Title is the question, question is close this one, however there might be more information available specifically for planting.

The price and quantity of sprouting seeds seem to, by and large, have significant differences, spouting seeds usually are packaged in large orders on a much more reasonable per unit price, compared to one seeds offered at large home improvement stores. The difference seems to be, at least for this retailer, in the farmer/suppliers process deemed to specifically distinguish sprouting from for-planting seeds.

If there is a fundamental difference are there wholesalers for plant seeds?

3 Answers 3


There is a difference, which is that typically the vegetable garden planting packet variety of seeds are selection is controlled. Plant vendors grow specific varieties of plants to be sold in food growing.

Opposed to the sprouting varieties might not be as "curated" let's say and are growing in large fields to get just the seeds. At least that is what they want us to believe.

I sprout lots of different things including radishes, sunflowers, chia, flax, etc. and on occasion have planted some of them in the garden to see what comes up. The radish mixes came up with about three varieties, and some bolted quickly. The sunflowers were just little black oil sunflowers. The flax was the same as any other flax I have ever grown.

To summarize the sprout seeds for things like radish can be a mix and you don't know what will quite come up. Seeds for planting are "guaranteed" to be what is on the outside of the packet.

Another potential difference is that sprouting radishes are less likely to have chemicals or contaminants on them; I mean, they're intended to be eaten after they sprout. There might be liability reasons not to market some radishes as sprouting radishes.


There are specific radish varieties they have for sprouting (whether or not seeds sold as sprouting radishes are always varieties specific for sprouting; from CloneZero's answer it sounds like they're not, perhaps, or at least some of them are not true to type with regard to garden radish traits). You can get garden radishes in bulk at reimerseeds.com for decent prices that seem to compare with those of sprouting radishes (some varieties have much better deals; here's one for a pound of French Breakfast radish seeds for $7.50 or 10lbs for $50), and Rambo spouting radishes from seedsnow.com. Rambo is sprouting radish variety. I've heard of at least one or two others, I believe.

For comparison, a pound of Rambo sprouting radish seeds is $10.99 at seedsnow.com. A pound of their classic sprouting radishes (variety unspecified) is the same price.

If you just want to grow lots of radishes, though, realize that a pack of 200-500 seeds that you get from say Baker Creek, will still grow a lot of radishes (about 200-500, in fact; radishes germinate pretty easily, at least in my soil, whereas some other crops may be more difficult to sprout). Also, realize that radishes can reseed if you let them.


In some cases the seller might select a cultivar that is very prolific at producing many seeds on a shorter cycle (quick to bolt) for spout seed production (as the cash crop), while this is often an undesirable trait for seed you would want to achieve a large, mature, but not yet going to seed, food crop plant.

A sprout seller can also get away with selling less pure seed because the sprouts of related plants, are often near indistinguishable from each other as sprouts so this cuts down on the cost or land space needed to isolate things that cross pollinate.

Otherwise, it's the same seed IF the seller is being honest just that when a customer is buying a packet of seeds instead of a farmer buying many lb (or tons) at a time, why give the customer too much seed so they won't come back and buy more? It is mostly marketing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.