As a very experienced gardener, I have been growing plants from seed for decades, including many challenging and exotic species. I have purchased seeds from Chiltern Seeds on many occasions and while I have grown many beautiful plants from seed provided by this company, there have been a sufficient number of failures for somebody with my wide growing experience, to be a cause for concern. For example, cactus seed gathered from my own plants and stored for 9-12 months has germinated within a week with a 90% germination rate, while several packs of cactus seed from Chiltern have produced perhaps four or five seedlings and only after several months. Another example is a trial I conducted recently with mixed sundew seeds, one batch bought from Chiltern and another from a private vendor on eBay; while the eBay seeds have produced perhaps 30 or 40 seedlings, the Chiltern seeds have resulted in only 4 plants, and these are by no means the only failures with Chiltern seeds (others such as Jatropha podagrica have entirely failed to germinate, instead rotting in the compost). I can only speculate as to the reasons for these failures, but I wonder if Chiltern has an issue with offering seeds for sale that have been stored for too long, which may account for the unacceptably low viability of some otherwise relatively easily grown species?
paulobessa Porto, Portugal (Zone 9a) (6 reviews) December 5, 2014
Mostly positive. Always got my seeds and most of them germinated. They also have quite rare stuff and usually good quality seeds. Haven't tried communication with them.
I've ordered from Chiltern for more years than any other vendor, and I am still giddy with schoolboy joy every year when one appears in my mailbox, despite generally having already religiously watched their website for the new version and ordered already from their THOUSANDS of taxa.
They are always prompt and direct with e-mails as well as fast about shipping their orders out.
Seeds have always (always) been viable, with the exception of Bananas, which may be my (un)doing; I don't know.
Here is the place to increase the biodiversity of your garden with the extremes of all plants from... Everywhere.
Grow something new!
johneddy Cos Cob, CT (4 reviews) December 27, 2012
Fast response and shipping even though across the pond.
Extensive selection of seeds.
They give the impression that they are pleased to have my business. I will order from them again.
I recently placed a seed order, and being that I am in Hawaii, I had little hope that it would be processed. Well, I am truly impressed that they were able to send the seed order! Plus it arrived in a rather timely fashion. Marvelous! I now have vegetable varieties that I have not been able to get from any other source.
My first order was just a test to see if it could be done. I will definitely be placing another order.
psychloman Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7a) (50 reviews) May 21, 2012
Posted on July 18, 2004, updated May 21, 2012
I have dealt with this company many times over the years. This year I placed several orders with them and everything arrived quickly and as ordered. All the seed have had satisfactory to excellent germination. Great company, great catalog.On May 21st, 2012, psychloman added the following:
I placed two separate orders for the following this year:
Alonsoa meridionalis,Adonis aestivalis,Aubrieta deltoidea 'Cascade' Mixed,Agrostemma githago 'Milas',
Cerinthe major var. purpurascens,Crepis rubra,Didiscus caeruleus,Iberis umbellata Giant Hyacinth-Flowered, Florist Type, 'Iceberg',Nolana paradoxa 'Blue Bird',
Stylomecon heterophyllum 'Copper Queen',Malope trifida 'Vulcan',Emilia sonchifolia 'Scarlet Magic',
Salpiglossis sinuata 'Little Friends',Abronia wootonii,
Alonsoa warscewiczii,Ageratum houstonianum 'Blue Bouquet',Argemone mexicana, Cotula 'Yellow Marbles',Cladranthus arabicus 'Criss-Cross',
Anthemis sancti-johannis,Viscaria oculata Formula Mixed Colours and Malcolmia maritima.
Excellent germination for all except for the Adonis,Cerinthe,Argemone and Abronia. Not bad, considering the excellent performance of everything else.In fact, I ordered the cerinthe from another source and also had no germination
bristolclare Bristol, United Kingdom (1 review) April 26, 2012
This is a good company, selling low cost seed in very basic packaging. They sell many unusual varieties not obtainable elsewhere in UK. Try their 'slow bolt' coriander (cilantro) it is excellent.
Ispahan Chicago, IL (Zone 6a) (55 reviews) April 16, 2012
One of my absolute favorite seed sources. I have had incredible results with their seeds and I would never hesitate to order from them.
EastBend East Bend, NC (Zone 7a) (3 reviews) March 16, 2011
Amazing variety of seeds, very pleasing to read their well-written, witty catalog. Orders arrive promptly and are well packaged. (There is just something that tickles me about ordering seeds from England) I grew the most beautiful Valerian from some of their seeds. I think their prices are reasonable, especially for rare & unusual varieties. If you're growing something common then by all means go buy a cheap packet from your local retailer, but come here for something you won't find anywhere else. You won't be disappointed. When I got my new catalog it came with a free packet of seeds! : ) These folks are great.
Delightful company to do business with. The seeds are fresh and the emails friendly. I check every year and order seeds that are unavailable in the US. I can't complain about anything including the fact that I receive seeds faster than I do from some US companies.
uomo gent, Belgium (Zone 8b) (5 reviews) January 3, 2011
This has got to be THE or one of the best seed companies I ordered from (and I've ordered from many around the world).
ok ; they aren't the cheapest, they don't have many pictures . Their paper catalogue is just GREAT; ok it doesn't include pictures so when ordering you should know which kind of seeds you're seeking, or just read their catalogue which is a nice read (keep it in the restroom).
They really offer quality. I've ordered many times and I can always tell that my seeds will be delivered 4 working days after my initial order. So they ship extremely fast. The seeds they offer are always (well everytime for me) in stock and will be delivered in cute small white envelopes; some with special sowing instructions.
They have a HUGE selection of seeds, which is growing every year. Also their seed count is most of the time more than what's been written on their website or catalogue.
I do have to warn you; their brilliant website is addictive. And the small shipping charges aren't keeping you off from ordering.
With every kind of seed I had great results; even though many of them were supposed to be 'difficult'.
so; great selection, quality seeds and packaging, fast delivery, ok prices, very great email service, makes this company to be outstanding.
Tabacum Mantua, OH (Zone 5a) (16 reviews) February 12, 2010
2/11/10....Ordered seeds out of their 2009 catalogs sometime in December....Sent order with a postal money
order.....received a very nice letter stating I had not sent
enough money for the order....they told me what more was
needed to complete my order....I had neglected to convert
US dollars to the British money.....Received my order very
quickly after that. Very generous amounts of seeds....
They offer some unique seed sources not found anywhere
else...will order from them again....
Posted on October 26, 2009, updated October 28, 2009
Wonderful seed and super fast delivery. The variety of seed far surpasses any, and I do mean ANY, seed vendor in the US. Great germination and I plan many future orders.On October 28th, 2009, sandnsea2 added the following:
For a great read and an education, read their catalog.
botanikk sassari, Italy (Zone 9b) (14 reviews) February 15, 2009
I have ordered from them many times. Great website, quick service, awesome descriptive catalog. Germination rates have not always been up to my liking, but with certain exotics, it's hard to say whose fault it is. All and all, a great company, based on my experiences. Chiltern and JL Hudson are the first places I check if I want something. Great companies.
blazingstar7 Roscommon, Ireland (2 reviews) December 7, 2008
I have been dealing with Chiltern Seeds for quite a number of years and I have always found them to be very good and their catalogue is very imformative and in describing some seeds very witty,I highly recommend them to anyone who enjoys a good catalogue.
Menk Darling Downs, Australia (9 reviews) August 10, 2008
One of my favourite seed companies. They have many rare and unusual plants on offer and are always helpful and fast to ship. Sadly, I've noticed that the "personal touch" has fallen away from their communication in recent times, perhaps because the company has become so popular that they no longer have the time.
I have ordered for 3 years from Chiltern seeds. They have always been helpful, accurate and prompt. The germination rates of the seeds have also been excellent. I particularly liked their miscellaneous seed collections. These are very good value for money and I have populated large sections of my new garden with their tree and shrub, tall perennial, and short perennial mixes. There is also great fun in trying to identify the plants that sprout. I can not rate this company highly enough.
I have used Chiltern for years. I love their catalogue, full of witty, erudite little asides and explanations of the Latin names. If the seeds need special care they tell you, but they send very thorough general instructions. When I recently moved to USa, they sent comprehensive/exhaustive information about the legal side of buying seeds abroad. Ordinary plant seeds are cheaper elsewhere, but for fun or unusual plants, they're great. Lottery mixes are fun too.
johnall The Patch, Australia (1 review) March 2, 2008
Placed an order with Chiltern Seeds. Order accepted, money taken from credit card, email recieved, 'we very much regret to advise that this item did, in fact sell out....' Still waiting for the refund
balsamfir Jay, NY (Zone 4a) (5 reviews) May 24, 2007
They have terrific seeds, ordering is easy online, and the shipping is amazingly quick coming from England. Because they sell more single color selections, I've been able to get effects not achievable through American seed companys. People have asked me to add onto my orders because they love the colors. Germination rates have been excellent. I hope the new regulations don't end this.
Audrey Hadley, PA (Zone 5a) (16 reviews) January 17, 2007
I've ordered from Chiltern for several years now, and have always been impressed by the quality of their seeds, the wide selection, and the speed of service. Although I live in the U.S., my most recent order arrived within 10 days, which is better than some of the American companies do! Highly recommended.
geoffhandley Shropshire, United Kingdom (4 reviews) October 20, 2006
I have dealt with this company for a long period of time and found the products and service excellent. I don't want too much information in the catalogue, I want them to concentrate on getting the rarities and can research growing conditions myself.
They are a small outfit and i find you do get personal service. They had run out of one item last year that I wanted which they identified from an E-mail I sent to them but they sent it as soon as they got it. Delivery always first class.
I have placed 3 separate seed orders with Chiltern's this year. I was a 1st time customer who was a little nervous ordering from them but it was a wonderful experience. My seeds were dispatched quickly and received safely. I was able to use my Debit Card on-line and was only charged a small amount each time for the currency conversion fee. What a selection they have. I give this business five Gold Stars.
i was ordering seeds from chiltern for years before i came to japan five years ago. no idea how i discovered them, friends probably.
always good. always loquacious and relevant advice given when asked, and i lerv the 'lottery mixtures'.
i just wanted to say for others that i realised that this was MY kind of company when, on perusing one of their catalogues, i found i was reading an obituary for a cat - mak?
dmac085 Greensboro, NC (Zone 7a) (41 reviews) March 24, 2006
I placed my first order this year and am very pleased with the entire experience. They were very helpful with answering any questions I had. Their response time was good and all my questions were answered. I was very happy with the seed count and the variety. I recieved everything in a relatively fast turnaround considering they are in England.
I found the web site easy to use and plan to purchase again in the future. Helpful representatives, great selection and good customer service...works every time!
Marilena Chicago, IL (11 reviews) December 20, 2005
This a wonderful company in all respects. Outstanding service, choice and quality. I grow many varieties of seed each year and have always been pleased with Chiltern Seed.
folieske Olen, Belgium (1 review) February 19, 2005
Great care, very friendly, swift despatching, great quality. Pitty the catalogue has no pictures. Beside that: thumbs up!
I've ordered from Chiltern Seeds several times and have enjoyed success with most of their seeds. I would maybe think twice about ordering stratified seeds (no fault of theirs...it simply takes too long to get through customs, and maybe more skill on my part). Also, with my limited budget, I try to only order seeds I simply can't get anywhere else. Although, I have been "forced" to give away plants I've grown that would have cost me much more from nurseries here in the States. The catalogue (no pics, no "how to's") reads like a Who's Who of seeds and mine gets well-thumbed long before planting time. What an amazing selection! Definitely a company I would recommend
nevadagdn Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) (117 reviews) November 26, 2004
I placed an order through Chiltern Seed's website. The order was confirmed promptly, and shipped equally promptly. I won't be able to provide any sensible information on germination unless everything sprouts, though. I don't have much experience with growing from seed, and I tend to just pitch everything out in the garden and hope for the best.On March 14th, 2005, nevadagdn added the following:
So far I haven't had any luck with germination rates, but I chose really difficult, slow-to-germinate varieties (I realized that AFTER I'd ordered). I'm starting the "easier" varieties from my selection now, so I'll report back as the season goes on.On April 8th, 2005, nevadagdn added the following:
About 75% of the varieties I purchased have germinated so far. Considering it's my first time seriously growing from seed, I'd say that's outstanding.On December 19th, 2005, nevadagdn added the following:
I placed an order about two weeks ago. The seed packets have a decent number of seeds, and they appear to be in good condition. I also ordered the "Bargain Basement" 10-packet surprise assortment. If you like growing things from seed, I recommend you try it. In the assortment I received one variety I specifically planned to grow (but hadn't bought yet), several varieties I'd have eventually tried, and absolutely nothing I wouldn't take the effort to plant and grow on, if only to share with friends.
Amazing range of unusual seeds, reasonable prices and swift delivery :-)
cinemike CREZIERES, France (Zone 8a) (1 review) April 25, 2004
This is the only seed company that I like to use. Their range is extraordinary (over 4,000 species and cultivars); their service generally excellent. They respond well to complaints and are more reliable as to viability of seeds that most other companies.
You really can't go wrong with them!!!
eje San Francisco, CA (Zone 10a) (3 reviews) October 22, 2003
Astounding selection of seeds. Incredibly prompt shipping. I received my seeds faster than many domestic suppliers. Great website with decent search function. Amazing catalog! My only quibbles would be very few pictures of plants on website or in catalog and use of some "out of date" Linnean classifications for some Genus/Species. All in all an amazing resource for any gardener interested in raising plants from seed.
Marzydoats Knoxville, TN (Zone 7a) (1 review) February 3, 2003
WONDERFUL PEOPLE!!!! I'm a medievalist and these are the people to go to for hard to find seeds. Years ago they hunted up Skirret seeds for me, and the Secretary there even sent me a family recipe to cook them with. I love reading there catalogue and look forward to it yearly. Great service!! Great product!! They even have the wild forms of some plants listed along with the modern forms. I just simply love these people.
My favorite catalog, the one I look forward to more than Christmas, which is about when it arrives. A fantastic source and a great read, too. Surprisingly attentive customer service, considering how big their catalog is. No zone info. Northern US gardeners need to keep a reference book handy or keep in mind that "hardy perennial" in Great Britain doesn't always translate to a Midwestern or New England winter.
Eric_OH Columbus, OH (Zone 6a) (55 reviews) January 4, 2003
Very extensive selection (the best I've seen for any general-purpose seed company), good descriptions, prompt shipping, average to good germination.
Strengths include common and unusual shrub and tree seed, tropicals, annual and perennial ornamentals and exotic selections from around the world.
hillfarm Quesnel, BC (Zone 4a) (35 reviews) December 29, 2002
One of my most reliable seed sources. Shipping to Canada very fast. A few times some varieties were unavailable but were credited immediately and shipping etc. was adjusted. I highly recommend this company. Prices can be a bit high, but seed quantities are usually generous so it balances out.
nairobi London, United States (Zone 8a) (1 review) September 23, 2002
Very quick to help if you have questions; very quick to ship. Seed packets are generous, although the white packets take a bit of getting used to if you're a gardening newbie (like me) - no specific sowing or germination instructions are given on the packets [what I do is go to another website, e.g. T&M, to get the instructions!]
The catalogue is a real mine of information. Those needing pictures can always check the website, where they are starting to add pictures to the descriptions.
welshherblady Isle of Anglesey,North Wales, United Kingdom (Zone 8a) (1 review) September 17, 2002
Have ordered seeds from this company for many years.If you know the latin name of the plant you are seeking -things could not be easier! The only failure I have had was trying to grow "monkey puzzle tree" - araucaria araucana.But I have managed to grow sequoia trees.The book makes winter evenings a pleasure planning what to grow (or trying to)the coming year.
I have been buying seeds from Chiltern for a few years now, and other than the lack of info on the packages already mentioned, I have had good luck. Germination rates are in line with other seed sources. The only suggestion for them would be (on the more obscure plants - I am thinking of Polylepis australis as this year's example) to provide USDA zone ranges. They are very pleasant to speak with on the phone, deliveries are prompt, and shipping is free for orders in excess of L 35 on international orders.On August 10th, 2002, canoehead added the following:
Shipping is free for orders over L 30 to Canada and the US.