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Buyer Beware: Online Seed Scams

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  • Tip Bones

Have you ever ventured into the weird world of fake seeds? Look online and you'll find an array of ridiculous promises of rainbow tomatoes, blue strawberries, and purple watermelons. Any newbie gardener could get sucked in by the idea of a yard full of multicolored fruits and veggies, featuring the rarest and most beautiful of plants. But alas, these are nothing more than hollow dreams.

Seed scams are surprisingly common, but you can protect yourself with a little research and vigilance. You too can have a beautiful garden with rare plants, but you won't be growing purple watermelons. How can you tell what's real and what's not, especially when so many fakes look really convincing?

The first step is to always buy from reputable growers. Stay away from discount sites and anyone without affiliation to a known brand. You might pay a little more for Burpee brand seeds, but you'll know that they're real, and have recourse to the company if your seeds don't germinate. When in doubt, buy directly from their site, instead of on Amazon and Ebay: this will ensure you avoid sellers claiming to be a legitimate company when they're not.

Always check for the specific type of plant you plan to buy, as well. A picture of a tomato tree sporting six different fruit colors might look legitimate, but no such variety actually exists. Some odd color strains of popular fruits DO exist-- I grow black cherry tomatoes, for example-- but you should be able to find information from reputable sources that AREN'T trying to sell you seeds if the plant is real.

Grow your best garden, but be careful where you buy seeds!

Photo: Pxhere