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Is one pack of seed usually enough?

Potentially moronic question incoming:

When buying seeds for growing ornamentals, do they usually provide an optimum amount per packet? 

In other words, (taking the possibility of germination failure and die-offs into account) will one pack of a certain type of plant seed be enough to "do the job" of producing a decent amount of that plant for that growing season, or would you usualy need to buy more than one pack per plant?

I know it's a "how long is a piece of string?" question, but I've noticed seed packs have varying amounts of seeds in them depending on the type of plant/seed size etc.  So I wondered if that's why they do vary in amount so much? (i.e.that they are providing an "optimum" amount per pack)


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,130
    I'd say it's more based on economics.  Seeds which are easy to collect, dry and clean and also produced in quantity by the parent plant are cheap.  New introductions, FIs that require special breeding programmes, rarer plants, less prolific seeders and those which are harder to collect, clean and pack will be more expensive.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • So many factors others will think of more.  A lot depends on how many plants you need, ie how big an area are you planning to do.  Also the cultivars themselves,  some open pollinated plants make masses of  seeds (poppies) but not all will germinate. If the plants are an F1 hybrid these are difficult to raise and so are expensive,  you will only get a few in a pack but they are likely to all germinate.  These are just 2 factors. 
    AB Still learning

  • Some suppliers are more helpful than others and state things like "Average contents 500 seeds, sufficient to grow approximately 50 plants"  which clearly shows they know that particular seed only has a 10% germination rate and have adjusted seed numbers accordingly.  If nothing like that is mentioned, I would expect all of the seeds to be viable.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,024
    I don't know if it's a legal requirement to state the average contents of the seed packet by weight or number of seeds.  It's certainly often done, which can be useful... lettuce, for instance, often contains 1000 seeds per packet, which is rather more lettuce plants than the average gardener requires - so I don't sow them all!   :)  And if you're planning a particular colour scheme or bedding design it can be helpful to know what to expect from your seed packet.
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,817
    They also take into account that some seeds (particularly veggies with small seed) are generally sown direct and then thinned out to the correct spacing, so only a proportion of the seedlings grow to maturity.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
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