS National Park Service – This organization sends seed packs of either Black-Eyed Susans or Butterfly Milkweed (you can choose which one). The goal is to plant enough of these wildflowers to give bees the nutrition they need.
- Back to the Roots – This program encourages people to teach their kids how to plant with free organic gardening kits and STEM curriculum.
- Xcelenergy – If you’re from Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas or Wisconsin, you can get a free pollinator seed pack by mail.
- The National Wildlife Foundation – Submit a photo of yourself making butterfly hands and The National Wildlife Foundation will send you a butterfly kit that includes seeds, a notebook, stickers, a poster, and more.
- FeedABee.com – Take the pledge to “feed a bee” and this organization will send you a free seed packet so you can help bees pollinate the planet.
- Live Monarch – If you have a butterfly garden or are thinking of starting one, Live Monarch will send you a free packet of 50+ Milkweed seeds.
4. Seed Exchange with Plant Lovers Everywhere
Seed exchange is a pretty awesome idea. You can request seeds your heart desires and wait for the seeds from likeminded people either from your local community or online groups.
One Seed Chicago is a big seed swapping program. Many other states have their own variation, but all of these groups were created to encourage fellow growers and give/receive seeds from other people.
If you’re lucky to live in an area where gardeners hold seed exchanges, then you’re up for a treat. Gardeners are usually generous when they find people who share the same passion as them. What’s great about local seed swaps is that they can be as general as possible, with people exchanging flowers, to succulents, to seeds and vegetable seedlings of all kinds. Or as specific as seed swaps exclusively held just for hot pepper growers.
Don’t know anyone in your community? Maybe it’s your chance to meet new friends. Go to Facebook and check out Great American Seed Swap and similar groups.
5. Facebook Groups and Planting Forums
Check out gardening and planting forums for seed exchange threads like this from Houzz.com. You’d be surprised that many expert gardeners with a TON of extra seeds will gladly send over seeds to beginners as long as they have a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE).
There are many experts actively sharing their knowledge online. For example, in the super-hot pepper-lover world, Khang Starr is a legend for creating his KS Lemon Starrburst by crossing a Scotch Bonnet and a Bahamian Goat Pepper. Every now and then, he gives away seeds for this famous plant on Pepper Lovers. His only request is for the recipients to share the love for free as well.
You will never run out of Facebook groups to discover. There are super-niche groups, such as the Pepper in a Can Challenge, where pepper growers showcase their impressive peppers planted in beer or cola cans and sometimes giveaway seeds to fellow group members.
I’m sure whatever kind of vegetable, flower or tree you wish to plant will have its own group already created on Facebook. And if not, there’s nothing stopping you to create one yourself.
A Warning about Free Seeds Samples by Mail
If you receive mysterious seed packets mailed to your US address directly and you have no clue where it came from, the US Department of Agriculture warns people not to plant them.
Apparently, the packages come from China and have reached at least 27 states. USDA advises to report such seed packets and don’t try growing them since invasive plant species could destroy local agriculture.
If you’re interested in other gardening or agricultural freebies, make sure to bookmark this post. I’ll update this list regularly.
The only downside to getting free seeds is that some may not arrive immediately. If you’re on a rush, but still don’t want to use your own cash for your seed collection, here’s how you can earn Target gift cards, which you can then use to shop for your seeds directly from Target. Enjoy!