Cheap seedling pots

How to make cheap plant seedling pots

Overrun with seeds and seedlings? Need to put them into bigger pots but don’t have enough? This discussion to the rescue! Here I will detail how I make inexpensive pots for my young plants. In the sun they only last a season or two, but for the cost they are worth it!

The secret to cheap planting containers?
The secret? Disposable plastic cups! Dixie cups is the most common brand around here. Available in numerous sizes and cheap! . Get the colored ones not the clear ones. I’ve used red and green and seen no difference between the colors. The exception to this is if you’re keeping them in a tray or you feel like painting the outsides. You can also use the styrofoam cups, but I must disclaim melting holes in them for drainage is even more smelly and fume -y than the thin plastic ones.

The “jello shot” sized ones are good for itty bitty seeds or when you don’t want to use much soil. The rest of this discussion will be the big “normal” sized ones you might have at a party, since for me these are usually step two in the seedling shell game.

Melting holes? More about that in a second!

Materials Needed for project
You will need a few materials for this.

1. The cups
2. A heat proof workspace
3. A heat source and melting thing
4. Lots and lots of ventilation
5. A cold drink!

Number 5 is of course the most important if you live in a hot area! Second most important for your health is good ventilation. Please make sure that you have plenty of fresh air, wear a respirator if needed. I put a small fan behind me to blow the fumes away from me-melting plastic is noxious and not good for lungs! And never let a child do this project unattended! Hot things, fumes, and kids don’t play nice together!

Heat source and melting object?
What on earth do I mean?

Well, for me I just use a soldering iron or soldering gun. Steady heat, comfortable to hold, and I have ones that I don’t use for solder (the plastic melts on the tip so clean them well when done!). I do have to use an extension cord since my outlet is halfway across the garage but those are easy to find:).

You can also have a candle lit and use a nail, held with pliers, heated in the flame to melt the holes. I find this can get messy with soot though, and there’s always a danger of knocking the candle over so be careful!

WARNING: Melted plastic can cause severe burns! *eyes legs*. Wear pants and watch those fingers!

Getting started
Plug in your soldering iron, or get the nail hot. Line up a few cups, upside down, on the table/work surface in front of you (see picture above). Turn on the fan/open the door, sip your cold drink, and figure out how many holes you need.

When I’m planning on using them for plants like peppers that like it drier, I do 5 holes around the bottom. Water loving ones, I do 4. If I’m being lazy or in a hurry I’ll do 3 but I find these stay waterlogged longer than most plants like.

Caveat: Unlike drilling things, you can’t melt holes in the bottoms of more than one at a time or they melt together. So no stacking the cups and doing several at once! Trust me on this…….they’ll break when you try to pry them apart :).

Use the soldering iron and melt the proper number of holes in each cup. I used a blade style and found out using it wide ways make a nicer hole than skinny, as the narrow slits clogged too easily.

Let them cool and viola! Cheap seedling pots!

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