About us

About us
About us
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Founded in 1877, Starke Ayres is an expert vegetable, flower and lawn seed provider. We specialise in breeding our own seed varieties and source only the best available stock from our international suppliers. With our headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, we are the leading vegetable seed supplier in Africa and preferred international supplier of premium varieties of seed to the professional grower.

At Starke Ayres, our business focuses strongly on after-sales service, assisting farmers to successfully grow products that can be taken to market. In order to do so, we use a network of in-house sales representatives and reputable agents worldwide. Demand for our quality seed has led to the establishment of Starke Ayres in Kenya, Namibia, and Zambia.

Our commitment to quality has resulted in our Quality Assurance Laboratory being accredited by the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA). Our accredited laboratories have proven their technical competence in carrying out seed testing in accordance with the ISTA Rules and operate an effective quality management system. As a Member Laboratory, Starke Ayres is authorized to issue ISTA Orange International Certificates.


Founded in 1958, the Plennegy Group’s roots and purpose revolve around agriculture, with its core business being that of growing food and servicing those that grow food to feed and nourish the continent and beyond.

Plennegy’s established infrastructure and grouping of industry experts ensure the quality and precision of its activities, products and services.


Timeline Website

The origins of Starke Ayres lie in the latter part of the 19th century, when the old Cape firms of Chas Ayres and C. Starke & Co. were founded.

Charles Ayres, a trained nurseryman from England, established a nursery in Liesbeek Road, Rosebank in 1877. A seed and florist shop followed on the same site that continues to serve Cape Town’s home gardeners to this day. In the 1890’s Christopher Starke – through C. Starke & Co. – developed the agricultural seed side of our company’s activities, which was later to replace our grain and produce dealings.

Chas Ayres and C Starke & Co. merged in 1920 to form Starke Ayres. Not only did we continue to serve the public of Cape Town as a supplier of quality seed, trees, shrubs, pot plants, bulbs, fresh flowers and a variety of garden requisites, but we were entrusted with the floral decorations for government, diplomatic and civil receptions, the Royal Family’s visit and the 21st birthday ball in honour of Princess Elizabeth, now Queen of England.

Our proud heritage continued in 1985 when our company joined the Plennegy Group, a family-owned business which today has more than 3,500 employees serving the agricultural value chain.

We started our first green beans breeding programme in 1986 and have subsequently expanded our research and breeding programmes to include pumpkin, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes and peppers.

Our first expansion outside South Africa was in 1998 when we opened a subsidiary in Namibia. Subsequent growth was substantial, with our Kenyan and Zambian subsidiaries further expanding our African footprint.

Today, we are the largest independent vegetable seed company in South Africa with hundreds of people working across six continents – committed to growth, innovation and superior customer service.

We are proud members of