12 Household Items You Can Upcycle Into Garden Seed Starters

Updated: Sep. 08, 2023

Get a head start on this year's gardening by starting seeds indoors. Check out the 12 common household items can be used as perfectly sized seed starters.

1 / 12

Egg Cartons

One popular choice for starting seeds indoors is the egg carton. Just cut off the top of the carton and place some seed-starter soil and seeds in each compartment after poking holes in the bottom for drainage. If using a biodegradable egg carton, you can just break off each compartment and transplant it directly into your garden when the seedlings are ready. This guide will help you get your garden off to a great start indoors.

2 / 12

Yogurt and Ice Cream Containers

Don’t toss those yogurt and personal-size ice cream containers in the recycling bin or trash, use them for starting seeds! Just rinse them out, poke a drainage hold in the bottom and plant seeds for everything from tomatoes and lettuce to peppers and onions.

3 / 12
HH Handy Hint Plant seeds in toilet paper tubes
Family Handyman

Toilet Paper Rolls

Yes, you can use those empty toilet paper rolls as seed starters. Just cut the tubes into 2-inch lengths and set them upright in a waterproof tray. Fill the tubes with seed-starter soil and plant your seeds. When the seedlings are ready, you can plant them in your garden right in the tube. Check out these 33 brilliant home hacks that use three common household items.

4 / 12
Marie C Fields/Shutterstock

Muffin and Cupcake Liners

Give those paper muffin and cupcake liners another use as seed starters. Just line up the liners in a waterproof container and place your seeds and soil directly in them.

5 / 12
Terry Putman/Shutterstock


Those popular K-Cups have a second life as an individual seed starter. Just dump out the coffee grounds, give them a rinse, poke a drainage hole and fill them with seed starter soil and seeds. These DIY raised garden beds provide a fresh way to grow a bumper crop.

6 / 12
Citrus-rind seed starters
Family Handyman

Citrus and Avocado Peels

Next time you go to peel an orange, grapefruit, or avocado, save the peel as a seed starter. Try to remove the peel in a large chunk so they can sit upright and hold some soil. Then, when it’s time to plant outside, just plant the whole thing right in the garden. These are 10 of the worst garden insect pests and how to get rid of them.

7 / 12


Newspaper can be made into small seedling pots with this clever gadget. The entire “pot” can then be planted in the ground once the seedling is mature enough. You’ll be glad to learn these 24 genius gardening hacks.

8 / 12

Plastic Bottles and Jugs

You can repurpose those plastic soda and water bottles, along with milk jugs as seed planters. Just rinse them out, cut the top off, poke drainage holes and place your seed-starter soil and seeds inside. Make the most of your kitchen waste by using it in the garden.

9 / 12
Anton Starikov/Shutterstock

Ice Cube Trays

Old ice cube trays are the perfect size for seed starters. Just place a little seed-starting soil and your seeds in each compartment and be sure to poke a drainage hole in the bottom. When it’s time to transplant them into the garden, carefully pop out each seedling and place them in the garden soil or container garden. Get started in the garden a bit early with these 12 things you can do right now.

10 / 12
Family Handyman

Takeout and Clamshell Containers

Save those takeout and clamshell containers and use them as seed starters. Just rinse them out, punch a couple holes in the bottom for drainage, fill with seed-starter soil and plant the seeds. This method works well for starting a lot of plants that you will eventually re-pot into individual pots once they’re ready.

11 / 12

Fruit, Jell-O and Pudding Cups

If your kids have pudding, fruit and Jell-O cups for snacks, you have useful vessels for starting seeds. Just take those empty cups and rinse them out, poke a hole in the bottom for drainage and add your seeds and soil. Every Midwest gardener should grow these 10 easy vegetables in their garden

12 / 12
Marina Onokhina/Shutterstock


Eggshells are a great natural seedling pot. When you crack an egg, try to keep at least half of the eggshell intact. Rinse it out with water, use a pin or thumb tack to add drainage holes in the bottom, and then add soil and seeds. When it’s time to plant, the shell, soil and seedling can all go right into the garden. These 11 landscaping hacks will save you time.

Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.