Looking for fun, unusual and fresh ideas for vessels in which to start houseplant cuttings or seedlings this winter? Here are simple instructions to create 4 recycled plant containers to nurture tender and young plants in until they are established enough to be transplanted into larger containers or permanent areas.
Paper Egg Cartons
The recyclable paper cartons are best for starting seedlings as they will absorb water and keep the soil moist while seeds are germinating. Simply remove the upper portion of the egg carton and fill each individual eggs compartment half way with potting soil before starting seedlings by following the directions on the package. The compartments give each plant individual space to grow and are perfect for transplanting into the ground in the spring or into larger plant pots as they can be easily separated by being torn or cut apart. The entire carton may even be planted in a permanent location and covered with soil to grow. The cardboard carton will bio-degrade on its own over time.
Using eggshells for pots requires a little more work than the egg carton method. Make a small break in the top portion of an egg before cracking it open and dump the egg out from the opening rather than breaking the shell in half. After the shell has been emptied, use sharp scissors to cut an opening in the top of the shell that’s large enough to fill with potting soil. Placed the emptied shell in an egg carton and fill halfway with soil. Plant seeds according to packaging instructions. Not only are the nutrients in eggshells great for the growing seedlings, the whole thing — eggshell, soil and plant — can be transplanted when it’s time. Crushing the eggshell slightly when re-planting will increase drainage to the surrounding soil.
Rolled Newspaper Pots
An emptied and cleaned food can may be used as a base to shape temporary newspaper plant pots. Tear or cut a strip of newspaper horizontally to a width of about six inches. Place the empty can at one end of the newspaper strip (excess newspaper should overlap a few inches from the base of the can) and roll the can while holding the end of the newspaper to it until the strip overlaps itself and is completely wound around the can. Hold the paper in place and fold the paper that sticks out around the base of the can to make the bottom of the pot. Slide the can out of the newspaper while holding the paper in position. At the top rim of the new pot make two small tears or cuts in the newspaper to fold the edges of loose paper in to and secure. Fill ¾ full of potting soil and plant seeds following the directions on the package. The newspaper will biodegrade quickly so it is best suited as a container for fast growing plants. The paper itself may be planted in the ground or in the permanent container when the seedling is ready to be transplanted.
Wash and dry an empty coffee can, then hammer 6-8 holes in the bottom of the container for drainage. The can itself may be decorated before use with paint, decoupage or by wrapping it in burlap. After decorating has been completed, place the plastic lid of the can under the holes for a saucer. Fill the can ¾ way with potting soil and place rooted houseplant cuttings or other small plants in the can and cover the roots gently with more soil. Check regularly to make sure water is not building up on the bottom of the can.