Newspaper Grow Pots

Initiated 2021

Revealed to members at the MCC sustainable gardening workshop we immediately put this to use for starting off our 2021 Sunflower Trail.

Newspapers were collected from local residents and 750 paper pots were made by volunteers in a matter of days.

Being able to pre seed the dry pots stacked in trays initially appeared to work well.

Post-Project Review

The pots are quick to make but we experienced a few practical, yet harsh, lessons during the growing process.

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Germination was slow and unsuccessful for a large percentage. In hindsight, we should have mixed a water absorption medium into the peat-free soil. We should also have pre-soaked the soil in the pot before planting the seeds to ensure it was completely wet all the way through and not just the top inch.

Pot Firmness

To reduce the risk of attack by slugs we needed the plants to grow at least 30cm before planting in the ground. This meant that many of the pots collapsed after frequent waterings over the 6 to 8 weeks of growth.

Root Space

Sunflowers are quick to make long roots and therefore they became pot bound quickly. Perhaps larger paper pots could be made.


If watered regularly the paper decomposes fully in the ground releasing all the plant roots. Our efficient watering funnel didn't complement this process but they still grew well enough.

Future Use.

We will use the paper pots option again but not for Sunflowers. Even with the difficulties experienced they removed the need for hundreds of expensive plastic containers.

The 2022 Sunflowers seeds will be grown directly in grow bags which is not going to be as convenient as individual plants when it comes to transportation and planting out.

Sustainable Development Goals

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