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Eco -friendly Cardboard Tube Seed Starting Pots

These eco-friendly cardboard tube seed starting pots began their life in a gift wrapping roll.

Did you know that the tubes which are on the inside of a roll of wrapping paper can do double duty in your garden when the paper is gone? 

These little pots are one of my favorite DIY garden ideas on a budget.

Eco-friendly, biodegradable seed starting pots.

How to make eco-friendly cardboard tube seed starting pots

Spring is here.  Well, almost, that is.  Our last frost date is normally the third week in March, but Mother Nature sometimes decides to play an April Fool’s joke on us and delay our gardening efforts in the spring. That sometimes means a later frost. 

In many parts of the country, it is much too cold to plant anything outdoors. This is where starting seeds inside comes into play.

If you are thinking of getting a head start on your growing season by starting seeds indoors, you may be tempted to head out to the store to buy peat pots.  

But, wait a second!  There is no need to go to this expense when you can make these ec0-friendly biodegradable cardboard tube seed starters at almost no cost.  

These little seed starting pots are the perfect size for a normal seedling that uses small to medium sized seeds. I’ve even got a DIY seed starting mix for you to use with them!

The seed pot can be planted right into the ground when the weather is right and it allows you to re-use a common household item that is normally thrown away.

One standard roll of wrapping paper will make about 9 small cardboard seed starting pots.   If you don’t have any old wrapping paper to get the roll, never fear.  

Toilet paper tubes will also work!  They will make two pots. I decided to start some Swiss chard in my little pots when they were for Eco-friendly, biodegradable seed starting pots.To make these biodegradable seed starting pots, gather these supplies:

  • The cardboard tube from an old roll of gift wrapping paper
  • Exacto knife
  • Seed starting soil
  • Seeds
  • Popsicle sticks or plant labels

Start by cutting the cardboard tube into about 9 sections the same size.  Don’t worry if they are not exactly the same length.  Mine were about 6 inches long, but just go by your length of roll.

Take one of the cut tubes and, using a pair of scissors or

exacto knife, make 6 slits about 3/4″ along one edge. Fold the edges to the outside one time so that it will score the edge slightly.

cut the tube with an exacto knife

Next, fold the cut edges back to the bottom in a circular fashion from right to left, overlapping each little fold under over the next one until you come to the end of the cuts, then tuck the last fold under the first one to hold it in place.  

You can tape it if you would like, but I didn’t need to do this with mine.  The edges folded under well and made a good seal for the pot.

Make slits and fold under

How easy is that?  That is all there is to it to make these eco-friendly cardboard tube seed starters!

Just fill the little pots with seed starting soil, add some seeds and place the pots in an old recycled plant tray, or even on a flat plate, and water well.

The cardboard tubes will get softer as you wait for the seeds to grow, but still hold up well.  You won’t need them long.Eco-friendly, biodegradable seed starting pots.

In about a week, the little seedlings will have started to grow, and you can thin them to the strongest one.  I used old Popsicle sticks to label the seeds.  

It’s amazing how many tiny seedlings look alike and I can’t trust my memory to remember what I planted!Eco-friendly, biodegradable seed starting pots.

Plant the whole cardboard seed starting tube in the garden when the weather warms up.  Just open up the little slits at the bottom and plant it, tube and all.  

The cardboard will disintegrate slowly and help to add nourishment to the soil.  Cardboard is also like a worm magnet and brings them to the soil, which helps to aerate the soil.

For more DIY seed starting ideas, be sure to have a look at this blog post.  I’ve put together my 10 favorite ideas, all made with items from around the house. You will be amazed what can be made into a seed starting pot.

For more great DIY gardening ideas, visit my Gardening Ideas board at Pinterest.

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Russell T

Saturday 24th of April 2021

I will be trying the tube pots this week what great idea for recycling waste


Monday 5th of June 2017

lovely! how about the huge cartons? they should be of some help.


Monday 5th of June 2017

Yes they would work. But be sure they have drainage so the plants don't get waterlogged.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."