Create Newspaper Pots for Seed-Starting

Start your seeds in biodegradable pots that can go directly into the ground — no transplant shock!
By: Nan Ondra

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Newspaper Seed-Starter Pots

You can grow dozens or even hundreds of new plants to fill your yard and garden with great flavors and bright color for the cost of just a few packets of seed. And you don't even need to pay for seed trays or planting pots. Grab a few sections of newspaper out of the recycling bin, and in just a few minutes, you can turn them into perfect containers for starting seeds.

You Will Need

one sheet of newspaper (each roughly 22" x 12") for each pot you want to make / one 10- to 15-ounce can / moistened seed-starting medium / waterproof tray

Start Folding

Fold the sheet of newspaper lengthwise (with the long edges together) to create a strip. Press along the folded edge.

Create a Cylinder

Set the can on its side at one end of the strip, with the base about 2 inches up from the cut edge. Roll the newspaper around the can to create a cylinder.

Create the Base

Starting at the outer seam, fold the free end of the cylinder inward. Make three more folds inward to create the base of the pot, pressing firmly to make the folds as flat as possible.

Remove the Can and Fold Edges

Slip the pot off of the can or bottle. Starting at the outer seam, fold the top 1/2 to 1 inch of the pot inward to create a stable rim.

Add Soil

Hold the pot with one hand, with some of your fingers on the bottom to keep it closed. Fill the finished pot to the top with moistened seed-starting medium and set it in a waterproof tray. Repeat the steps to make as many "pots" as desired.

When You're Ready to Plant

Plant a seed or two in each pot, then gather all the pots onto a tray and water. When you're ready to plant the seedlings, dig a hole deep enough to bury the pot so the rim is below the soil surface; exposed newspaper could help wick water away from the plant. (If needed, tear off a bit of the rim so it doesn't stick up into the air.) In moist soil, the roots will quickly grow through the paper sides of the pot.

Next Up

Tips for Watering Lawns and Gardens

Without adequate water, plants will suffer and eventually die. Supplies can run short as rapidly growing plants draw up moisture from the soil. It's important to know what to water and how.

Garden Plants and Flowers

Learn how to discover which plants underscore and help define a specific garden design style.

How to Fertilize Your Lawn and Garden

Learn how adding fertilizer can be beneficial, especially for fruits, veggies and container plants. Fertilizers can also help kick-start growth after planting and reinvigorate plants that have been pruned hard.

How to Plant in Gardening Containers

To ensure that plants in gardening containers grow and perform as well as possible, you need to plant them properly.

When to Plant Garden Mums

Want your garden mums to survive winter? Learn tips for planting fall garden mums to help them return next spring.

14 Simple Gardening Tips and Tricks

From using leftover coffee beans to preventing dirt from getting underneath fingernails, master gardener Paul James shares his top 14 tips and shortcuts to make spring gardening a breeze.

Choosing Plants for a Sensory Garden

A specially planted sensory garden heightens the experience of all of the senses, rather than concentrating primarily on sight.

How to Plant a Cactus Container Garden

Yee-haw! Turn a container into a desert landscape by filling it with prickly cacti and other succulent plants.