There’s a new way to sell seeds and plants, and it doesn’t involve a trip to the local nursery or garden center. Now, gardeners and plant enthusiasts can sell their seeds and plants on Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade and vintage items.
Etsy offers a variety of features that make it the perfect platform for seed and plant sales, including: a global reach, a built-in audience of buyers, and easy-to-use tools for listing and managing products.
In this post we will look at everything you need to know to start your own side hustle selling seeds on Etsy including:
- The best seeds to sell on Etsy
- How to start your Etsy store
- Rules and regulations you need to know
This post contains affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure for more information
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How To Make Money Selling Seeds On Etsy
I’ve spoken before about selling plants on Etsy but selling seeds is even easier. First of all, there is a huge market on Etsy for seeds of all kinds plus it is much easier to ship seeds than bulky and delicate plants.
Last year, there were over 39 million active users on Etsy, according to recent stats, which makes it a great place to start your own online business.
Is it legal to sell seeds on Etsy?
It is perfectly legal to sell seeds on Etsy but you need to bear in mind a few things. First of all, there are certain kinds of seeds that are prohibited on Etsy itself.
Secondly, the import and export of seeds may be restricted and/or a phytosanitary certificate may be required.
You might also need a licence to sell seeds depending on where you live.
Lastly, you need to make sure that the seeds you want to sell are not protected or patented.
Prohibited Seeds On Etsy
There is a complete list of all banned plants that you can access here. In general, the following seeds are completely banned from Etsy:
Controlled substances, hallucinogenic and plants that act as drugs are not allowed on Etsy.
Hazardous Plant Materials
This included toxic, dangerous or poisonous plants such as deadly nightshade or pong pong seeds
Shipping Seeds Legally
According to Etsy: “Both buyers and sellers must follow any applicable laws or delivery restrictions around plants, plant materials and seeds.”.
Seed shipments are heavily regulated both internationally and even cross state lines. Before you start shipping seeds across international borders, make sure to consult your local laws to see what is and what isn’t allowed.
Here are some links to help you:
USDA – (US Department of Agriculture) for shipping plants and seeds within and to the USA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture enforces the Federal Seed Act.
The FSA regulates the interstate shipment of agricultural and vegetable seeds. The FSA requires that seed shipped in interstate commerce be labeled with information that allows seed buyers to make informed choices.
All packages of seeds sold on Etsy must prominently display the following information on the outside of the package:
- Name and address of the seller or shop
- Name and address of the recipient
- The country of origin of the seeds
- The contents of the package
Do You Need A License To Sell Seeds On Etsy?
This will depend on where you live. You may need to obtain both a small business licence and a phytosanitary certificate in some cases.
A phytosanitary certificate are issued to indicate that consignments of seeds meet specified import requirements. This is sometimes called an import permit.
For example, in the USA, there are lots of agricultural restrictions at a state level. You can search state by state or go to a website that sells the kind of seeds you have and see what restrictions they list.
Here are the rules in certain countries (check that they are up to date before starting your shop):
Canada -You don’t need a permit and you do not need to provide written notice to the Ministry of Natural Resources.
USA –You may need a state license to sell seeds depending on where you live in the United States.
What about The Plant Variety Protection Act?
The Plant Protection Act is a USDA enforced act that provides legal intellectual property rights protection to breeders of new varieties of plants which are sexually reproduced (by seed) or tuber-propagated.
This means that new varieties are essentially “patented” and cannot be sold by other growers.
The USDA issues a Certificate of Protection which ” certifies that the breeder has the right, during the term of the protection, to prevent others from selling the variety, offering it for sale, reproducing it, importing or exporting it, conditioning it, stocking it, or using it in producing a hybrid or different variety from it, as provided by the Act.”
The Best Seeds To Sell On Etsy
However, there is no point in selling plants that no one wants to buy.
The best way to decide what plants to sell is to find out what sells and also consider what you seeds you have too many of.
That’s why market research is really important to see the types of seeds people want to buy.
You will be able to see the overall trends when it comes to seeds plus the kinds of seeds that sell well.
You can easily do market research yourself:
Go to Etsy
Etsy itself is the best place to do market research. Spend some time searching for seeds and you will quickly see what the most popular types are.
Take a good look at the seed shops who will be your competition and see how they have things set up.
Look at the listings on the top of the search results (below the sponsored Etsy ads) and take some time to look at the shops that have the most reviews.
What kinds of seeds are they selling?
How much are their seeds listed for?
Do they have many varieties of seeds or do they specialize in one or two types?
Use An Etsy Keyword Tool
The next step is to use an Etsy keyword tool that will give you all kinds of data about the things Etsy buyers are looking for.
There are quite a few keyword tools out there, my personal favorite is Sale Samurai. You can get a free 3 day trial to check it out.
If you want to see how to use this tool to find the best selling plants on Etsy read my Sales Samurai tutorial and watch my video here.
You can perform a search on Sales Samurai that will show you the most searched for seeds on Etsy plus information such as the average price point and the keywords that you should be using in your Etsy listings.
Here is the first page of my results when I search for the keyword “seeds”:
Both your own research on Etsy and Sale Samurai should give you a complete picture for your seed business.
If you decide you would rather sell plants than seeds, I have a detailed tutorial on How To Make Money Growing Plants.
The Best Selling Seeds On Etsy
Specialty seeds, organic seeds and other kinds are all really popular on Etsy but how do you narrow it down?
To make things easy, here is a list of the current best selling seeds on Etsy according to Sale Samurai:
- Bhringraj Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Hibiscus Seeds
- Feverfew Seeds
- Arugula Seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Of course, this list changes during the course of the year and some seeds are more popular at other types of year than others.
You can choose to sell the more popular types of seed or you can look for rare seeds that have fewer buyers but also less competition.
Having a well rounded product line with different types of plants is a great way to ensure you get repeat customers to your store.
Selling Seed Products On Etsy
There are some related products that also sell well and would be a wonderful addition to your Etsy seed shop.
Photo: Flowerseedpaper on Etsy
These are really popular as wedding favors and can be offered in bundles of different amounts and shapes.
Photo: Little Karoo on Etsy
Another option is to sell seed kits that contain everything your buyer needs to get started such as soil, a pot and instructions. These make great gifts.
How To Start Selling Seeds On Etsy
Opening your own Etsy shop is quick and easy. And most importantly, it is free.
If you don’t already have an Etsy account, you will need one before you can start your Etsy shop.
Go to Etsy and click on “Create Shop”.
If you already have an Etsy buyer account, you can click on the invitation below and it will get you to the right place.
Use this special invitation from me to get 40 free listings to start you off.
Fill out the basic information about your shop and you will be almost ready to create your first listing!
If you can’t decide what to call your Etsy shop, I have a guide to picking the perfect Etsy shop name here.
You can add a logo and a shop banner for your store (I made my own one for free using Canva).
To walk you through the whole Etsy set-up, I recommend you download my free Starting An Etsy Shop Checklist PDF.
Make sure to download the Etsy app so you can manage your listings from anywhere.
How To List Seeds For Sale On Etsy
Head to your Etsy shop and click on “listings”. The “create a listing”. The whole process is easy and quick as long as you have your photos ready.
Plan to list at least 5 products before launching your shop. A shop with only one listing looks strange and is unlikely to attract buyers.
Each listing needs the following:
Your Etsy Title
You can use the Etsy title to describe exactly what your plant is and any details you can think of.
It is a good idea to fill the title space up as much as possible with keywords that potential buyers may search for.
This can really help boost your online sales as it will allow new customers to find you when they search for seeds on Etsy.
Don’t waste any space in your title, make sure to use as many characters as there are available.
Here is a great example of a great Etsy title from the Enoch Seed Company:
You can see it gives tons of information about the seeds including how many, the origin and the type.
How To Create Amazing Listing Images
The next really important part of your Etsy listing are your photos. After all, people want to know what exactly they are buying, even when it comes to seeds.
You can add up to 10 photos per listing and I recommend adding at least 5 if possible but the more the merrier.
Consider including the following photos of each plant that you list:
- Close up of the seeds
- Pictures of what the plant will look like
- Close up of the seed packet
The Etsy Description
When selling seeds on Etsy, be sure to include information about the plant’s size, shape, and blooming season.
Here is what to note in your description:
- What’s included – how many seeds per pack. Anything else that you include such as markers.
- Where and when to plant – sunlight needs, transplantation details etc.
- Care instructions – water requirements
- Time to harvest – when to expect the flowers to bloom or the fruit to be ready.
As customer satisfaction is really important for independent sellers on Etsy, giving as much information as possible in your description is really important.
If you want some tips on writing great description, you can download my free Etsy SEO Checklist.
This will help you boost your rankings on Etsy and on search engines.
How To Choose Etsy Tags For Your Seed Listings
You can use up to 13 tags for your listing, the more you use, the more chance of someone finding your particular plant in search.
If you have a hard time coming up with tags, you can use Sales Samurai to give you ideas.
Just do a search for the keyword of your item and it will come up with the commonly used tags.
How To Price Your Seeds On Etsy
The best way to find out how much you can sell your seeds for is to look at the current market prices.
This will give you an idea of what price you can fetch for your seeds. You’ll need to factor in your packaging and shipping costs.
Many Etsy shop owners offer free shipping as many customers hate separate shipping charges. You will need to decide if you want to do this and factor it in to your pricing.
To decide on a price, consider the following:
The cost of your materials
Packaging that you need to buy to ship your seeds (for example, you will need small seed envelopes that you can buy in bulk on Amazon).
Your Etsy fees
Your profit margin (ideally at least 25%)
You need to cover all your costs (materials, fees, shipping) and make a profit.
The average price of a packet of seeds on Etsy is $8 with some rare variaties fetching much more.
What Are The Etsy Fees?
An important piece of the Etsy puzzle is the fees that you will be charged for listings and sales.
Etsy has increased their fees effective from 11th April 2022 so I am giving you the most up to date prices here:
You will be charged a listing fee of $0.20 USD for each item that you list for sale on Etsy.com or Etsy’s mobile apps.
(Don’t forget to take advantage of the 40 free listings when you open your shop to save some cash).
Every time you make a sale through Etsy, you will be charged a transaction fee of 6.5% of the price you display for each listing plus the amount you charge for delivery.
Etsy will automatically deduct all fees owed from your payment account so you do not need to pay them separately.
Other Places To Sell Seeds Online
If you want to sell your seeds online then you can look beyond Etsy when it comes to promotion. You can use social media or your own site to either promote your Etsy shop or sell directly on the platform.
Offline, don’t forget about farmers markets, local gardening stores and even good old fashioned road stands.
Selling Seeds On Social Media
Etsy gives you easy ways to connect your Facebook and Twitter to your shop so you can keep your fans in the loop about new products.
You can also make transactions directly on these platforms to creatr a whole new stream of income without worrying about the Etsy fees.
Create accounts for your seed business on all of these places: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok.
Make a point of adding photos of all your listings to social media and try and build a following.
Join Facebook groups for gardening enthusiasts and try to promote your Etsy shop that way.
You can also use Pinterest to promote your business by creating pins that lead directly back to your shop.
To learn how to get started on Pinterest, you can read my in depth how to guide on how to use Pinterest for Etsy.
Selling Seeds On Your Own Website
Selling seeds on Etsy can be done in conjunction with your own website to really boost your bottom line.
Starting an e-commerice site about plants and seeds is a great way to promote your Etsy business while building your brand. It can also help you cut out the middle man by letting you sell seeds directly on your site.
In your online store, you can write articles about how to make different kinds of plants and then link to your shop so that can people can buy the seeds to grow their own.
Here is a tutorial for starting your own small business website.
More Things To Sell On Etsy
Start Your Own Etsy Printables Business – this involves no shipping at all!
Make Money Selling Stickers On Etsy – another really popular Etsy best seller
How To Start An Invitation Business On Etsy – this is one of the most popular niches on Etsy for buyers.