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I've been busy making news paper pot for a week or two. Ive made nearly four hundred with more to make on the cards. But while I was making them I suddenly thought what is the best way to water them. I have made them and placed them in seed trays.

I was going to place the seed trays onto a watering mat in side a grow bag tray and water from above. BUT would it be better to place the pots onto the watering mat in side the grow bag tray. while I'm worried about the paper breaking down im also worried about the pots and mould

Advice is clearly needed


Orchid Lady that's some going. I got one of those paper pot makers but haven't started yet, I need some newspaper first!!!

Sorry I haven't got a clue about watering, it should be me called clueless gardener really, but I was wondering the same thing the other day so will be interested to see the answers.

Well done on all the pot making....I better get started ????
Secret Squirrel

Hi Clueless,

I would have thought as soon as water comes in contact with the paper, whichever way round you do it, your snookered, the paper will turn to mush. Are you treating these as fibre pots? If so why are you not planting them in their growing position? Why do you want lots of paper pots? If its a cost cutting exercise, because you have made a lot, you could put them in paper egg trays. You might try hotels, restaurants etc. anyone that has eggs delivered on a large scale. That type of paper/card might withstand water a bit more than newspaper. I'm just thinking out loud here.  

Secret Squirrel

just had another thought, hemp string, one end in the soil, the other end in a jar of water. The string absorbs the water travels up the string and moistens the soil?



I do the same with insides of loo rolls - but i don't need 400, or i would have to call in reinforcements

Orchid Lady
I was going to ask about loo rolls, apparently they are good for sweet peas and broad beans. Is it right that they can be planted straight into the soil?


I have read the post/thread your link sent me to but no tips on watering where given from the bottom or top these are not a new invention some one should come along and point me in the right direction for their own experience



Internet consensus seems to be little and often from the top. Got a paper pot maker for Christmas so would love to know how you get on Clueless 


Clueless I brought my grandfather one of these a few years go. I'm sure it said little and often from the top to avoid an overly soggy bottom. Perhaps you coukd experiment with a water dropper verses using a spray bottle to create a mist?


400? Gosh sounds like you've got a busy year ahead of you! Do let us know how you get on I'd love to know if they're worthy as they suit my money tight credentials! 


Thank you Panda

I'm not sure I will use all on them yet. But hay they can always go on the compost heap. I'm a little but confused about potting seedlings would some one help me.

do you

sow in plug trays and then transfer to

paper pots then

3" pots then plant out to their finial position or

5/7" pots then

plant out to their finial position In the past I've bought flowers in the larger plug pot the garden centers use and plant into there Finial position but it's always knocked the growing back three to four weeks


I put the bigger seeds - sweet peas, cosmos, morning glory and the like- straight into the loorolls. I water from the top and when they are ready plant the whole thing out, cardboard and all.

Smaller seeds i germinate in little seed trays, prick out into larger trays, pot into individual 3" pots and then plant out in June. Hope that helps James

Thank you so so much Chicky I've got big fingers and struggle so much with pricking out, I would say I lose 40% of my seedlings as I'm to heavy handed also I have come to the conclusion I compact the compost to much. this is why I have gone for seed plug trays this year as to just seed trays.


Orchid Lady
Just checked the packaging on mine, it tells you how to make the pot then says 'remove and fill with compost', 'plant seeds or seedlings', 'transplant in the garden'......maybe they are magic pots that don't need watering!!!

I think I am going to go with a little and often from the top.

Hi Tracey 5,

I have been using loo rolls for years for my sweet peas and peas.

I put them very tight in a seed tray and water them very sparsely.

They are brilliant - when the roots show on the bottom you can plant them in the ground just like they are. They get a bit mouldy sometimes but that doesn't matter.I think you can just do the same with you paper rolls as long as they are thick enough.  Good luck! 





I sent that link, Clueless, because in the photo the paper pots are obviously damp and she wrote "Surely they'll fall apart, I thought, and can't possibly be worth the bother. How wrong I was", which I thought gave hope.

I have done it with loo rolls, but I put them in a deepish tray and infilled wherever possible around the pots with compost so they were sitting in compost and I watered top and bottom so it was all damp (sweet peas). I sowed directly into the loo roll pots. I did it like that because the first time I did it I was so worried they would disintegrate that I didn't water enough and they didn't grow properly. Must have been more sparsely than Sybille above! I planted the loo rolls as well.


Hi Clueless (and you are obviously not clueless at all if you've discovered the joys of paper pots and made 400 of them!)

I use paper pots a lot - they are really good (although they do have a few limitations).  So here is what I've found out after a few years of doing it.

1 -  just water from the top as normal.  You won't want your compost to be soaking wet for baby seedlings, so there isn't a problem with the pots collapsing (especially if you've got them nicely packed together in the seedtrays).

2 - yes they will go mouldy but that doesn't matter.  You are going to plant them direct into the ground anyway, so if anything I think it is a good thing if they've started breaking down / rotting away a wee bit!  Just as long as you don't get squeamish about mould...I've never seen the seedlings suffer from it.

3 - the compost does tend to dry out faster than with plastic pots - I guess it sweats away through the paper.  So you do need to keep a close eye on your babies, and it is trickier to get the watering balance right.  I've found that some of the more sensitive seeds (little fine ones for example) have not done well.  But my sunflowers and tomatoes thrive.  I'd suggest sowing more than you think you need, in anticipation of a higher rate of loss... (sorry)

4 - when you plant into the ground, especially if you've used very long strips of newspaper so there are lots of layers of paper in the pot, I think it is worth ripping them open a little to help the roots find their way out into the soil.  You ought to see some roots growing through the paper by the time they are ready to go out;  if you don't see any, then definitely do a bit of ripping open.  This is especially true if you are planting in dry weather / dry soil;  and it is one reason why I'm always quite pleased to see the pots beginning to get a bit mouldy and manky as they get closer to planting out time!

5 - I think that I've noticed that pages with shiny coloured paper (the magazines) break down more slowly and also that some seeds really don't like them.  Maybe something about chemicals in the coloured ink?  So if you've any pots that are particularly colourful / shiny, perhaps use them for the tougher babies (eg sunflowers, peas, beans...).

I think that's it!  Let us know how you get on.




Hiya I save up all my loo rolls /kitchen towel centres and use them-ace for sweet peas and you an plant straight away into the soil and the cardboard rots away


Thank you Rosie

I don't use Magazine paper as I doesn't root down as well


Orchid Lady
Made my paper pots tonight, sowing my sweet peas tomorrow and I've printed off Rosie's tips to stick in my notebook so I remember for future.

Thanks Rosie

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