- GrowNYC Education
DIY Newspaper Planting Pots
Updated: Apr 13, 2021
These easy-to-make pots are perfect for starting seeds. Once your seedlings are strong enough to be transplanted outside in the garden, they can be transplanted directly in the ground in these pots because newspaper is biodegradable (can be broken down into very small and harmless parts through the action of living things like microorganisms).
Using a biodegradable newspaper pot is a good way to prevent transplant shock—since the plant isn't being removed from the pot when you transplant it, the roots of your seedlings are not disturbed. They can simply keep growing without experience the extra stress of being removed from the newspaper pot they call home!
- Black-and-white newspaper (do not use color newspaper because it may contain unsafe heavy metals)
- 16 oz. Mason jar or small glass
1. Cut sheets of newspaper in half or thirds, depending on the size of pot you want to make. Use three strips of newspaper per pot so that it is more sturdy.
2. Align your jar or glass with the newspaper so that a few inches of paper are above the opening of the cup. Roll the newspaper so it circles the cup. Push the sides of the paper that are above the cup’s rim inside, so they are wrapped inside the top of the glass.
3. Remove the cup gently, while still keeping the pot’s shape.
4. Use the bottom of the cup to reinforce the pot’s bottom by inserting it inside the newspaper pot.
5. Tamp down the ends, so it forms the base of the pot.
6. Add soil, then plant your seeds!
7. When your seedlings are big and strong enough to transplant outside—look for at least 3 sets of true leaves—they can be planted directly into the garden - newspaper pot and all!
Tip: Pet your plants! To further prevent transplant shock, use one or two weeks before transplanting outdoors and harden off your seedlings. This means acclimating them slowly to outside conditions. You can "pet your plants," by (gently!) shaking the leaves to simulate wind. You can keep them by an open window or outside for a couple of hours on nice days (above 50 F and not too sunny) so their stems are exposed to wind and become more sturdy. You could even use a gentle fan. This wind simulation (petting your plants, using a fan, or exposing them to real wind) will encourage the plant to build up cell walls in the stem to make it sturdier.