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.

  • 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, 2012 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, 2012 at 6:02
  • @Flimzy: good catch, I forgot about that detail when I pasted the link...
    – bstpierre
    Mar 11, 2012 at 14:38

4 Answers 4


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.

  • did you give up on them then? Mar 14, 2012 at 11:05

I invented the Potta System - the frames make newspaper tubes of three different diameters at any depth very quickly. I've been using nothing but this for around ten years and the tubes don't fall apart and plants thrive as there is no bottom to the tubes. I found that making pots by wrapping newspaper round something and folding in the bottom resulted in thick bottoms that stopped the roots. Which is why I invented the system (as well as finding that making one pot at a time was too slow). I can assure you that plants grown in bottomless newspaper tubes are terrific. I grow show quality sweet peas and runner beans in trays of 6 inch deep tubes every year.

  • I think this is very ingenious (+1). Just a side comment: I have found that roots very often find their way out of the paper pots through the sides, even if they have thick bottoms. It looks almost as if the roots have a way to penetrate the paper throw the little pores of the paper. It reminds me of those tree trunks we can find sometimes embedded on a fence.
    – cockypup
    Feb 23, 2015 at 17:38

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.


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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