The fake Chinese rainbow seeds fooling gardeners but paying Google & eBay

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Have you noticed the cyber invasion of fake ‘rainbow’ coloured tomato and flower seeds that are flooding the Internet? From ‘rainbow tomatoes’ to ‘rainbow roses’ and ‘rainbow chrysanthemums’, the horticultural Facebook forums are full of excited gardening newbies, tricked into buying these fake seeds off the back of obviously photo-shopped or faked images. In all likelihood the seeds delivered will either be weeds or regular tomato plants.

I find this quite irritating, not least because it may put off those new to gardening from continuing with their newfound hobby, but also because in the process it takes money away from our economy and sends it far flung bank accounts where it can be used for nefarious purposes. A quick check today reveals four seemingly legitimate websites selling such seeds, all four websites are registered to similar addresses in China. The seeds are ALL completely fake but appear on Google and on eBay with multiple websites to get around Google’s ‘one advertising account’ policy.

Chinese Con Merchants

Gardeners! What you need to do today – click to waste their cash!

These companies are actually paying Google each time somebody clicks on one of their adverts or ‘Google shopping’ listings (and yes that might make you suspicious about why Google hasn’t clamped down on them…). So here’s what I’d like you to do for the next few days:

Please conduct a Google search for ‘rainbow tomatoes’ (OR CLICK HERE) then click on each of the three companies shown in the top left corner of the Google results (those with a ridiculous photo-shopped rainbow  image – NOT Thompson & Morgan’s legitimate variety). Each time YOU click, THEY pay, and if we all click en masse regularly as a gardening community they will soon be spending a fortune selling nothing and go away – nobody wants to lose money:

Fake rainbow tomato seeds

The only real variety here is the Thompson & Morgan listing (don’t click that one, we like T&M!)

I invite all gardeners interested in stopping this scam to do this every day for the next week (it won’t help to click the same advert multiple times per day, Google don’t charge for extra clicks on the same day).

I’d also like to see ebay stop listing the products too, they are no doubt taking a commission for all these fake orders (again that might make you suspicious about why THEY haven’t clamped down either):

The fake flowers that pay eBay

The fake Chinese seeds that pay eBay


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About Author

Matt Peskett is GrowLikeGrandad (if you want to know why read 'About the Editor). He has a few 'heavy clay' allotments and is Chairman of the Dorking Allotment Holders Association (DAHA). Matt also has a medium sized 'sandy soil' hillside garden (Italian terrace designed) and enjoys photography - especially nature. Matt takes inspiration from gardens like Hidcote and Great Dixter and enjoys watching anything on TV presented by Monty Don or Louis Theroux.


    • I just bought chrysanthemum,on E Bay,from a UK seller,I have looked them up,but no one seems to say any thing other than how to plant.No one has made a comment that i have found,or a picture of them flowering,

      • terry lynn sauerhoefer on

        I am so glad I decided to look up the RAINBOW CHRYSANTHE. I was so excited to see these, but something said look for information on them; they look to good to be true. I stumbled across your post.. thank you for sharing your experience because I was about to make that purchase!

  1. I have bought some They came yesterday from Vietnam Ordered off E bay Am still going to plant them and see what happens

  2. Vikki Carmichael on

    I bought alvarieties of “hybrid rose” seeds from a company that claimed they would grow rainbow, royal blue, black, and dark velvet purple. None of the seeds they send sprouted all. I floowwd all their directions for germination and planted them. Nothing ever sprouted. It’s a total scam.

  3. Wish I had seen this before I made my purchase, an advert from Hamets on FaceBook, they took a while to arrive from China and I am only just about to plant them, I wonder what these will end up being………not happy.

    • Probably nothing I was scammed by these people too I bought 400 and three months later nothing has grown. It’s a total scam. I put comments on their Facebook page and they immediately disappear.

      • And nobody seems to want to do anything about it. The scammers are making an exceptional amount of money this year but still Amazon, Ebay and Google take their cut!

    • Same here! The Hamets website is NO longer there either so I was a total sucker last year so feel to bad. Alot of us got scammed!

    • I made the same mistake from the same website, Not one seed grew, although I tried multiple ways (grow light, outside in ground, in pots, etc.) Luckily nothing else grew instead, they were just dead seeds. So mad at myself for falling for the scam.

  4. Lesley Tozer on

    yeah I got mine from Hamets too, looked just like grains of sand and like you nothing germinated, I have now got to the point where if I see their advert on FB I put a warning out to others, not going to stop it but posting the warning everytime may just help warn others not to be taken in by them.

  5. Tadd M Keefer on

    Of course rainbow tomatoes are fake. Rainbow roses are made with food coloring and rainbow mums are genetically altered in 2004 to create rainbow colors. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet do your own research.

  6. Update to my post on 5 th may. I e mailed and got no response so I went through pay pal and opened a dispute they have now refunded me so it might be the way to go if people have paid by this method.

    • Lesley Tozer on

      Thanks Ken I never thought of that, wonder if they will still refund for me as it’s been a while now since I ordered, no harm in trying though.

      • Give it a try it only took about 3 or 4 days to get my money back I opened dispute about 2 months after I received my packet of sand.

  7. Hi Ken, yes I did put in a claim so far not had anything back, I’ve got till 4th June where I will then pursue the case further with PayPal.

      • Yes I got my refund through about a week later, there really should be something that could be done about firms like this to stop all of us from being duped.

  8. hi at the start of the epperdemic we bought 2pks of so called rainbow seeds, in the spring of 2020 we planted the seeds (a 500 pkt) , only 2 germenated we nurset them like babys, 0ne has started to flower, looking at chinese flowers i believe it is a black eyed suzy.

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