Garden Hack: A Citrus Peel Starter Pot For Seedlings

This is one of those desperation is the mother of invention moments.

I recently discovered that Mr. Foxypants had thrown out my seed-starting tray “to make room in the garage.”

Don’t get me started on the “WTF-buddy-throwing-away-tools?” screed.

I’m still mad about it.

You don’t want to hear it anyway.

Since I’ve pledged to once again “Buy Nothing New For One Calendar Year” and this year is also all about making everything by hand, buying a new seed-starting tray was out of the question.

So I had to improvise.

Luckily, all my jam-making is providing me with epic amounts of citrus peels. Just poke a hole in the bottom of the peel for drainage, fill with potting soil, then add two seeds and some water.


After thinning to one seedling per peel, I’m going to transplant the whole ding dang thing into the garden. The peels will compost directly into the soil to nourish the plants as they grow.

Since oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are springtime fruit in Southern California, I’m guaranteed an endless supply of seedling pots.

I don’t think I can ever go back to my plug tray.


  1. Posted February 6, 2015 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Does it smell eventually?

  2. doug
    Posted February 6, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    u rock. take my love and use it.

  3. Michele
    Posted February 6, 2015 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    I have been saving toilet paper rolls all year. Last Saturday I cut them into thirds, stuffed them with wet potting mix organic, and set the little “soil cookies” in 4 used (clean) cookie clamshells like you get at Safeway for five dollars. I stuck one seed in each little soil cookie, closed the lid on the clamshell and set them under regular fluorescent lights. The spinach is heirloom, so it is not as uniform as the Ferry Morse, but the biggest spinach is now 3 inches high, 6 days later.

  4. Herbalisto
    Posted February 7, 2015 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    I think eggshells are the best… 😉

  5. Posted February 8, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi Michele!

    Fantastic! I like to use the starbuck’s plastic cold drinks mug with the rounded top as mini greenhouses, but I like your clamshell greenhouse idea so much! Very clever.

  6. Posted February 8, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Hi Teresa–

    Some people have had mold issues if you read down the comments section. I live in LA which is pretty dry. My peels usually dry out before they mold, so I don’t get smelly peels or bugs. Some people have had better success popping the plants out of the peel before transplanting and others have just been able to transplant the peel with the seedling together like I do.

  7. Kathy
    Posted March 26, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always been told that citrus peels do not break down quickly so would the roots be able to spread? Think I’ll give it a try and see.

  8. Posted April 5, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    “We Both Had Classes And Agriculture Courses In High School & College And Have Often Referred To Your Site And Page For Gardening Tips!” THANK-YOU For All The Ideas, Tips, & HOME & GARDENING TECHNIQUES THAT WORK!”

  9. Posted April 11, 2015 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    @WeLoveAllTheseIdeas&GardeningTips! I am soooo glad to hear that ag is still being taught at the high school level….somewhere. You are so welcome!

  10. Chris
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Would the citrus peels make the soil acidic? Might this be a problem for some plants?

  11. Posted April 21, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Hi Chris-

    Yes, citrus peels ARE acidic. My garden soil happens to be alkaline, so the peels help balance things out. Nature is good at self-fertilizing. If you can grow a lot of citrus in your area, your dirt can probably handle a few peels!

39 Trackbacks

  1. By Uses For Orange Peels on January 23, 2015 at 8:46 am

    […] Use the peel as seed starter pot . Check out My Roman Apartment post on the […]

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    […] Starts Seeds With A Lemon Peel – This is an excellent way to start seedlings off in a great environment. Here are ten more ways to start seeds. […]

  3. By 15 Insanely Clever #DIY #Gardening Tricks - Plash on January 28, 2015 at 7:00 am

    […] […]

  4. […] with the eggshells, this one requires just a bit of forethought… but an orange peel, or avocado rind, can work great for starting your seeds.  Our friends over at Crafting a Green […]

  5. By 22 Clever Gardening Tips | on February 23, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    […] Photo from My Roman Apartment […]

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  7. By Happy World Environment Day! | BIRDS NEST FOUNDATION on February 26, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    […] easily plant the seedling still in the planter when your transfer to a larger pot or outside. From lemon peels to egg shells, there are plenty of […]

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  10. […] Garden Hack: A Citrus Peel Starter Pot For Seedlings […]

  11. By Great Garden Ideas and Tips for Beginners on March 27, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    […] Garden Hack: A Citrus Peel Starter Pot for Seedlings from My Roman Apartment […]

  12. […] Citrus Peel Seedling Starter from My Roman Apartment […]

  13. […] No need for expensive pots when you can use something you might have around the house already — a citrus peel. […]

  14. […] No need for expensive pots when you can use something you might have around the house already — a citrus peel. […]

  15. […] No need for expensive pots when you can use something you might have around the house already — a citrus peel. […]

  16. […] 11. Använd en halv citron för att odla en liten söt planta. Läs mer här! […]

  17. By 10 Creative Seed Starting Ideas on April 30, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    […] A Citrus Peel Starter Pot For Seedlings – Half a lemon can provide a perfect first home for any seedling. Robust yet decomposable, there is no need to even take the seedling out when re-planting outside. […]

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  22. By 17 Clever Vegetable Garden Hacks on May 15, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    […] Did you know you can also use your leftover lemons after they’ve been squeezed to start your seedlings?  Besides being super cute, they self compost and add some extra nutrients to the soil when they are planted.  Learn how to use those peels as seed starters here. […]


  24. By 10 Gardening Tricks For Your Garden on May 19, 2015 at 11:58 am

    […] source: Garden Hack […]

  25. […] DIY Instructions and Project Credit: Myromanapartment […]

  26. […] 2. Start a seedling in a lemon peel… innovative and adorable! Via […]

  27. […] Source: myromanapartment […]

  28. […] Lemon will help you grow a cute seedling […]

  29. […] Imagem […]

  30. […] Growing seeds in citrus peels is about as eco-friendly as you can get. You start with a natural product, grow a beneficial plant in it and then repurpose it in the earth to act as a nutritious composting agent.While you may use any variety of citrus rinds for use as a starter pot, from a user-friendly standpoint, the bigger the better.Half a lemon can provide a perfect first home for any seedling. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to start your seeds in citrus, you’ve better click the link below, because it will show you the easiest way to growing seeds in citrus peels. Read more [>>>] […]

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    […] A Citrus Peel Starter Pot For Seedlings: I’m going to transplant the whole thing into the garden. The peel will compost directly into the soil to nourish the plant as it grows (via My Roman Apartment) […]

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