Website Shifting Roots Logo
My Account



Seed starting is a fun way to grow the plants you really want to grow that you can’t always find at the greenhouse, but it’s frustrating having to use so much flimsy plastic. Sure, you can use recycled plastic containers to cut down on waste, but did you know there’s a way to make no-waste recycled pots out of newsprint?

Bonus, you can just pop them in the ground when it’s time to plant and you don’t have to disturb the roots! So stop using those egg cartons for seed starting (trust me, it’s highly overrated!), and I’ll show you how easy it is to make biodegradable seed starting pots.

If you’d prefer to watch a video, see exactly how I made mine below. I’ll provide written instructions in the rest of this post, as well. And if you’d like more content like this, I upload videos to my Youtube channel regularly!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something from one of my links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read more about it in my privacy policy. Thanks for supporting Shifting Roots!


To make paper seed starting cups, you’ll need the following supplies:


  1. Cut the newspaper into strips that are the height of your container, plus an inch or two more. (You’ll need to allow enough space at the end to fold in the newspaper and create the bottom of the pot. Make sure the strips of paper are long enough to roll around your mold at least twice, if not three times.)
  2. Roll the newsprint strip around the mold, leaving space at one end to fold in at the bottom.
  3. Fold in to create the bottom of the pot.
  4. Remove the paper from the mold.
  5. Fill with potting soil and add your seed.
  6. Put your new newspaper seedling pots in a waterproof container, and water from the bottom. (It may take a few hours for the water to soak through, but it’s much better for your new seed-babies.)

What are good items for a paper pot mold?

I like to use small jars, cups that are straight at the sides, wine bottles, or empty pop cans. Any circular item will do, as long as the sides are straight and it’s the diameter you want.

I recommend using a larger diameter the further in advance you need to start the seed. For example, you don’t want to use a toilet paper roll size for a tomato plant that you start 8 weeks in advance. Your tomato plant will quickly outgrow the small size and you’ll just have to do it again or make a bigger pot for it.

If you don’t want to hunt for the perfect-sized container, you can always buy one of these seed pot maker kits.

Plan the Perfect Garden

Get your free Garden Planner and worksheets and start creating the garden of your dreams.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Can you Plant a newsprint pot into the ground?

Yes! That is the whole point of making these pots. They are 100% biodegradable and make an excellent eco-friendly alternative to harmful plastics. If you’re nervous, you can loosen the bottom a bit before you put your plant into its spot in the garden.

Will the COMPOSTABLE seed pots actually last until it’s time to plant my garden?

They might not look pretty, but yes they will! Keep watering your plants from the bottom and let the water soak up for the best results.

I’ve planted my seeds… now what?

For more information on seed starting from your window, read my handy guide. If you’re short on space in your home, you might like this DIY seed starting shelf or this method of starting seeds outdoors.

Not sure where to buy your seeds? Here are some of my favourite places.

Need a bit more help figuring out how to plan everything out? This post can help!

Finally, if you’re feeling beyond overwhelmed, my beginner gardening ebook Growing Roots Gardening Guide can help! Go from struggle-gardening to finally growing the vegetables you’ve always wanted. I’ll walk you through how to do it, plus give you my best tips on what to do and what to avoid so you can have the best chance at success.

Grab your copy here!

Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Grow roots with us



Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!