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I bought a packet of Unwins 'Shirley' tomatoes.  

I paid £3.99 for 12 seeds,  as the packet stated.

It seems to me that such a price is excessive,  and I'd say that the profits made by many seed manufacturers seem a tad excessive !

Any comments anybody ?




Are these specialist tomatoes? Where were you buying them from? I've found prices seem to vary greatly depending on whether its a garden centre, Wilkinsons, a tat centre that has a few plants in...

Ashleigh 2

Ebay is cheaper for seeds 

No ... bog standard F1 Hybrids ... bought from a big Garden Centre.

I'll try EBay then,  but I am a bit of a Luddite !


£1.39 per pack here although it doesn't say how many seeds the pack contains and the company certainly doesn't have any sort of quality reputation as far as I'm aware.

I think we have to remember that many of the larger companies invest a lot of money on the development of new varieties etc, rather than just growing and selling seeds - they have to cover that investment.  

They also produce and sell a wide variety of seeds, some of which may not be as popular as others and therefore may not recoup their costs, so in order to maintain a wide choice for the grower they spread this across their whole range. 

I hold no brief for seed companies, but I feel that to label a company as profiteering without evidence of their costs might be a little naive. 

There's much more to producing seeds on the scale done by the large companies than growing some tomatoes and saving and packaging the seeds - some varieties are licensed and fees have to be paid, and quality control measures also cost money.

How's the damp problem in your shed Chris?



Oh yes, silly me Doh!  But the rest of what I said still holds good in my opinion. 


I tend to take the view that 12 seeds may produce 12 plants and that will be considerably cheaper than 12 tomato plants and you have the fun of growing them.

I don't understand why you bought the seeds if you thought the price was excessive.  Where are you obtaining the information which leads you to believe the seed manufacturers' profits are excessive?

I tend to look at the price of an item and either decide it's what I want at a price I'm willing to pay or not.  Some plants are dearer than others, generally down either to rarity or the difficulty / time taken to raise them to saleable size.  I imagine the same applies to seed.


Go for bog-standard and leave out the F1

Gardeners Delight, even T&M are only charging £1.99 so you'll  get them for less than that.

Good tom been around for years


Pound shops

daytona675 are excellent - many seeds under £1, great variety, 10% off for allotment holders...when you buy seeds from them, they email you full growing instructions and follow-up tips. The best.

Not only do T & M hike the prices of seeds each year but they also reduce the number of seeds in each packet.Example Rosada tomatoe seeds they increased the price by 20% then reduced the number of seeds from 10 to 8, their price £4.50  bought 10 seeds from "Just Seed" for £1.50.

Mike W



This is a very useful thread; the big seed companies seem to be out of touch with what is happening these days.

I find it amusing, the excessive number of seeds in some packets, for instance, even with a huge allotment are you really going to sow 2000 carrots when advise tells you to put two seeds in each hole



2000 carrots, but that is a lot of CAKE


While I have to agree the price of seed from some companies does seem excessive, it has been pointed out that they do a lot of R&D to bring us better strains and stronger plants. I have my favourites but I like to try new varieties too.

There are a number of ways of getting your seeds a bit cheaper, T&M are often discounting and I bought some seed from them when they were doing a limited half price offering on a large range of veg seed.

Lidl do a large range of seed at very reasonable prices as do Wilko, if you join an allotment society its possible to do lots of plant swaps so that keeps the costs down too.

As KT53 said if you dont want to pay £3 plus for a packet of seed there is no need to.

Malcolm Harrison

The increased costs from the leading seed companies as has been mentioned is due to ongoing plant breeding programmes to develop new varieties using genetic engineering methods. Selection of desireable traits in the progeny can take many years and when found they must then be trialled in the field and grown in large enough numbers to provide seed for the commercial market. You can see clearly why you have to pay more for it makes for a more interesting in-depth study of a plant species. For me this is a fascinating area to pursue.

flowering rose

I find the branded seeds very expensive for such few seeds especially when you collect seed there is so many to a pod.Cheap seeds or unbranded seeds are sometimes the best and good value.

Amazing T and M, Suttons, Kings etc can all arrive at more or less the same price for 10 seeds. Because they all have the same overheads and R and D costs don't they??? Really!

Why then are beautiful Italian beef tomato seeds sold for £1.99 for 350 to 400 seeds in the same garden center.