The weather may still be a little chilly but we’re starting to plant our veg & flower seeds indoors ready to go out in the Spring. Instead of using small plastic plant pots we’ll be making our own pots again this year which not only helps to reduce plastic, but also saves some pennies & encourages some creativity too. Making your own plant pots is a great opportunity for kids to explore the impact materials have on the planet, & how simple actions can make a big difference.
Here are 10 simple quick & easy recycled plant pots that kids can make from items you’ll find around your home.
:: Newspaper Pots
We love making these simple newspaper plant pots, they’re just the perfect size for sprouting seedlings. To make them we use a Seedling Paper Potter like this one which we picked up a few years ago from a charity shop. Even little hands can help make these, toddlers love rolling the paper around the wooden potter & squashing it down to make the base of the pot.
What’s great about these is that they can be planted straight into the ground & the paper will biodegrade as the plant grows. Happy days!
:: Toilet Roll Plant Pots
Hurrah for the humble toilet roll! Super frugal & simple, these cardboard tubes are again an ideal size for seedlings. For more info on how we made them pop over to our plant pot post here. We usually stand ours in a recycled plastic tray so the plants can easily soak up the water through the base, & place them on a windowsill so they get plenty of daylight. These recycled plant pots can also be planted straight into the soil.
:: Cardboard Juice / Milk Cartons
If you’re short of room, then cardboard cartons make great small square planters. Simply cut off the top half of the carton, add some grit & soil to the base & your ready to plant your seeds.
Alternatively, you can cut them long ways to create simple plant trays for seedling pots. Great for narrow windowsills or worktops.
:: Plastic Milk Cartons & Bottles
As a family, we’ve reduced our plastic consumption greatly & are now much more mindful of packaging when shopping. However, when some plastics do make it into the shopping basket we make sure they’re recyclable, though some are upcycled into pots before they’ve even made it into the recycling!
If you’re looking for a container that allows kids to observe the growing process beneath the soil & transformation from seed to plant, then plastic milk cartons or bottles are ideal. The seedlings will grow well with either soil or kitchen paper, & children can clearly watch the root systems develop.
:: Shopping Bags
Yes, shopping bags! These reusable (bag for life) shopping bags are useful if you have limited space for growing veggies outdoors, or no garden at all.
Instead of buying a grow bag to grow our veggies, we use these. In previous years, we’ve successfully grown tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, & courgettes in them. Just add a few holes at the bottom of the bag for drainage before you add your peat free compost, & then your recycled planter is ready for your chosen crop.
The bags can be placed at ground level or positioned on a step or balcony, so you can grow your own veggies anywhere straight from the bag!
:: Paper Coffee Cups
Instead of throwing that paper coffee cup in the bin when you’re out & about, why not bring it home & turn it into a planter. From coffee bean to runner bean! It’ll make a great upcycled planter that can be used again & again.
:: Fruit Planters
Whether you eat oranges, satsumas, grapefruits or lemons, all can be transformed into colourful planters ideal for growing herbs. We used satsumas to create these mini planters & cut the fruit in half before scooping the segments out to eat. These fruit planters can be planted straight into the soil & will provide compost around the roots of the plant as it grows.
:: Egg Carton Seed Tray
Hang on to those egg boxes because they make egg-cellent free plant pots! We’ve used them to grow herbs & salad in previous years, & last year used them to grow our sunflower seedlings. The cardboard egg box is surprisingly strong when wet & can again be planted straight into the soil outdoors if you wish.
When you’re cooking or baking, hang on to those eggshells. They’re ideal to grow salad, cress & mustard with minimal soil. Perfect for kids to grow a quick mini crop & fun to decorate too.
:: Wellie Boots
Of course, we had to have wellie boots! These quirky planters are perfect for small outdoor spring & summer flowers. Make a few drainage holes in the base or side of the boot so the plants don’t become too waterlogged & the flowers will grow happily in the boots all season.
Kids feet grow super fast & these planters are a lovely reminder of just how small their feet once were. We still have a pair of wellies that my kiddo had when she was 3yrs which we fill with flowers every summer. (Top Tip: Over Winter store the empty wellie planters somewhere cool, dry & away from sunlight & they’ll last year after year.)
There are of course lots of other upcycling ideas for planters, & most clean containers can be used to grow seedlings ready to be planted outdoors. Why not have a hunt around your home & see what you could upcycle to grow some veggies & plants this Spring.
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