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The History of the Seed Packet

Suttons Seeds - Vegetable Seed Order Room at Reading in the 1800s

Suttons Seeds started up in 1806 dealing mainly in agricultural seeds and flour sold in bulk to large estates. By 1852 Suttons were however selling seed in individual packets, filled and labelled by hand.

In the early days the seed packet labels gave very basic details, mainly for identification, however they soon started to include drawings followed by, in some cases, beautiful illustrations by artists. In the 1960s these were replaced by colour photographs.

In 1965, Suttons once again led the way by launching the “Harvest Fresh” range of seed. What made this range extra special was that the seeds were packed in aluminium foil from which the air had been extracted.

The first company to offer foil packets to amateur gardeners Suttons was granted a special licence by the Ministry of Agriculture guaranteeing seed viability for 3 years in unopened foil packets.

Please see below examples of how the packets have changed over the years:


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One thought on “The History of the Seed Packet”

  1. D.P.Sutton says:

    We are delighted with the news of the MBO. Please pass our best wishes to all concerned . We the Sutton family have had a connection with Suttons Seeds. since 1937 when we moved from Brentford to Slough Sutton Avenue ,all purely coincidental. Our garden backed on to the trial grounds run by a Major Balfore. with strong Scots connections with the Elder family and ( My Mother).
    Perhaps we are one of your oldest customers having used Suttons products continuously, hence our delight that Suttons can continue as an independent company.
    David Sutton.

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