I enjoy growing trees and shrubs from seed and came across this company when trying to grow some plants listed in edible landscaping species lists. They have some very rare seeds. I like how their website gives germination rates for their seeds and lists when and where they got their seeds. I ordered 18 different seeds from them and have had great success. Within weeks of cold stratifying the seeds, I had all of the American chestnut germinate. That first spring, the majority of the seeds species I purchased germinated, even things they said had a very low rate of germination, sprouted. There are a few things that have taken two years to sprout, like the black hawthorn I bought. Last month everyone of the seeds suddenly took off growing. The black viburum, sassafras, and swamp rose have yet to germinate, but I don't blame the company. I have some seeds that a couple will germinate almost each month, for the past two years, like the scotch rose and dwarf almond. Even when I go collecting my own seeds I can have mixed success germinating them depending on the year. I think the germination quality of this company is quite acceptable. I find their selection of seed species wonderful, and I highly recommend this company if you want to grow trees and shrubs from seed. I initially order from them because I wanted yellowhorn seeds. Every single yellowhorn sprouted. I call that a great success.
They did not follow my shipping instructions, altough they confirmed that they will follow it. This caused delay in delivery what caused damange of the sent seeds. Can not recommend this company if you are outside of the USA.
IlhadoPico Sao Roque do Pico, Portugal (Zone 11) (4 reviews) December 28, 2014
I bought seeds from them before, so I wanted to place another order, this time from overseas, but was shocked by their shipping charges:
Priority Mail $49+
First Class International $13+
I used to send light envelopes with documents to overseas from USA and it would cost me $2.50 to $4 maximum. I could pay them $1-$2 extra for handling etc. but not $10 extra. That's as they noted untracked uninsured First Class (cheapest way).
This is not a complaint, but a note, unfortunately I can't justify paying extra $10 for nothing to receive a very light (a few grans) envelope with a handful of very light tiny microscopic seeds. Unfortunately I can't give them anymore business unless its something I can't get elsewhere and everyone seems to have these seeds anyway, so I will just order elsewhere.
As the last note, the seeds I bought from them before, none have germinated, but this could have been my fault as I may not have done the germination procedure 100% correctly.
I have ordered 4 packs of seeds on the 25th of November and had them shipped to the Czech Republic. What was ordered was also delivered. It took 2 weeks for the delivery to come, which I find very reasonable. Cannot comment on the quality of the seeds as yet.
I have been ordering seeds from this company every winter for that last 3-4 years and recently purchased a number of tree seeds from them including quercus and pinus. I have always been pleased with the quality of their product and have had very good results. It is sometimes hard to reach them live if you have a question but they have always returned my phone messages promptly.
brandon7 Knoxville, TN (Zone 7a) (1 review) September 19, 2006
Sheffield's filled my order quickly and accurately. The order was carefully packed, clearly labeled, and well documented. The seed germinated at a rate as good or better than listed. Great experience! Will do it again soon.
I emailed to get a shipping quote, rec'd reply very quickly, placed the order that afternoon and had the seeds within two days. Seeds will take up to two years to germinate on some, so can't speak to viabillity yet, but am very happy with the speed my order was shipped. The website is also a good source of info.
escambiaguy Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) (5 reviews) December 23, 2005
I ordered some white oak seeds and when I opened the package I noticed some type of larvae that looked like maggots. The seeds were already starting to germinate so I went ahead and planted them in containers. I destoyed all the larvae I found. They do need to watch better for things like this, but the seeds are growing just fine.
I placed an order for sassafras seeds and received them quickly. For a pack of seeds, the price was a bit more than I would normally pay. However, a good number of seeds were included and if they germinate the price will be worth it as every attempt I've made to grow sassafras has failed (too difficult to transplant). The web-site was very nice and the seed pack had great detailed instructions on germination. I would order from them again.
I have delalt with Sheffield Seed Company since 1986 !!!!!! Rick and Company have always been top shelf. He and his staff are very knowledgeable about seeds and the like. I have collected seed and sown it and bought the same same seed also from him and sown it ( various species) and had a few instances where the seed never came up. Only a few. My thoughts are that it was something that I was doing incorrectly ( i.e. poor drainage, lack of natural microbes, lack of a natural scarrifier etc.. The vagarities of seed propagation are enormous.See Norman Deno's work on this . Just this past year , I was given the knowlegge of how to germinate Stewartia malecodendron successfully. Up until then , I had just sown it in conventional medium. Little did I know about the 'other' requirements). I could have complained to someone about it in the past. But the point is that the problem was with in the way I was handling the seed not the purveyor ( it was a friend).
They have always shipped it as they said it would come. As for the handling fees, they are fair considering the cost of labor these days and the time it takes to put these orders together ( I know because I have done it too). They have been more than fair with me over the years. A great place to shop and a great place to find neat things. Rick you and your crew have my vote anyday. 19 years and counting !!!!
JillNEPA Shickshinny, PA (Zone 5a) (5 reviews) April 20, 2004
I ordered a packet decaisnea fargesii, (blue bean shrub) from them on April 15th, they arrived on April 19th. The seed cost 8.95 and the shipping and handling was 7.71. The seed count at the site said 13 seeds but they sent 20 in the packet. So, I would have to say their shipping is
a bit high but they are very prompt at sending out orders.
As far as germination, I can't say just yet. However, from what people have told me the seeds are tricky to get going, so if nothing grows, I certainly won't fault Sheffields Seeds. It will most likely be the fault of my inexperience and brown thumb.On April 20th, 2004, JillNEPA added the following:
P.S. I haven't yet planted all my seeds. so if anyone knows about them or has some helpful tips, I would appreciate very much if you would click on my name and send along an email. Thank you
ON January 9, 2002 I ordered seeds from this company. 1 lb. of Ulmus pumila, 1/2 lb. of Ulmus Parvifolia and 2 grams of populus tremuloides, quaking aspen.
Within 2 months, I knew the populus seeds would not grow at all, I emailed them and they refunded me for those seeds.
About 4 months later, after going thru the process of stratification, I figured that the other seeds, would not grow either. I had sold many of them to my customers, and I planted several flats of these seeds. None of them ever germinated. I complainted to sheffield several times, they said they were investigating, and the problem was never resolved.
I am out over $65 and I don't expect to see them again. On October 10th, 2002, fgomezclones changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
October 2002 - 6 months after I started complaining, they decided to give me credit for the seeds that did not grow.On October 10th, 2002, fgomezclones added the following:
October 2002 - 6 months after I started complaining, they decided to give me credit for the seeds that did not grow.
Sheffield Seeds will tack on what I consider excessive handling charges. I've ordered from them twice and am happy with the seeds; just a little surprised by the final bill. Their web site is a wealth of information, even for seeds they do not currently have in stock.
I've ordered several times over the last few months from Sheffield's and have been impressed by the quality and selection of seeds they have sent. They have a great web site with numerous rare (as well as common) tree seeds, and give decent instructions on scarification and stratification, saving a lot of time on research. You can order a pound of tree seeds for an incredible price - many under 10 dollars per pound - and the germination rate is great. I sowed a quarter pound of rare Chinese pine seedlings and have so many I will have to give most away. The service at Sheffields is great, and the ability to "charge my existing account" on their web site makes it unnecessary for me to send my credit card information across the net each time I order. A great place to order seeds of trees you haven't heard about anywhere else, for tinkering in the back yard nursery.