Recycled Seedling Container Ideas

Category Container
A variety of materials and food containers can be reused for starting your garden plants. This page is about recycled seedling container ideas.


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I find that egg cartons and pudding snack containers do not provide enough space for proper root formation of indoor seedlings. I make my own containers with no more than pages from an old phone book and masking tape.

Paper seedling pots

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At your garden center they often have discarded flower trays and pots that are free for the asking.These trays are great for seed starting for all season long plantings. They have sections that are perfect for keeping them separate, without extra cost.

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If you have access to phone books, the pages are the perfect size for seedling pots. Without any cutting, and depending the size of your form and how the page is folded, you can make pots in a variety of sizes.

Seedling Pots From Phone Book Pages

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For many planting zones, it is close to time to start your seedlings indoors. Be creative-you don't need the expensive jiffy pots.


I like to use the cardboard egg cartons, and cut down used Styrofoam cups.

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I had so much fun with this one rainy day late in March! I found that the plastic helps retain moisture better than my plantable pots. You can use this project to help kids learn about the value of recycling and creating something from nothing.

Up-cycled Seedling Pots - planted yogurt cups

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I have been using ice cream tubs as window sill propagators I have larger ones but these work OK for a small number of seeds. I also use lollipop sticks to label my plants with.

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My little gardeners call these "banana pots." Cut the top off a 2-liter bottle and toss or save for another project. Punch 2-3 small holes in the bottom for drainage. Make four vertical cuts to splay the bottle.

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December 27, 2016

A great way to recycle toilet paper tubes is to use them as containers to start vegetable and flower seeds for garden plants. This is a page about toilet paper tube seedling pots.

Toilet Paper Tube Seedling Pots

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March 17, 2017

Toilet paper rolls and paper take out food drink trays make excellent containers for starting your seeds. This page explains using recycled cardboard for starting seeds.

Recycle Cardboard for Starting Seeds

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March 15, 2017

Many plastic containers work quite well for starting your seeds prior to spring planting. This is a page about reuse plastic containers for seedlings.

Reuse Plastic Containers for Seedlings

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May 31, 2020

Although they are fast becoming a thing of the past phone books are still distributed in many areas. Their pages can be formed into very good seedling pots.


There are several tips on making these paper pots found below.

A seedling pot made from phone book pages.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

February 3, 2011

When I am starting to grow plants indoors, I drill a couple of holes in an empty yogurt or juicy juice container (I cut the tops off) and use them as the pots.

By Abigail from Columbus, SC


Recycled Seedling Containers

The 100% reclaimed paper egg cartons make great seed starters. When the plants are large enough cut each egg holder apart and plant them into the ground not disturbing the small plant. Talk about recycling.



By Carolyn

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May 19, 2008

I love to start seedlings early, and didn't have anything to put the soil and seeds in to get started so I went to the kitchen and there was my answer! You know the containers that the floor cleaning cloths come in, they are perfect for starting seeds in. You use the container part for the soil and seeds and the cover to place under the container. This works great and you're recycling too.

By Joyce from Tennessee
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