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This question talks about making paper pots for seedlings, and links to what appears to be the standard pot maker for sale at various online outlets. There are also some entirely home made solutions (using an aerosol can, a jam jar, etc to shape the paper) discussed online.

I can see the definite advantage of being able to transplant without root disturbance. But you don't see much online discussion of their usage by serious gardeners, just a lot of craft/novelty/gimmicky "hey, here's a simple idea" pages.

Has anyone had any problem with these pots? Don't they disintegrate easily, especially with any kind of sustained watering?

I'd like the no-hassle transplanting but if I've got to rescue soggy, disintegrating pots half way through doing their job then that's no time/hassle saving at all.

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I recently pointed to a post about toilet paper tubes, and how they don't work because they break down too fast. I'd imagine that if toilet paper tubes break down too fast, newsprint will break down even faster, but it's speculation on my part... –  bstpierre Mar 11 '12 at 3:07
@bstpierre: The failure is the glue that holds the tube together. As a the paper "pots" discussed don't use glue at all, it's really not a direct comparison. Of course I've never used either, so can't say whether the paper pots work... all I can do is point out that the known point of failure in tubes doesn't exist in the paper pot solution. –  Flimzy Mar 11 '12 at 6:02
@Flimzy: good catch, I forgot about that detail when I pasted the link... –  bstpierre Mar 11 '12 at 14:38
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I had no problem with them disintegrating, probably because I packed them tightly in a seed tray. However I found that fungus grew and spread quickly through the pots. I prefer giving the seedlings plenty of time before transplanting - if I planted on as soon as they sprouted it might be a different story.

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did you give up on them then? –  Tea Drinker Mar 14 '12 at 11:05
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I've used toilet paper pots for a while now -- packed in together in a shallow box to support each other.

I snip at them a bit just before planting in the soil, especially if the roots have some distance to go to get to the bottom of the roll. They're cheap and simple and so I'd recommend them.

Not being in a really wet climate they don't rot too fast for me but do attact slugs on their undersides, which I flick away prior to planting the pot itself.

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According to the product reviews at Amazon, they seem to work. One reviewer specifically addresses your concern of root propagation (emphasis added):

Great tool for recycling newspaper while starting seeds, especially those that don't like "root disturbance" when transplanting! I've always had trouble with peat pots - the root system just doesn't grow through peat even when the sides are cut but thanks to paper pots I have no such trouble; roots grow through easily and the paper melts away in the soil! Another plus - you get to bury bad news!

And another also prefers the newspaper pots to peat pots, due to improved biodegradability:

Ok so it's just a couple pieces of wood. It does exactly what the maker claims. No more yearly expense for dusty peat pots. Just save a few Sunday papers during winter, cut them up and make pots. I cut them into 4x12 inch strips, a bit bigger than the instructions call for, but I use more of a newspaper page that way and the pots seem a bit stronger. Newspaper rots unlike the netting on peat pots.

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