Are you a beginner gardener with no idea where to buy your seeds? I’ve taken the time to compile a curated list of the places I’ve personally shopped, explored, and been recommended by trusted readers. Whether you’re looking for flowers or vegetables, heirloom seeds, organic seeds, wildflower seeds for your xeriscape, or hardy fruit trees, you’re guaranteed to find something in this list.
This list is tailored for the Canadian Prairies, and the advice is from a gardener’s perspective in USDA Hardiness Zone 2/3. The tips on selecting a seed company should work for all zones. I’ve also included links to a list of all the seed companies in Canada and the United States so you can find something local to you.
If you prefer to watch and see the ones I use all the time, check out this video:
P.S. I only included Canadian companies when I originally wrote this post. Since then, I’ve added a few American companies that ship seed to Canada. I have put that they are American in brackets immediately after.
WHAT SHOULD I PLANT?
Ultimately, it’s up to you! If this is your first garden, I recommend picking 3-8 vegetables or flowers that you love to eat and/or look at. It’s important to avoid overwhelm! Make your list before you look at a seed catalogue, and stick to it.
Remember that if your seeds die, you can always buy starter plants at a local greenhouse.
If you don’t have a grow light or a large south-facing window, I recommend buying plants like tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and peppers as starters.
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GREENHOUSE
While it is cheaper to go to a big box store, the staff won’t be able to answer detailed questions, the plant quality isn’t as good, and it isn’t guaranteed that the varieties sold will be successful in your growing zone. (This is especially true in the Canadian Prairies, where you’ll often see Zone 4 perennials that won’t last the winter.)
Yes, you might pay a bit more for the plants, but the advice you get and the quality of the plants will save you money and frustration in the end.
Side Note: I deeply regret buying a hydrangea from Walmart. It only bloomed one year, then promptly died the next. A replacement one faired no better. If I had just spent the extra money on a decent hydrangea variety meant for my climate, I would enjoy the flowers now instead of feeling bitter and envious of my neighbours’ beautiful hydrangeas.
Lesson: buy shrubs from an actual greenhouse.
Side Note #2: The price difference between your greenhouse and the big box store is often less than expected.
Curious about which plants I love and which plants I regret? Click the links and find out!
WHICH SEED COMPANY SHOULD I CHOOSE?
In short, pick the seed company closest to where you live or in the same growing region as you.
You can still have success ordering from a company farther away, but you’ll have to be careful not to order a plant that isn’t in your growing zone.
If heirloom and organic seeds are your things, pick a company specializing in them. You’ll find lots of options in the categories below.
Finally, order your seeds early if you plan on a cut flower garden. By January 2nd, if possible! You’ll need lots of time to start annual flowers, and boutique flower seed companies sell out of popular varieties FAST. Sometimes on the first day, their shop opens for the year. I’ve compiled this list specifically for cut flower garden shopping.
ONE-STOP SEED SHOPPING
These companies have almost everything the home gardener could want. They sell vegetable, herb, and flower seeds, grasses, crop covers, perennials, and fruit trees. Many of them sell bulbs, corms, and tubers as well. It’s almost one-stop shopping.
- Early’s Farm and Garden Centre – This is my local garden centre (like blocks-away-local), and I do most of my in-person shopping there. I also like that they have all the gardening items I could possibly need at reasonable prices.
- Hazzard’s Seeds (American)
- Incredible Seed Company
- Lindenburg Seeds
- OSC (Ontario Seed Company) – My only experience with this company so far is a purchase of black radishes and luffa sponges. So far, so good!
- Stokes – Bonus! They sell to both the US and Canada.
- T & T Seeds – I have ordered a lot from T & T over the years. This is where I tend to order things like strawberries, garlic, and seed potatoes.
- Veseys – A large selection of, well, everything!
- W. H. Perron – They have a great selection of plants, especially for the urban gardener.
- West Coast Seeds – They have an extensive selection of vegetables, herbs, cut flowers, fruits, and bulbs.
ORGANIC & HEIRLOOM
- Baker Creek (American) – Probably the best selection in North America of rare seeds. They will ship to Canada, but you have to pay if you want a catalogue. Baker Creek is a popular company, so they tend to sell out of the most desirable stuff quickly.
- Heritage Harvest Seeds – I love this catalogue. There may not be any pictures, but it reads like a storybook/history book and is very interesting. They have one of the best selections I’ve seen if you’re looking for beans for drying.
- Incredible Seed Company – In 2020, I ordered almost all of my tomato seeds from them, as they have a diverse selection of paste tomatoes. I was really impressed with the tomatoes I grew, especially since it was a challenging growing year. Get the Hungarian Heart tomatoes; you won’t be sorry.
- Prairie Garden Seeds – They updated their website in 2021, which is so easy to use. You can easily find exactly what you need: vegetables, annual & perennial flowers, grasses, cereal crops, and wildflowers. There are many tomato varieties there that I haven’t seen elsewhere. In 2022, they made the decision not to sell vegetable seeds, so check back in 2023 to see if they will be offered again.
- Rainbow Seeds – A solid selection of vegetables at very reasonable prices. The website is a bit old-looking but very easy to use and much less frustrating than others. However, they only sell vegetables and, at the time I visited their site, do not have herbs or flowers.
- Select Seeds (American)
- West Coast Seeds – I found them more expensive when I started this list in 2017. Fast forward to 2023, and they’re now one of the cheaper companies to order seeds from. I like that they have resealable envelopes for their seeds, and I’ve found the seed germination to be solid even after multiple years. They’re also a more under-the-radar option for flower farmers and one of the few places to get eucalyptus from.
- Wildrose Heritage Seed Company
- William Dam Seeds – Available in the US and Canada! I ordered from them for the first time in 2020 and was very pleased with my flowers and vegetables. They have one of Canada’s best and largest selections, and I have done a large portion of my cut flower shopping there.
My French is passable at best, but one of my French-speaking readers recommended these three Quebec-based seed companies.
Looking specifically for tomato seeds? The ones I’d pick are in the video below…
SEEDS FOR THE CUT FLOWER GARDEN
In this section, I’ve listed four American companies. All of them will ship seed (but not bare rootstock) to Canada. Whistling Prairie and Floret sell out of their stock extremely fast, so check their sites often for the best selection. For even more options, check out this list.
- Floret Flowers (American) – In recent years the prices have gone up, but it’s still worth it to shop there as there are a few flowers that are very difficult to find anywhere else. I’m hoping to score the zinnia varieties she bred and the dahlia seeds when they come in stock again. (Likely not until 2023.)
- Fraiche Flower Farm – This is a flower farmer I’ve been following for years, and I really respect her work and her style. These seeds are new as of 2023, so I have not worked with them yet. I’m looking forward to planting several varieties from her this year, and I’ll update you when I have some impressions.
- GeoSeed (American) – A very extensive collection of flowers. The only drawback is that there are no photos in the catalogue. The ordering process is slow and arduous (unless you know all of your Latin names and don’t have to google every flower), but people come back time and time again because the prices and selection are fantastic.
- Johnny’s Seeds (American) – Johnny’s Seeds has one of the most informative seed catalogues ever. Lots of good tips and beautiful pictures. They constantly restock their seeds at all times of the year, so check back often if something is out of stock.
- Stems Flower Farm – Has one of the best selections of cut flower seeds in Canada. Very similar to the Floret site. They do a few restocks throughout the winter, so if you don’t get something the first time, make sure you check back in a month or two.
- Veseys – A solid selection of standard cut flowers.
- West Coast Seeds – A reasonable alternative to the more familiar seed sellers. While they don’t have everything, they have a surprisingly good selection.
Related: A Cut Flower Garden for $100? Yes, It’s Possible!, $100 Cut Flower Garden Update
- White Flower Farm (American) – More and more specialty and local cut flower growers are popping up all the time. The easiest place to find them is on Instagram, and wait until they announce their sales.
- Whistling Prairie Flowers – I don’t say this often, but you might want to buy seeds from @farmgirlsk just for the packaging. It’s so gorgeous! I’ve been too slow so far to snag any seeds from them, but I was on the ball with their daffodil sale, and I’m very excited to see them bloom.
- William Dam Seeds
Looking for the all the best places to get cut flower seeds? Check out this comprehensive list or watch the video below:
FRUIT TREES HARDY TO ZONE 3
Many of the companies listed above have a selection of hardy fruit trees. Larger local greenhouses will also have more established plants for you to buy.
Don’t expect a fully potted tree if you order online! You will likely get what looks like a stick in a box. You must follow the instructions that come with your tree (stick), so it grows. When you’re ordering fruit trees (esp. from Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery), you have to get on the sites early and have your shopping list ready to go. Like cut flowers, shopping for apple trees is a competitive sport.
Here’s a list of a couple of companies that specialize in fruit trees.
- Green Barn Farm
- Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery – One of the only fruit companies with apple trees down to Zone 1. They have a feature where you can shop by hardiness zone, which will put a green checkmark next to all those that fit in your zone. You can also buy trees by height. I initially found them on a search for apple trees, but they also have all of the standard hardy fruits.
- The Saskatoon Farm
- Silver Creek Nursery Fruit Trees
- Whiffletree Farm and Nursery
You don’t want to miss the University of Saskatchewan Plant Sale if you’re local to Saskatoon or area. It’s a one-day sale that usually happens in early June.
Want to grow fruit in Zone 2 or Zone 3? Here are 28 fruit trees & shrubs to grow and 6 fruits to start from seed.
SPECIALty seed shops
SPECIALIZING IN BULBS
Many smaller flower farmers sell specialty cut flower varieties. Most of the seed companies in the “one-stop shop” section also sell a decent selection of bulbs, but these two companies ONLY work with bulbs. The benefit of ordering from these companies is that you can buy packages without a special business license if you have an acreage to fill.
SPECIALIZING IN HERBS
- Richters Herbs – You can find herbs at most seed companies. However, Richters Herbs has hard-to-find stuff and a few flowers. I’m grabbing the Chocolate Cosmos this year, although they are pretty expensive.
NATIVE WILDFLOWER & GRASS SEEDS
It’s possible to get wildflower mixes and naturalized wildflower seeds from other companies, but these companies specialize in wildflowers. So if you’re planning a xeriscape or drought-resistant garden, this is where you’ll want to start.
- Blazing Star Wildflower Seed Company
- Prairie Garden Seeds
- Prairie Originals
- Wildflower Farm
- Northern Wildflowers
Click these links for more detailed information about the benefits of Native Flowers and the best Native Flowers to grow in the Prairies.
Low on funds? MI Gardener sells many of their seeds for 99 cents American and will ship to Canada. T & T seeds have the lowest prices I’ve seen out of the Canadian mail-order catalogues, and Early’s Farm and Garden centre in Saskatoon is my local place for getting seeds at reasonable prices.
For organic, heirloom, and non-GMO seeds, Westcoast Seeds and Rainbow Seeds are good low-cost options.
I am always a bit leery of buying seeds from your local dollar store. However, I know people that have done it and have been successful. If you’re okay with a limited selection, give it a try.
Finally, if you’re willing to shop in the off-season, you can find some sales from July-September. However, not all companies offer them, so get on the email lists of your favourite companies so you can hear when and if they are announced.
GO PLAN THE GARDEN AND LANDSCAPE OF YOUR DREAMS
I hope this list of companies has been helpful to you in your garden and landscape planning journey. I’m sure I’ve missed many other good companies, and I’d love to hear about your favourites in the comments.
For a complete guide to all the seed companies in Canada, visit the Canadian Seed Catalogue.
American friends, don’t think I’ve forgotten about you! Here’s a list of all the Seed Companies in the USA.
If you liked this blog post, find me on Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram for more cold-climate vegetable gardening tips, delicious recipes, and cut flower goodness! I also make weekly videos over on my YouTube channel. I hope to see you there!
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