Forum home Tools and techniques

Free seeds

The Bald GardenerThe Bald Gardener South West ScotlandPosts: 212
I was wondering if those free seed packets that are given away with magazines are worth planting?  If they are, would I be able to keep the ones I have until next spring (when I'll be equipped to have a wee go at potting things) and if so, how should I store them. 

This is what I've accumulated so far that I would maybe give space to.

Honesty 'Lunaria Annua purple'
Gypsophila 'Covent Garden'
Cosmos 'Cosmix White'
Agrostema 'Ocean Pearl'
Larkspur 'Qis White'

I've got a few other packets but they are mostly white and ideally I'd like my border to have mostly purples, blues and reds with little bits of white to 'pop' against the dark oak fence paint here and there (if I can!). 

All ideas and no talent me. :smile:

Again, any advice is appreciated.



  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,470
    Most packet seeds would keep until next year if the packets are still sealed, and kept in a cool place.
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 17,116
    Friends keep their seeds in the fridge. Do you do that?
  • The Bald GardenerThe Bald Gardener South West ScotlandPosts: 212
    Yeah, they are still sealed, was just curious about the quality of them as they were freebies.
    The fridge sounds like an idea. I'll pop 'em in there. Thanks.
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,531
    The seed packets usually carry a "Sow by" date.
  • Bagpuss57Bagpuss57 South West Posts: 256
    I have sown lots of out of date seeds that I have accumulated but couldn't sow due to one reason or another. This year and last mostly all the seeds germinated but there were some that just failed. My idea is if they're free anyway then you've not lost anything for trying. You might be pleasantly surprised as I have been. Last year my raised bed was mostly grown from out of date seeds and this year my little greenhouse is packed with seedlings waiting to go out. Fresh seeds always do better but it definitely worth sowing seeds that are past their best as the results can still make the garden lovely. I have to garden on a tight budget so the freebies or reduced seeds at the end of the season are always the ones I use now. In Wyvale they sell off lots of seeds around Sept/Oct for as little as 50p and lots still have a good date on them too. 

    This is last summer. Cosmos, Zinnia, stocks, sweet William, calendula, sweet peas, rudbeckia, scabious all free seeds, or past sell by dates. 
  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,234
    I got my dad a subscription to a gardening magazine and of course the free seeds came. He planted everything willy nilly and most of it grew. I think the idea of the free seeds is to encourage you into your garden so the quality is fine; who's going to keep going back for the magazine if nothing grows?
    Fresh is obviously better but keep them sealed and pop them in the fridge, as said before, and sow them when you can. Nothing to lose but a couple of handfuls of compost.  :)
  • SillyTillySillyTilly SunderlandPosts: 32
    Every spring when I look at seeds my nan pipes up that she'd got loads of seeds I can have.  From 1970. I think maybe they're past their best lol.
  • Valley GardenerValley Gardener Rhondda ValleyPosts: 2,704
    I planted a free packet of Firework petunia this year,they weren't easy to germinate,I've put them in a nice urn with White Bacopa,and they look awful,I won't be growing them again,more like weeds than flowers!
    The whole truth is an instrument that can only be played by an expert.
  • UpNorthUpNorth South Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK Posts: 376
    I sowed the free 'magazine cover' cosmos purity (white)....just flower now....bright purple!
  • Valley GardenerValley Gardener Rhondda ValleyPosts: 2,704
    So annoying,I don't think I'll bother with them again.I did "mixed Penstemons" and they've all turned out to be "Garnet, well at least I'm not the only one Up north!!😁
    The whole truth is an instrument that can only be played by an expert.
Sign In or Register to comment.