How to Buy Fruit & Vegetable Seeds That Will Last for Years


A seed's ability to continue to grow years after it has been created is a factor of genetics. The seeds of certain plants remain viable long after they have been harvested, while others lose their viability shortly after they burst from their pods. For example, most corn seed lasts only one to two years. By contrast, in 2005, scientists germinated a seed from a date palm that is over 3,000 years old. To select seeds that remain viable for years, choose seed varieties that genetically last longer.

Step 1

Consider which vegetables have seeds that naturally stay viable longer. Tomatoes have seeds that stay viable longer than any other vegetable. Radishes, cucumbers and melons are other plants that have long seed life spans.

Step 2

Read the backs of seed packets and the descriptions in seed catalogs before purchasing the seed. Note the expiration date of the seed and do not purchase seeds that have a near expiration date.

Step 3

Select seeds that are dry and have been stored under optimal conditions, such as seed that has been dried and frozen directly after being harvested.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed catalogs
  • Seed packets


  • Colorado State University Extension Service: Saving Seed
  • Plain Talk Colorado: 2020 Seed Storage
  • Oregon Website: Are those Seeds Viable?

Who Can Help

  • Science Magazine: Germination, Genetics, and Growth of an Ancient Date Seed
Keywords: seed viability, plant propagation, spring planting

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.