The Greenhouse

Ferry-Morse Home Gardening Blog & Growing Resource Center

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How to Read a Seed Packet

Seed packets on the surface are very self-explanatory. When you pick up a packet, you'll be able to identify the plant immediately! When you flip it over and do some more scanning, you'll be able to learn all kinds of valuable information about planting instructions, care tips, growing time and more. Ferry-Morse seed packets contain all the information you need grow your plants, from sowing to harvesting. Hang on to your seed packets even after they're sown so you can quickly refer back for growing and harvesting information throughout the season.This is the information you'll find on your Ferry-Morse seed packets and how to use it.


1. Sunlight Needed

This icon indicates how much sun your seeds require once grown. Full-sun plants need at least 6 hours of direct sun daily. Part-sun plants thrive with between 3 to 6 hours of direct sun per day. Part-shade plants will need between 3 to 6 hours of sun per day but need protection from intense mid-day sun.

2. Plant Name

Most plant names will have two lines, the variety and sub-variety. For example, a Sunflower packet will say Sunflower on the first line, but depending on the specific breed or cultivar, the second line will specify what kind of Sunflower it is; Mammoth, Autumn Glory, Skyscraper, etc.

3. Fill Weight/Seed Count

Most Ferry-Morse seed packets are filled by weight to be the most accurate and consistent. Sow Easy coated seeds, however, have listed seed counts because each one has a distinguishable, natural seed coating.

4. Key Features

Ferry-Morse seeds have special call-outs on the front of the packet to let you know a couple of the plant's key features and benefits! For example, these Bachelor Buttons make great, long-lasting arrangements.

5. Plant Type

This is where you'll quickly be able to find out what kind of plant you're picking- vegetables or herbs, and for flowers, annuals or perennials.


1. Package & Sell By Date

To guarantee the best freshness, Ferry-Morse only sells seeds that have been cultivated specifically for the current growing season. Fresher seeds mean better germination rates!

2. Planting Instructions

This section is key. It will outline when, where and how to sow the seeds in a quick 2-3 sentences.

3. Description

Here's a quick, detailed description to tell you more about the plant's appearance and what kind of benefits and features you can expect from it.

4. Calendar & Map

Locate yourself on the map and use the color guide to determine the best time to sow for your specific location and specific plant variety.Note: See multiple planting times for your given growing zone? That's because some plant varieties can be planted at multiple times of year. For instance, Broccoli can be sown in the Fall and it will come up in the following Spring or you can sow it in the Spring and it will come up in the forthcoming Fall. This is also common among bulb flowers and some perennials.

5. Specifications

This is where you'll find key planting and growing information including days to germination, plant height, and sun requirements all in one place.

1. Organic

100% certified Organic seeds are harvested from plants grown without synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides. They harbor no residues from these chemicals. Organically grown seed produces hearty, robust plants already adapted to Organic growing conditions. Look for the USDA Organic icon to determine which seeds have been certified.

2. Days to Bloom

This means the number of days it will take for the plant to produce a harvest.