Getting free seeds may not be at the top of anybody’s “money saving hacks“. I mean, seeds are not super expensive, but if you’re looking for a few different varieties, then the cost can add up a little.
And whenever and wherever you can save a few bucks, you should!
If you would like to add more fruits, vegetables, and other plants to your garden, without spending more money, this is the post for you.
And, if you’re looking to add to your garden, make sure you check out my post on how to get free trees. And to help your garden produce better and more vegies, read our post on how to get free compost so you can save a few bucks on compost as well.
Below, I’ll tell you how you can get seeds for free!
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How Can I Get Free Seeds?
Here are all the legit and easy ways you can score totally free seeds for your garden.
Alt National Park Service is trying to restore the populations of pollinators like bees and butterflies.
So, it’s offering to mail out free Black-Eyed Susan and Butterfly Milkweed seed packs. Just fill out the form on the website.
Back to the Roots provides gardening kits to students. As many schools have closed due to the pandemic, many people are homeschooling. So if you are working at a daycare or are supporting multiple neighborhood kids at home due to closures, then you can request free bundles of the organization’s organic gardening kits to grow with your at-home students. Teachers and parents can apply for the kit on the website.
3. Xcel Energy
You can request a pollinator seed pack from Xcel Energy. Just complete the online form to get your seeds.
Pledge to be one of the National Wildlife Federation’s Butterfly Heroes and you can get some free seeds. The organization needs people to plant seeds that help butterflies to thrive. You’ll receive tips for gardening on your windowsill, porch, patio, or backyard.
Lots of people and organizations, like schools, scouts, nature centers, places of worship, and other community groups, as well as families, have pledged to help monarch butterfly populations.
More than 200,000 pledges have been received over the past five years to help restore butterfly populations by planting Milkweed that monarchs need to survive and thrive.
5. Feed A Bee
Feed A Bee is an organization that helps to support pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Since lack of forage or plants and flowers used for food is one of the biggest issues that bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are facing, planting more seeds can increase forage across the country.
Feed A Bee provides free seed packets to U.S. residents. The seeds you get are a mix of wildflowers, such as partridge pea, black-eyed Susan and purple coneflower, which will grow well in most regions. There’s a limit of one order per household while supplies last. Just complete the form on the website to get your seeds.
6. Live Monarch
Live Monarch is another place where you can get some free seeds in the mail. The organization mails out free butterfly garden seeds, but you can make a contribution if you want to.
You can get Milkweed or mixed seeds that are appropriate for your area by sending a self-addressed envelope. You can learn more about getting your seeds from Live Monarch on the website.
7. Use seed exchanges to get free seeds
One way to get free seeds is to exchange them with others. You can give away the seeds that you don’t want and get the seeds that you do want. So, it’s a win-win. You’ll get the seeds you want without having to pay for them.
You can either meet up with someone to swap seeds or you can communicate with someone over the phone, by email, or a website to set up a long-distance exchange.
Here are a few seed exchanges:
There may also be local seed exchanges. Do a quick Google search for the term “seed exchange” followed by the name of your town, city, county, or state.
This should provide you with some seed exchanges near you.
8. Get free seeds from seed libraries
If you’re just starting out with gardening and need some free seeds, then try a seed library.
With a seed library, you “borrow” seeds and then return an equal or greater number of seeds once the plant has grown.
Now, the difference between a seed library and a seed exchange is that with a seed library, you don’t have to provide the seeds upfront. So you get to grow the flowers, vegetables, and other types of plants that you want while allowing others to do the same.
One place to get started is at Seed Libraries. The website offers free resources on how to start a library, how to connect with others who have started libraries, and how to maintain a library once you’ve started one. You could also search for seed libraries near you. Just go to Google, and enter the phrase “seed library” followed by the name of your town, city, county, or state. Then hit enter and you should be able to find a seed library near you.
9. Get free seeds from Garden Supply Stores
Garden supply stores sometimes give out free seeds. They do this in a number of ways.
Here’s how you can get free seeds from garden supply stores:
- Sign up for newsletters as these often provide things like discounts on your first purchase, promo codes, freebies and other great deals.
- Join a store’s loyalty/rewards program if you shop there often. Many stores have loyalty programs that give you rewards like discounts and free stuff.
- Follow stores on social media since lots of stores provide free stuff, discounts, giveaways and more on their social media accounts.
- Participate in contests and giveaways. You could win free seeds.
Here are some garden supply stores to get you started:
- Burpee Seeds and Plants
- Renee’s Garden
- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds
- American Meadows
I’m sure you’ll have local garden stores as well where you can get great deals like free seeds.
10. Save your own seeds
One of the easiest ways to get seeds for free is by saving your own seeds. Now, saving seeds isn’t as simple as putting them in a bag and storing them. If you want to save seeds successfully, you’ll need to make sure that you know how to properly save and store them.
Here are some awesome resources on saving seeds:
- How to Save Seeds – Seed Savers Exchange
- A Guide to SeedSaving, SeedStewardship & Seed Sovereignty – The Seed Ambassadors Project (PDF)
- Save Vegetable Seeds in Your Backyard – Mother Earth News
- How to Save Seeds from Your Garden to Plant Next Year – Better Homes & Gardens
- 6 Tips for Storing Your Saved Seeds – Good Housekeeping
11. Check out seed groups and forums
Facebook is another place where you can find groups where people occasionally give away seeds.
There are lots of groups dedicated to seeds like the Great American Seed Swap/Trade Project. So have a search on there for seed groups.
And of course, looking for gardening and planting forums online is another way to find people, like expert gardeners, who have a ton of extra seeds that they will happily send over to beginners. You usually just need to have a self-addressed envelope.
12. Look out for free seeds inside gardening catalogs
Seed and gardening catalogs often have seed samples hidden in them.
Here are some examples of gardening catalogs that you can order:
- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Catalog
- Burpee Seeds and Plants Catalog
- Brent & Becky’s Catalogue
- Botanical Interests Catalog
- Seed Savers Catalog
- Annie’s Heirloom Seeds Catalog
- Burrell Seeds Catalog
- Burgess Seed & Plants Co. Catalogs
The best part about these catalogs is that some of them are free!
Be Wary of Random Seeds You Get in the Mail
If you get seeds in the mail that you HAVEN’T ordered, then DO NOT plant them. Across the country, people have been getting random seeds in the mail.
CBS News confirmed that residents in all 50 states have reported getting suspicious packages of seeds.
These seeds appear to have originated in China and could be an invasive plant species.
The USDA and agriculture officials across the U.S. have issued warnings about these unsolicited shipments of foreign seeds and have told people not to plant seeds of unknown origins.
With so many ways to get free seeds, you’ll have plenty of plants for your garden!