Dollar stores such as Dollar Tree and Dollar General can be good for picking up staples such as toiletries, greeting cards, or snacks.
One surprising thing about these deep discounters is that they can also be great places to buy inexpensive gardening supplies such as gloves, spades, seed starting trays, fairy garden accessories, planters, and more.
You’ve probably spotted the large, bright cardboard rack full of gardening seeds at your local dollar store and wondered if they are any good. I’ve been gardening for years and have used dollar store seeds a number of times, and they’ve germinated and grown as well for me as other pricier seed packets from nurseries or hardware stores.
Most recently at one of my local dollar stores, I picked up several seed packets that included yellow beans, green onions, zinnias, sunflowers, and snapdragons. I planted them in a seed starter I picked up at Dollar General, placed the seed starter in my kitchen window, watered it, and watched and waited. I’ve gathered some information about dollar store seeds and detailed how each seed variety grew below.
Who Makes American Seed Packets Sold at Dollar Stores?
Before I get into the seeds themselves, it’s important to know who produces and packages the seeds sold at most dollar stores. Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar sell seed packets under the American Seed brand name. You can also find American Seed packets at Walmart, Walgreens, and other retailers. American Seed is produced by Green Garden Products, which is part of Central Garden & Pet, which produces well-known brands such as Ferry-Morse seeds, Kaytee pet products, Corry’s slug and snail control, Daconil Fungicide for plants, and more. American Seed states on their envelopes that “our seeds are always 100% non-GMO.”
How Much Do Dollar Store Seeds Cost?
Most American Seed packets at dollar stores cost 25 cents each, or four packets for $1. A few seed envelopes might cost 50 cents each, and some larger boxes of flower seeds packaged in bulk might cost $1 or $2. For the most part, though, seeds at Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Family Dollar cost 25 cents per pack.
Are Dollar Store Seeds Any Good?
This isn’t the first time I’ve planted seeds from dollar stores. I’ve also grown veggies such as radishes, lettuce, spinach, and flowers such as bachelor’s button and nasturtiums from American Seed packets in the past. In my experience, dollar store seeds grow as well as any other seeds I’ve bought from pricier name brands. If I need seeds, I don’t hesitate to pick them up at places like Dollar Tree or Dollar General. People on gardening forums and blogs generally say positive things about dollar store seeds, too.
As mentioned above, this spring I planted five different types of American Seed packets in an indoor seed starter and watched to see how they did.
Yellow Bush Garden Beans — Bush beans or green beans are among the easiest plants to grow from seed. They sprout quickly and get leafy fast. They’re also prolific producers of long, tender bean pods. These beans by American Seed are yellow versions of familiar green beans. They grew like I expected them to: fast and easily. Generally, these do best when planted directly in the garden or in containers outdoors after the danger of frost has passed, but they readily sprouted in my kitchen window and will soon go to their summer home in my backyard.
Onions — These are seeds for growing green onions, which are popular when sliced and sprinkled atop soups, salads, loaded baked potatoes, Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes, and more. You can easily regrow green onions you’ve purchased from the grocery store by simply burying the roots an inch or so in some soil, but for a quarter, you can also buy green onion seeds at the dollar store. These onion seeds didn’t grow as well in my seed starter, with fewer than half of the seeds sprouting, but the package recommends sowing these seeds directly outdoors after the danger of spring frost has passed. I still have a lot of these onion seeds, so I’ll try sowing them outside and see if they perform better.
Zinnias — These are some of my favorite flowers in the garden because they’re easy to grow, can get to be quite tall, and bloom prolifically. You can buy zinnia plants or seedlings at most nurseries or garden centers, but it’s easy to grow these beautiful flowers from seeds. It’s best to sow zinnia seeds directly in the garden or wherever you plan to grow them during the summer, but they’ll sprout indoors, too. These American Seed zinnia seeds from the dollar store sprouted easily in my seed starter and will need to go outside into the garden soon.
Sunflowers — Sunflowers are always a showstopper and eyecatcher in the garden. I like growing them against my 6-foot privacy fence in the backyard and getting compliments from neighbors who spot the big blooms peeking over the fence. Sunflower seeds can be sowed directly in the garden after the last danger of spring frost, but they also grow easily and quickly indoors if you want to get a head start (and if you want to protect them from squirrels who like to dig in the garden). These were some of my more successful and bigger seedlings in my seed starter, although some of them took a beating when I set the seed starter outside for some fresh air and sunlight on a nice day and squirrels got into it.
Snapdragons — My kids like snapdragons because of their unique blooms. These are best sown indoors a few weeks before the last frost if you want early blooms, but the packet says they can also be planted directly outdoors after all danger of frost is past. These are slow growers, but most of them did eventually sprout in my seed starter.
What Are the Downsides of Dollar Store Seeds?
There are potentially a few downsides to dollar store seeds.
- Seed packets may not contain as many seeds compared to name brands. I’ve noticed this especially with larger seeds such as sunflowers or green beans. One reason why seed packets at dollar stores are priced so low is because you’re not getting as much in terms of quantity. If you only need a small amount of seeds or if you have a small garden, that might not matter to you, but it’s something to be aware of. It’s possible you might find a better deal at other stores if you need seeds in bulk.
- There is less variety in seed choices. Dollar stores sell a pretty good variety of seeds, especially if you’re just looking for basic veggies and common flowers and herbs. However, if you want to grow specific varieties or are looking for heirloom seeds or native flower seeds, you are unlikely to find them at a dollar store.
All of the major dollar stores — Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Family Dollar — sell seed packets under the American Seed brand. This brand is also sold at Walmart, Walgreens, and other retailers. American Seed produces a variety of nationally known brands such as Ferry-Morse seeds, Kaytee pet products, Corry’s slug and snail control, Daconil Fungicide for plants, and more. Seed packets typically cost 25 cents each at dollar stores, and in my experience they germinate and grow as well as pricier seed brands. The only potential negatives are that dollar store seed packets don’t contain as many seeds, and you are somewhat limited in what varieties of seeds you can grow. Otherwise, if you’re wanting to do some gardening on the cheap, dollar store seeds are a great option.