How long are seeds good for?

ania_caJune 4, 2009

I went a little seed buying crazy on ebay and have a lot of various seeds. Some packages have 1000 or 2000 seeds in them. How long do they stay good for after harvesting? I know some will stay good longer than others, but is there a general rule?

Thought you guys may ask so here is what I bought....

Tiny Tim Tomato


Microgreens Spicy Mix

Summer Savory herb seeds

Tendergreen Mustard Spinach cross

Sweet Italian Basil seeds

Red Velvet Okra

Triple Curled Parsley

Early Wonder Beets

Waltham Butternut squash


Green Zebra Tomato seeds

Great White Beef Steak heirloom Tomato seeds.

9 varieties of lettuce.

Hailstone Radish seeds.

Lucullus Swiss Chard

Cylindra beets 500 seeds per package.

Bloomsdale Spinach


Early White Bush Scallop Patty Pan squash seeds

Black Zucchini summer squash


Gold Crop Snap Beans

Southern Giant Mustard

Giant Nobel Spinach.

Daikon radish seeds

Ruby Red Swiss Chard

Italian Small Sweet Green Fryer Peppers

Garlic Chives

Round Zucchini Zucchino Seeds Di Nizza

Rossa Lunga di Firenze Italian Red Onion

Lemon Cucumber Seeds Yellow









I also have the following that I bought last year that I am planting again. So far, they have all germinated really well.

Several basils

yellow squash

clemson spineless Okra

ping tung eggplant

yellow pear tomatos

lettuce mix


Big Jim pepper

Lima beans

white icicle radish

cherry belle radish

baby bok choy

Will any of those seeds not last? Seems like I have enough to plant with for several years if they last.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have had seeds stored in my freezer for over 3 years, I pulled out a pack earlier this year and germination was so good I had to give seedlings away. My father always stores his seeds in the deep freeze, anything and everything regardless of what kind. He always has a bountiful garden each and every year.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 7:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kandm(8b coastal alabama)

Seeds can last a long time if they are properly stored. I read about a 2000 year old date palm seed found near the Dead Sea that successfully germinated. I keep mine in freezer bags with the air squished out and placed in a metal container in the refrigerator.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 11:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Karen Pease

The short answer? Between two weeks and several thousand years, depending on the species and condition they're stored in ;)

Garden seeds just kept in a drawer are usually good for years.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 6:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

Just looking quickly I would say the only ones apt to keep poorly are the onions, and these will still probably last for a couple of years. I think most of the others will keep for several years at least. Lettuce MIGHT be a problem, I am not sure. Just keep them somewhere dry and cool(room temperature or less).

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 5:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for the guidelines and strage tips! I will try to make use of the onion seeds in the near future. Luckily, I don't think I have that many of those compared to some of the other packs that have 1000-2000 seeds.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 12:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

if the seeds are put in the sealed container and no bugs can damage them it will last for long.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 7:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If in doubt whether the seeds are good or not, I usually test the seeds by placing them on a MOIST paper towel, folding it over several times. Place in a small Ziploc plastic bag and put on top of the refrigerator. This method is explained on page 41 of Garden Way's JOY OF GARDENING by Dick Raymond. On July 4th I placed two seeds of GAYLIA MELON 409 which I obtained from Thompson and Morgan on 07-15-1989. That is correct almost 20 years ago.
One of the seeds germinated on 07-10-09 and I planted it in a 2 3/4" plastic pot filled with moistened germinating mix. The seeds were kept at room temperature all these years in the original inner foil packet and outer paper packet. My reason for wanting to replant this variety was that it is the standard seed from which I can obtain seeds to save. Galia melon is now available as a hybrid although some seed providers have the OP available. I tried this method with 10 Melon Ogen seeds with 100% germination. I just checked the invoice, and it is listed as Melon Gaylia F1 Hyb even though Standard Seed is listed on the right hand margin on the back of the packet. Will have to rethink about saving the seed if indeed it was a hybrid.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 5:36PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Question about growing from seed in small greenhouse
Hi everyone, I bought a small greenhouse from Ocean...
Trouble growing beets
Does anyone know why my beet seedlings will germinate...
Problem diagnosis - Please Help!!
I am having an issue where my seedling's leaves are...
Andy Keels
Germination time for Lily of the Valley started indoors
As a newbie, this is my first year starting plants...
How do my seedlings look to you?
Hi everyone, I have been a member for awhile and have...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™