Burpee is a well-established company. Founded in 1888 as a seed company, it now offers plants and equipment to the home gardener as well. Its varieties include everything from old favorites to new hybrids.
Vegetables are a big part of the Burpee catalog. Both hobbyists and serious gardeners turn to Burpee for the varieties they love. These varieties can be new to the company's selection or more than 100 years old. Either way, the company provides excellent seed stock that is guaranteed to grow.
Burpee's vegetable selection includes species that grow underground as well as above. Potatoes, onions, garlic and other root crops are sold as immature "seed" versions. These will yield crops of edible sizes within a few months. Above-ground plants like tomatoes are sold as seeds. The time to maturity is about the same, but seeds need to sprout before growing and are dry beforehand. This makes it easier to store seeds than it is to keep immature tubers.
Flowers are Burpee's other big specialty. The company sells hundreds of varieties of both annual and perennial flowers. Some of their varieties are exclusives--only available through Burpee. Other types are favorites that are sold by many companies. For these varieties, Burpee's attention to quality makes the company stand out above their competitors.
Within the last few decades, Burpee has expanded from its traditional seed business. Part of this expansion is the addition of live plants to their line. Varieties that are offered as live plants are sent to customers in well-packaged pots or packs. All the gardener has to do with these is plant them. This eliminates the need to get seeds started and can also cut the time it takes for the plant to mature. Loyal customers like this offering because it allows them to have Burpee quality even without proper seed-starting conditions.
Another product line that has been greatly expanded at Burpee is organic vegetable seeds. These seeds are produced without the use of any unnatural chemicals. Those concerned about what's in the food they eat will appreciate the opportunity to complete their organic gardening goal by starting with seeds that haven't been exposed to any dubious substances.
Burpee doesn't just sell plants and then leave customers to search for the equipment needed to grow them. The company offers a huge variety of items for starting seeds and growing plants. These items range from heat mats for seed trays all the way up to complete outdoor raised bed systems. Gardening is much easier with the right equipment, and Burpee does its best to provide everything that will be needed.
The modern Burpee company is much bigger than the poultry and livestock mail order company started by its founder, W. Atlee Burpee. Both poultry and livestock are gone from its offerings, replaced by the seeds and plants it is famous for. Mr. Burpee traveled over 30,000 miles each year to find new plant varieties. By the time he died in 1915, his company was mailing more than 1 million catalogs per year.