| by Kenneth Chase | 81 comments

How to Make Biodegradable Plant Pots – Homemade Seed Starting Pots

[Music] Spring has a habit of being a
pricey time of year thanks to all those seeds and equipment that have to be purchased. Thankfully, seed pots needn’t add to the shopping bill. It’s easy to make your own from nothing more than egg trays, toilet tubes, and newspaper. In this video we’ll show you how. Newspaper pots are easy to make, and like all of these
home-made seed starter pots they’re environmentally friendly as well
as free. All you need is an old newspaper, some scissors, and a jar, which will act as your mold. It’s important to only use newspaper for your pots. It rots down quicker than glossy magazine
paper, and is less likely to contain ink with traces of toxic heavy metals. Prepare your newspaper by cutting it into strips about an inch (3cm) taller than your jar. With your strips stacked up, you’re ready to roll. Begin making a newspaper pot by folding a flap along the length of
a strip, like this. Now unfold the flap to leave a crease. Take your jar and place it at one end of the strip so that the open end sticks out. Tightly roll the strip around the jar. Holding the paper closed, turn the jar on its end and fold the loose ends of the paper like this to create the base. Push down, and pinch along the edges to
firm them up. Now, holding the bottom flaps, pull out the jar, firm up the base, then fold it along the crease to create
the rim of your pot. And there we go – a newspaper pot! Don’t worry if the pot looks a little wobbly – once they’re filled with potting soil they
become much more stable Nestling your pots side by side within a
tray like this will help them to remain secure as the
paper becomes saturated. By using different size jars, you can create a range of different pots tailored to different seedlings. When it’s time to plant your seedlings out, simply dig a suitable sized hole
into prepared ground and plant the pot as it is. There’s no need to unpeel the newspaper – it will completely biodegrade within a
matter of weeks. Toilet paper tubes make ideal seed pots. Cut them in half for standard seedlings,
or leave whole for those seedlings such as peas, corn and tomatoes that appreciate a
longer root run. You could also use paper towels tubes
cut down to the right length. Set your tubes within trays so that
the potting soil doesn’t fall out at the bottom. As the seedlings grow, their roots will
help to hold the potting soil together. Just like our newspaper pots, positioning
the tubes side by side like this gets additional strength as the cardboard
soaks up moisture and softens. You could also group pots together with
string or rubber bands. To create a bottom to your cardboard pot, cut 4 inch-long slits into one end of the tube at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. Fold the flaps down like the end of a
cardboard box, alternating the tucks to create a strong interlocking base. You’re now ready to fill with potting soil, and sow. Cardboard tubes are slower to
rot down than newspaper. Roots will find their own way out of the
pot, but if you prefer you can peel off the cardboard before planting. This is very easy to do
when the cardboard’s wet. Using cardboard egg trays for seed sowing is
undoubtedly the easiest method of all. Simply cut off the lid, then place it
underneath the base for extra strength. Fill the compartments with potting soil,
pressing down with your fingertips to firm. Than moisten with a mister, and that’s it – you’re ready to sow! Due to their smaller size, the roots of some crops will soon
become constricted in egg trays, so use them for starting off crops that will
quickly be moved on or planted out. When sowing, be guided by the
instructions on the seed packet which will tell you how deep to set the
seeds. Sow one or two seeds per cell or pot. You can either create holes to the correct depth using a pointed tool such as a skewer, sow, then backfill, or sow the seeds before
covering with more potting soil to the right depth. Egg tray cells are very easy to separate once they’re wet. Just tear the cells apart, then rip away the base to help the roots escape into the ground. Growing your own vegetables from seed
will save you a lot of money, and making your own pots from paper and
cardboard will save even more. It’s a great way of reusing materials you’ll
almost certainly have lying around and its environmentally-friendly. If you’ve got any ideas for biodegradable pots, please share them by dropping us a comment below and if like these simple ideas, why not
subscribe to enjoy more great gardening videos. [Music]


unicorns and puppies chips and pizza

Mar 3, 2015, 6:03 pm Reply

Thanks for the great video . Im going to do this 🙂


Mar 3, 2015, 9:27 pm Reply


Nikki Greene

Mar 3, 2015, 12:55 pm Reply

The Kerig coffee pods work great also! The ones with the mesh bottoms work better.

Alberta Urban Garden Simple Organic and Sustainable

Mar 3, 2015, 3:21 am Reply

I love using the little paper pots !

The Dude

Mar 3, 2015, 9:21 am Reply

How do you prevent mold from the newspaper/cardboard when you water the seeds? Mold could potentially kill the seeds.

Caroline Graettinger

Mar 3, 2015, 1:27 pm Reply

another marvelous and useful video.  Thank you very much.   


Mar 3, 2015, 6:41 pm Reply

I'm wondering about the safety in colored newspaper.


Mar 3, 2015, 6:43 pm Reply

I have also used the bathroom Dixie Cups. Instead of throwing them in the trash, recycle them.

Cindy Cimetta

Mar 3, 2015, 12:24 am Reply

I have a tip I use egg shells to start my seeds and set them in the egg carton so as not to disrupt the roots I have had good success with the method. Just be careful to crack the egg just towards the top. The shell will decompose into the soil, you plant has an extra boost and all is well with the world. 


Mar 3, 2015, 11:18 pm Reply

Could you please make garden planner aviable for android???

Sarah Nuñez

Mar 3, 2015, 11:02 pm Reply

Thank you ! this is so inspirational and I can't wait to get started.

Tine Schmedes

Mar 3, 2015, 9:26 am Reply

Thank you indeed, beloved care taking humans !
GO ON ! We have only got ONE Earth.

krista hanson

Apr 4, 2015, 3:06 pm Reply

I made these and they all started to grow mold within one day. I had to transfer everything to other seed pots. I don't recommend this!


Apr 4, 2015, 6:40 pm Reply


Joseph a‘ Christian

May 5, 2015, 3:30 am Reply

……..Thank you, clever and simple ideas. 

As a man who very much appreciates nature, i recommend using plain non colored paper bags, rather than newspaper. I suggest this since synthetics are so commonly used these days, within numerous items.           -Joseph

Terry Lanh

May 5, 2015, 1:36 pm Reply

Thank you so much for sharing this video, It is simple thing, but grate.

Samuel duse-anthony

Oct 10, 2015, 7:40 pm Reply

what about using empty ciggarettes packs

Carolynn Bruton

Jan 1, 2016, 10:55 am Reply

Great ideas, thanks Gary!

Shirin Ali

Feb 2, 2016, 6:55 am Reply

this is as easy as 1 2 3. thanx bro

Yard Plots

Mar 3, 2016, 4:39 am Reply

what about the iodine used in newspaper ink?

Marieke Sweers

Mar 3, 2016, 10:34 am Reply

Great idea! So I don't have to by the pots. Just want to say, I used a little tin instead of a jar. About 5.6fl tin coconut milk ? the advantage of using a tin is that you can press the folded paper at the bottom against the edge of the tin. The bottom of the paper pot will be more strong and les wobble.

Simple Living

Mar 3, 2016, 5:58 am Reply

Great many ideas! Thx

Mike Miller

Apr 4, 2016, 12:20 pm Reply

i crack the tops off my eggs, poke a hole in the bottoms, and place them back in the carton. i break the shells up a bit, and plant the shells. No problems with calcium deficiencies.


Apr 4, 2016, 11:33 pm Reply

Thank you.

Michael Bahh

Apr 4, 2016, 1:52 am Reply

Smart! There is nothing to throw away, but everything is very useful.

Mary Napper

May 5, 2016, 5:27 pm Reply

Thank you ,you made it look so easy so I'm  going to try making these ….

Eric Moore

May 5, 2016, 8:21 am Reply

very, simple, very clever, very cheap, thanks for information.

Kristen Gibson

Jun 6, 2016, 6:03 am Reply

Newspaper (especially colored print) is made of toxic dyes.

Hulett Brooks

Aug 8, 2016, 1:44 am Reply

This is awesome!!! Thank you so mich for this video. I did not want to buy those expensive starter kits….thanks to you, I dont have to. Thank you again!!

Sharon S.

Aug 8, 2016, 3:12 pm Reply

Good Point Kristen

Mari D

Aug 8, 2016, 3:01 am Reply

Wonderful video! Thank you for sharing!

Person Unicorn

Oct 10, 2016, 1:48 am Reply

I loved the video! It was very helpful and I'll be sure to watch more. 🙂

Akash N

Nov 11, 2016, 9:34 pm Reply

Super Superb!! Super Superb!! Super Superb!!
Thanks for sharing!

Livia Montalvo

Nov 11, 2016, 8:57 pm Reply

I had the same idea, because I did not want to spend $ on seed starting pots. About a month ago, I started my seeds in newspaper, paper towel and toilet rolls pots. All handmade. Today as I was trying to transplant some of my plants found out that all those "paper pot" either rotted and desintegrated AND had very tiny white WORMS. I suppose they come from the paper material. Some (a lot) of the seeds have not germinated at this moment, its been longer than a month I suspect they might not. It is a fantastic idea to recycle, but seeds are pretty expensive and not worth the chance to use paper to pot them in.

Margret Hefner

Dec 12, 2016, 7:38 pm Reply

THIS is the stuff I need! Thank you!

Lee Sarah

Dec 12, 2016, 6:23 am Reply

I love this video. Thanks for your sharing.

Nikhil Khandekar

Dec 12, 2016, 5:15 pm Reply

In India, we make cups and plates from the large, dry leaves of the Sal tree (Shorea Robusta). The cups and plates are very readily available for very little. You can just as easily put soil in and let your seedlings burst out. Then you can easily bury the entire cup. You can also roll up and fold the plates to make longer / wider, biodegradable pots that can also be buried directly when the seedling is ready. These leaves are not only 100% biodegradable but also a great source of food for the young roots of your seedling!


Dec 12, 2016, 8:19 pm Reply

Excellent training video in globalization. You pay chinese for this cheap stuff.


Feb 2, 2017, 7:28 pm Reply

Mycket bra tips av tidningar, äggkartonger, olika rullar………Tack You, ska försöka härma Dig…

Why Not Oils Young Living

Feb 2, 2017, 4:50 pm Reply

I was looking into using pvc pipe cut same as the cardboard tubes as an option. not free, yet cheaper than buying cone-tainers. we have a large garden some we would not have enough cardboard tubes.


Mar 3, 2017, 6:28 am Reply

Don't you think the ink and other chemicals may be toxic and unsafe for the fruits the plant will produce and for the surrounding soil?

Charlotte Neve Grün/ Hos Villa Fryd

Mar 3, 2017, 2:59 pm Reply

Woooooooo nice diy.
Thank you and a good day

Sandhya Kala

Mar 3, 2017, 2:49 pm Reply

Thanks a lot, i wish i had gone through ur video before very simple and easy.

Barbara Dumler

Apr 4, 2017, 2:38 am Reply

Does it matter if they get moldy?

Maria Debreczeni

Apr 4, 2017, 11:50 am Reply

wanderfool thanks!!

Starla Ritter

Apr 4, 2017, 9:40 pm Reply

Thank you so much for this amazing video. We are going to use your ideas in our Middle School classrooms as we teach our students to garden. Thank you for your time and work on this. You made our job MUCH easier!!

Harvey Hewitt

Apr 4, 2017, 3:32 pm Reply

Wait, is this legal?

Ericka Eckles

May 5, 2017, 8:56 am Reply

I often pop a used teabag at the bottom of my pots, this creates a little bottom for something like a toilet roll.


Jun 6, 2017, 9:24 pm Reply

Plain printer paper might be a good option for those concerned about the ink from newspaper.

Aish Kar Beta

Sep 9, 2017, 8:07 pm Reply


Tom k

Dec 12, 2017, 10:53 pm Reply

great video, there is no drama with the loo rolls or the newspaper constricting the plant roots too much at the sides?

magic tutorials with Farhan

Dec 12, 2017, 10:50 am Reply

very nice and informative

Philly Dirk

Jan 1, 2018, 1:37 pm Reply

Great video. I've heard that colorful newspapers and glossy papers should not be used for garden pots and compost.

Serena Norrell

Jan 1, 2018, 2:25 am Reply

What about COIR? How do you make lots from it?

V Steed

Feb 2, 2018, 6:46 am Reply

thank you!


Mar 3, 2018, 11:16 pm Reply

All the solvents and other junk used to make the paper and then all the inks and then again if reused….in my soil?
Naw, I'll use dirt and trays.
Just let them dry for an extra day and they pop out no prob.
Use HDPL#2 yogurt cups ect. for trays and cake plastics make great mini greenhouses.
And never forget to properly harden off plants for at least two weeks before planting to prevent stunting.
You'll be fine and no ick from paper products.
Paper is a reduce in the 3R's just avoid and recycle when its around. Paper is dead trees!

Andrej Deljanin

Apr 4, 2018, 8:56 pm Reply

Very well

Prakash Pareta

May 5, 2018, 3:38 pm Reply

How many days we use it

Veronica Higgins

May 5, 2018, 12:32 pm Reply

I tried with the toilet tubes but they took forever to biodegrade and inhibited the plants growth


May 5, 2018, 10:17 pm Reply

Very nice. Thank you

Straight From The Heart

Jun 6, 2018, 6:52 am Reply

From my experience- Newspaper pots work really well! You don't have to be fussy about making them- just roll the paper and smash the bottom flat while it's still around the tube you used to roll it up.
I'm a little dubious of the paper towel tubes until I see the follow up video of the plants actually growing.
I've found the egg cartons to be a bad idea and they never worked out for me. The plants sprouted OK ( but the dry cardboard wicks moisture out of the soil), and the roots never penetrated the paper egg carton- so I had to clumsily scoop them out and transplant by hand.
So I'd say – either roll the newspaper, or reuse your old ( or scrounged up) pots. The plastic pots will last for years. Sometimes you can buy used ones from a nirsery- but I'd wash/bleach them before I used them at home.

Janey Ng

Aug 8, 2018, 4:06 pm Reply

can we use plain white paper cups to start seedlings n bury them in too?

ben purchase

Aug 8, 2018, 9:44 am Reply

I normally scrunch up Papercut limit the Shreds put them in a blender with water and then put them in a cupcake tray and let them sit in the sun and then plant my seeds in them


Jan 1, 2019, 12:36 pm Reply

Thank you… It is very useful idea ?

Sonia Rumzi

Jan 1, 2019, 4:20 pm Reply

Thank you so much. Very informative.

Akram Abuf

Jan 1, 2019, 4:49 pm Reply

Very helpful. Thanks

Victor Kühn

Jan 1, 2019, 8:30 pm Reply

Finally a SIMPLE way to create those potts. I dont want to do origami. Thumbs up

Joseph DuPont

Feb 2, 2019, 9:07 pm Reply

Why not turn the cardboard on edge and rolling it around so you have a lot of little cardboard tubes running into the soil and put that on the bottom of your planter

Kharisma Ananda

Mar 3, 2019, 12:08 am Reply

I tried to use paper, after few days some fungus growth on the paper pot, would it harm the plant?

luke dorrington

Mar 3, 2019, 6:20 am Reply

I really like this idea! But won’t the newspaper just fall apart when watering?

Moore Time in the Kitchen

May 5, 2019, 12:50 pm Reply

Really wish I had thought of doing this before buying plastic seed trays, will definitely be following this guide next year though. Thank you!

Lucky DeSilva

May 5, 2019, 9:11 pm Reply

Thank you sooo much.

Asha Ciotti

Jun 6, 2019, 9:20 am Reply

i use actual egg shells i take off the top put a hole in the bottom and done! when ready to put in the ground i just crack the shell!!!!!!

Jamila Ganijee Dar

Jun 6, 2019, 8:13 pm Reply

You can use the empty green shells of coconuts

A. Abraham

Jun 6, 2019, 8:25 pm Reply

Excellent video.

random human

Jun 6, 2019, 3:50 pm Reply

Thank you for the toilet paper roll idea now I have something to protect my lettuce seedlings from breaking due to heavy wind in my area sometimes


Jun 6, 2019, 2:56 pm Reply

Thanks for this teaching moment ! This is so great !

Beryl Augusta

Jul 7, 2019, 12:44 pm Reply

Sir you have a wooden pot -whats the thickness &wood used?


Jul 7, 2019, 8:52 pm Reply

Wow, that's so helpful ! Thank you so much.

Amy M

Aug 8, 2019, 6:05 am Reply

Great use for toilet paper roll tube things. Thanks!

Janaina Rogério

Aug 8, 2019, 12:51 pm Reply

Best video! Thanks a lot! ??

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