The RHS Seed Scheme started more than 100 years ago and is run by a small team of staff and volunteers who collect, clean and pack seed gathered from RHS gardens for members.
If you’re a member of the RHS then one of the benefits is the opportunity to buy seed from the seed scheme. Our aim is to encourage members to have a go at growing from seed, which is fun and rewarding, as well as being an economic way of filling your garden with plants.
Our seedlist, which goes online from 1 November, contains a range of plants including annuals, herbaceous perennials, trees and shrubs, many of which are choice or unusual plants that are hard to source elsewhere.
Applying for Seed
Apply for seed
Please ensure that you have your Membership Card to hand when you begin your order as you will be asked to enter your Membership Number.
As a member you can apply for up to 12 packets of seed selected from our seedlist (please note only one packet of any one number can be supplied), including the six collections on offer. Each collection contains five packets of seed drawn from a possible seven packets, according to supply. As only limited quantities of some seed are available, we strongly recommend that you also list up to five alternatives.
Please note that we are only able to send seed to addresses in the UK and EU, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
There is a charge of £8.50 to take advantage of the Seed Scheme. This is an exclusive membership benefit and we hope you’ll agree that at 70p per packet (if 12 packets are ordered), it’s very good value for money. This charge goes towards the cost of seed collection, administration and postage.
Orders can be made online anytime between 1 November 2016 and 31 March 2017.
Apply for seed
Alternatively, you can request a printed copy of our seedlist, which will be sent with an order form, by contacting our Membership Services Team:
Tel: 020 3176 5810
Email: Membership Services Team
or write to:
Membership Services Team (seeds)
The Royal Horticultural Society
80 Vincent Square
Our Germination Guide is available to download (1.4MB pdf). If you would like a printed version please send an email to Seed Department with details of your name, address and membership number.
Information about sowing seeds is also available on the RHS website, under the Advisory pages.
Ordering online – helpful hints
We recommend that you download the seedlist (4.7MB pdf) first, as this will enable you to choose your selections at leisure. Make a note of the number of your selections and use these when you order online.
Choose up to 12 items to enter as your ‘first choices’, then choose up to five items to put in your ‘alternative list’. The Seed Team will then be able to make substitutions if your first choice has run out. You may choose to order one or more of the collections but please remember that one collection has five packets of seed and will, therefore, use five of your choices.
When to expect your seed
The dispatch of orders will start in January 2017 and is usually completed by the end of April. If you have not received your seed by 1 May please contact our Membership Services Team.
Convention on Biological Diversity (Nagoya Protocol)
In accordance with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Royal Horticultural Society supplies seed from its garden collections on the conditions that:
- The plant material is used for the common good in areas of research, education, conservation and the development of horticultural institutions or gardens.
- If the recipient seeks to commercialise the genetic material, its products or resources derived from it, then written permission must be sought from the Royal Horticultural Society. Such commercialisation will be subject to the conditions of a separate agreement.
- The genetic material, its products or resources derived from it are not passed on to a third party for commercialisation without written permission from the Royal Horticultural Society.
- It is a condition of supply that any publications resulting from the use of the plant material should acknowledge the Royal Horticultural Society as the supplier. A copy of any publication, report or data gained from the material must be logged with the Royal Horticultural Society Lindley Library.
Our seed is collected from open-pollinated plants; therefore seed may not come true and may be hybridised. As a result, you may get some pleasant surprises! Please also note that some seed is donated and is offered under the names provided by the donors.
While we make every effort to highlight those seeds which we know to be toxic it should be assumed, to be on the safe side, that all seed could be potentially harmful or cause skin irritation. Therefore, as a precaution, and additionally to avoid any risk of choking, we advise that all seed should be kept out of the reach of children and pets; and should never be ingested.
We have endeavoured to exclude seeds of potentially invasive species. For further information about these please visit the Government legislation website.
Find a plant
The plants flagged with the cross symbol can be found in the Plants, Find a plant section of the RHS website, where you can find much more information such as growing information, advice and photos. Find a plant is constantly being updated so more plants may be added during the year.
Perfect for Pollinators
Those plants flagged with the bee symbol are ‘Perfect for Pollinators’. This identifies those plants that are good for attracting pollinating insects into your garden. Perfect for Pollinators is an RHS initiative. A comprehensive list of garden and wild flowers which are good for attracting bees and other insects into your garden is available on the RHS website.
Seed Collecting leaflet
As well as offering our members the opportunity to purchase RHS seeds, we also aim to share the best in gardening by providing you with all you need to know about collecting, storing and successfully germinating your seeds. Our ‘Collecting Seed from your Garden’ leaflet (800kB pdf) will tell you all you need to know about how to collect, clean and store seeds from your own garden.
We do welcome any feedback you have about the seedlist. Email us at the Seed Department
On behalf of the Seed Team, we would like to wish you happy seed sowing in 2017!
Heather Cooke, Team Leader, Members Seed Scheme and Lucie Rudnicka, Horticulturist, Members’ Seed Scheme
Germination Guide (1.4MB pdf)
How to collect seed from your garden (800kB pdf)
If you would like a printed version of these leaflets, please send an email to the seed department with details of your name, address and membership number.
Seeds: Sowing indoors