Repurposed Newspaper Seedling Planter

by Merissa on April 11, 2012

in Gardening 101

Newspaper Seedling Planter - Little House Living

Repurposed Newspaper Seedling Planter

This year I decided I wanted to create some kind of seedling planters that could be placed right in the ground with the starts. It seems like the tiny seed holders that I normally use just aren't big enough to let the seed get started properly and when I dig out the starts and put them in the hard South Dakota soil they fail because they are taken out of their nice soft home.

So here's how I created some new seedling holders that I'm excited to use!


Take a section of newspaper and fold it in half. (Or thirds, just depends on the paper.)


Wrap it around a jar, can, or other object or similar size. Make sure to leave at least an inch of paper at the bottom of the jar to make your bottom.


Secure with tape.


Fold up the ends of the newspaper to create a bottom on your holder and secure with a piece of tape.


Pull off the can. Fill with dirt and plant your seeds! When it's time to plant in the garden just stick the whole thing right in the ground.

Since I've made these little planters I've gotten a few questions about using them.....

Do they get moldy?

If you live in a high humidity area and keep your seedlings very moist this may not work for you as they could get moldy after a while.

What about the toxins in the paper, ink, etc?

There can be toxins in everything, from the potting soil you use to the plastic containers you keep your plants in. Any toxins released into the soil around your plant from the newspaper would be minimal and not really worth worrying about, however if it's something that concerns you greatly you might want to check out an alternative like Coco Pots.

Do they leak and do you need to use a tray?

Yes, the paper will get damp so they will "leak". We just use a seedling tray under the pots and it holds them together nicely in case we need to move them!

Do you need to remove the tape when planting?

No, just make sure you use masking tape so it will decompose in the soil.

Enjoy your little seedling planters and find even more Gardening tips and articles here on our Gardening Page.

The Gardening and Preserving Journal is here!Β If you are gardening or planning on doing any preserving this year, you NEED this wonderful sprial bound journal! Get your own copy here.



Print Friendly

Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

1:00 pm

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Generous Savings April 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm

hey, have you heard of soil blocks? or a soil block maker? that is what my husband uses…it is this metal thing that makes these awesome little blocks of soil, there is no waste, no materials used other than the soil. when the plants are big enough to put in the ground, he just drops the block in. you have to mix the soil just right though


2 Teri April 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Great idea! Think I’m going to give it a try this year!


3 Terri Blomker April 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Yeah, I’ve made these too. Too cheap to buy the wooden dowl thing so I have used soup cans also. Works just as well. Takes a little time, but so worth it!


4 Bette Lee April 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Me too


5 Amy Irish April 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Will the roots grow through the taped end or will the newspaper be soft from watering to allow them to grow through? Great idea! I will have to try this.


6 Merissa April 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I’m thinking the paper will disintegrate pretty quickly after I put it in the ground.


7 Heather :) :) :) April 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Now this tip is better than sliced bread πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Thanks for the idea πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


8 Teresa April 15, 2012 at 10:56 pm

great idea. looking forward to more!


9 Deborah Fitch January 12, 2013 at 9:12 pm

I am looking forward to receiving your newsletter,


10 Cindi Moore February 13, 2013 at 8:38 am

Curious about how the newspaper is going to hold up from the 4-6 weeks of watering before planting?


11 Merissa February 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm

It definitely wears down after a couple of weeks, so I think using these depends on how long you keep your seedlings indoors before you plant.


12 Travis April 4, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Thanks for the great idea


13 Lisa Howard April 4, 2013 at 12:54 pm

We cut toilet paper rolls so that we can fold them to make bottoms and then tape. Works well, this looks good too!


14 Roos February 27, 2014 at 5:06 am


Love reading your blog! Got a question about these paper seedlingholders. I have tried toiletrol-ones and now I’m trying premade paper ones but on both occasions I noticed mold growing on the holders which prevents the seedlings from coming up. Got any tips on how to prevent that?

Roos from the Netherlands


15 shirley March 4, 2014 at 9:16 am

Do they leak when watering the 4-6 weeks? If so what are you using underneath them?


16 Merissa March 4, 2014 at 9:17 am

I use them inside the plastic seedling holder trays that you can get from the hardware store.


17 Terri Rochenski March 19, 2014 at 4:32 am

I just bought one of the wooden hand-held thingys to make these along with a tray for beneath, but I’m wondering …

Did you remove the tape before planting?

Terri @ My Planting Plot


18 Merissa March 19, 2014 at 6:56 am

I did not. At the point of planting the container are pretty wet and it’s hard to remove.


19 Mistie April 9, 2014 at 9:51 am

Well, Merissa! You just solved my problem! I used up all of my saved egg cartons and actually had to go out and buy a seed starter tray, which I didn’t want to have to do. Of course once I got my starts going I thought of a few more that I wanted to get into the ground (beneficial flowers and herbs) but don’t want to go out and buy more trays – so THIS definitely helps as we have plenty of newspaper! Thanks girl πŸ™‚ as for the tape, I’ll use it for now but I want to figure out something degradable as our garden is purely organic. Keep the posts coming, I love your little site (and your new farmhouse!!!!) <3


20 Ashley Ward August 25, 2014 at 11:14 am

This is a great idea. I was just saying we will have to watch for the sale on the planters so I can have to start my garden next year. I think this will work better and be cheaper. Thanks a bunch! Hugs from western Montana!


21 sandra September 8, 2014 at 12:21 pm

where do you start your seeds, in the house or outside somewhere? how do you protect them from the weather and when do you start them?


22 Merissa September 8, 2014 at 12:58 pm

We live in between Zone 4 and 5 and I start my seedlings indoors at the beginning of April, when you start them will depend on your zone but it should be about 6 weeks before planting outdoors. I plant mine inside in a sunny area where they will not be disturbed.


Leave a Comment

Thanks for taking a moment to share your thoughts and your story. I love to hear from you and love when you are able to add something constructive to the conversation! Please remember this is a supportive and encouraging community. LHL reserves the right to delete any personal attacks, rude or offensive language, or anything not deemed family friendly. If you don't have anything nice to say, please keep it to yourself.

See our Comment Policy for more information.

{ 1 trackback }