Heirloom Seeds

Are Burpee Organic Seeds Heirloom? Uncovering the Truth Behind Burpee’s Organic Seed Quality and Heritage

When it comes to growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs, it can be a great way to know exactly what you’re putting into your body. It also means you can enjoy the freshest flavors possible. But not all seeds are created equal. There is a big difference between conventional seeds and heirloom and organic seeds.

In general, heirloom varieties are open-pollinated seeds that have been passed down through generations of farmers or gardeners. They haven’t been hybridized or genetically modified, so the fruit or vegetable that develops from an heirloom seed will be the same as what grew in past generations before them. Organic seeds typically refer to those that were grown with organic fertilizers and pest control methods, which prevent harmful chemicals from entering your food supply.

Burpee is one of the most well-known companies for high quality garden supplies, including premium vegetable and herb seeds. While they offer a range of conventional seed options, Burpee is known for its wide selection of organic and heirloom varieties as well. In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits of choosing organic an Heirloom varieties like those found in the Burpee catalog and take a deeper look at some popular options so you can make an informed decision when shopping for your next batch of gardening supplies.

What are Heirloom Seeds?

Heirloom seeds are varieties of plants that have been grown for generations without hybridization or genetic engineering. These types of seeds are typically open-pollinated, meaning that their plants are pollinated by natural wind and insects instead of being cross-pollinated by humans.

Heirloom seeds have a rich history and they can be a rewarding way to grow your own plants. Let's explore what heirloom seeds are and how they are different from other types of seeds:


Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated or non-hybrid plants that are passed down from generation to generation, usually through their original source. Authentic heirloom varieties can be traced back to the time before the mass production and hybridization of plants began. Heirlooms tend to have rich, unique flavors and colors that make them sought-after by gardeners, chefs and consumers alike. Many classic favorites have been known to grow true from seed at least 50 years or longer.

Heirloom vegetables usually require more care during cultivation than hybrids. They may require staking, or need additional protection from insects and diseases due to their susceptibility. Also, heirloom varieties may not produce as heavily as hybrid varieties do because of their diverse genetics. Despite this extra care required for heirlooms, some people prefer them simply because of the taste advantages over hybrid varieties – a result of greater genetic variability in the parent lines used in breeding the original variety (as opposed to hybrids which usually carry only two parental lines). Plus there is its novelty! It's fun to grow something that your parents (or even their parents) grew in their gardens before you did.

are burpee organic seeds heirloom - sunlight, compost, mulch, tools, gloves, seedlings, transplants, spacing, thinning, storageHistory

Heirloom seeds have become increasingly sought after in recent years, with many people even choosing to create their own seed banks. But where did these traditional varieties come from?

Heirloom seeds are open pollinated and have been handed down through generations of families. This means they contain a much higher percentage of genetic diversity than modern hybrids, which are largely inbred. Open pollination occurs when the pollen from one plant fertilizes another plant of the same species, resulting in a plant with slightly different characteristics that is different from the parent plant. This variation is what gives heirloom seeds their unique characteristics, allowing them to adapt to various climates and soil conditions over the years, and explains why some heirlooms may be easier to grow than their hybrid counterparts.

Heirloom varieties are also known for their rich flavor – some varieties were specifically bred by farmers in past generations for intense flavor or large yields – and also for their uniformity: unlike hybrids, cultivated heirlooms will reliably produce offspring that share similar traits with one another and usually remain true to type.

In addition to helping sustain biodiversity, heirloom plants can offer gardeners access to unusual varieties that might not otherwise be commercially available. For those who wish to harvest and save heirloom seed themselves, some gardening knowledge will be required – especially on how best to select plants that you want to continue growing year-after-year.

What are Organic Seeds?

Organic seeds are a type of seed that has been grown without the use of any chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other synthetic agents. This type of seed is often easier to grow and maintain than conventional seeds, and may be healthier and more nutritious for you. Organic seeds are also often referred to as heirloom seeds, as they have been passed down for generations and maintain their original traits over time.

Therefore, in this article, we will explore the different types of organic seeds and what makes them unique:


Organic seeds are seeds that are certified to have been grown under specific standards set forth by an organic certifying organization. Organic seeds must be grown without the use of synthetic chemical inputs (such as fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides) and in soil that has not been treated with synthetic chemical input for at least three years. Furthermore, any soil amendments must also be certified organic in order to be used in the production of organic seed. To be considered organic, a crop must also use sustainable growing practices such as:

  • rotating promising crops,
  • controlling weeds naturally,
  • maintaining crop diversity and
  • promoting a healthy prevalence of beneficial insects and other organisms.

Additionally, all handling and processing of organic seed must occur according to guidelines from the National Organic Program (NOP).

Organic seeds are becoming increasingly popular among home gardeners and farmers. The production of organic crops has several benefits including:

  • increased nutrition/taste level in crops produced from organic seed,
  • improved sustainability due to reduced need for chemical inputs over time, and
  • enhanced biodiversity from refraining from monoculture cropping practice.

The absence of synthetic inputs throughout both growing the crop as well as processing it for sale can often be significantly healthier for both humans (both eating or handling the crop) as well as wildlife around where it is being grown or processed into food.


Organic seeds are produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fungicides and typically have not been treated with genetically modified (GMO) organisms. In addition to providing superior taste and nutrient content, organic seeds offer a bevy of benefits including increased yield, improved soil fertility and resilience to climate change.

Organic seeds are free of harmful chemicals meaning that they are safer for consumption than non-organic varieties. Many organic crops also possess higher levels of antioxidant compounds as well as essential nutrients such as zinc, iron and magnesium which can be essential for a balanced diet. As well as providing nutritional benefits, choosing organic seeds can help support sustainable agricultural practices by reducing water waste and soil contamination from synthetic chemicals used in commercial farming.

Furthermore, the growing of organic crops from organic seed can dramatically reduce the need for harmful chemical inputs during cultivation. This will not only lead to cleaner air and waterways but can also improve yields depending on the crop variety due to reduced pest pressure caused by natural insect repellents such as neem oil or beneficial bacterial/fungal colonies in soil which help return beneficial nutrients back into the soil. Finally, organic seed is guaranteed not to contain any Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) making them incredibly attractive for environmentally conscious consumers or producers looking to produce healthier food options while supporting sustainable agriculture.

Are Burpee Seeds Heirloom and Organic?

Burpee is known for selling high-quality seeds for gardening, especially heirloom seeds, which are traditionally-bred, open-pollinated plants that produce the same type of seed from generation to generation. But are their seeds heirloom and organic? Let's dive into the details and find out.

Organic Certification

Organic certification is the process by which an authorized third party verifies that a farm is complying with the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) standards. It is intended to provide assurance that a product labeled as organic has been grown and processed according to specific standards. Organic certification applies to food products, including seeds.

All of Burpee’s heirloom and organic seeds have been both Certified Organic by an independent third-party certifier and also conform to the strictest definition of heirloom seed as defined by Seed Savers Exchange. All of our heirlooms are open-pollinated, meaning they will produce true-to-type offspring year after year* – utterly unlike F1 hybrids! To make sure our seeds fit this definition, each variety has gone through rigorous testing for purity and authenticity.

In addition to providing assurance that your newly purchased seed is true-to-type, Certified Organic products can offer protection for the health and safety of farmers, workers, animals & onsite habitats, not to mention customers & consumers purchasing certified products! We are proud that Burpee organic seeds meet or exceed all USDA National Organic Program standards.

Heirloom Varieties

Burpee’s heirloom varieties are not certified organic, but the company does not use any synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or chemicals on them. Burpee is committed to sustainable agriculture and does not use genetically modified organisms in its products.

Heirloom varieties are open-pollinated seeds that have been passed down for generations and offer an exciting array of shapes, sizes and colors. Burpee sells many varieties of heirloom seeds for a variety of plants including tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, squash, peppers, lettuce and more.

These traditional traits represent populations far more diverse than those typically found in modern hybrids – they might be smaller or larger; they could produce bigger yields or be grown in a shorter season; some may have better flavor while others may have better disease resistance or superior nutritional content.

Burpee sources the best-known heirloom varieties from around the world – preserving the rare traits that distinguish them as valuable assets to any garden enthusiast. Customers can be assured that every heirloom seed purchased from Burpee is true to type and follows the same rigorous standards that gardeners have come to know and trust since 1876.


The answer is yes, Burpee does sell heirloom seeds. All of their organic vegetable and flower seeds are certified heirloom and untreated, making them ideal for gardeners passionate about preserving the environment. Heirlooms are varieties that have been passed down for generations, so the preservation of these varieties is particularly important for food security, agricultural diversity, and saving rare species.

By purchasing organic heirloom seeds from Burpee you support the health of both people and planet throughout all stages of production. You also get access to a variety of unique and rare vegetable types, flowers and plants that you might not find sold by other cultivators or suppliers as they often can't guarantee the same quality. Finally, the satisfaction of planting something that was passed down through generations is unmatched by anything else that modern agriculture has to offer!

Heirloom Seeds