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. RLekha
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I sprouted fenugreek seedlings in a grapefruit rind. The whole rind is now green/moldy, not just spotted… Will that harm anything if I keep it in the rind? Or should I completely transplant? I’m in San Francisco where it’s damper in the summer.

  2. Posted August 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I’d just plant it and find out! My rinds end up decomposing quickly once planted, and I suspect that the mold will just hasten the rotting process for you, so you won’t get a root bound plant. Some people have had success with my direct planting method, and other people just use to rinds as starter pots instead of using plastic or paper pots, and do the traditional transplant method. Since I’ve personally only been playing with this technique for two years and haven’t tested it outside of my kitchen and backyard, I don’t know how effective this technique is in other climates or with soil that is extremely acidic. Experiment with just one plant and see what happens!

  3. Amber
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Just a thought, but wouldn’t the acid of the lemon kill the plant?

  4. Posted August 6, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    I have really alkaline soil in my backyard so the decomposing peel probably helps offset the ph of my garden dirt. I use sterilized, neutral ph potting soil in the peels, and so far, I haven’t had any problems sprouting plants this way.

  5. RLekha
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    the green mold on the grapefruit rind started white mold on the surface of the soil. it eventually got so bad that when I’d water, mold “dust” would fly into the air. I had to throw it out – the little shoots were not doing well and stopped developing further.

  6. Posted September 10, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    It is a great idea to plant them in lemons. I just hope that they do not attract mold.

  7. Sandra
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    It looks really cute! I can’t imagine though that the acidic environment would be very good for the shoots. Unless you have organic lemons they also have lots of pesticides on them. Also, the peels of citrus fruits are usually very hard to compost. We only throw little cut up pieces of them on our compost because they take ages to rott.
    To avoid buying a seeding tray my Mom and I have simply been using yoghurt cups! They have a perfect size but they don’t look that pretty… :)

  8. Sarah
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    I think that in more humid climates if you really wanted to use citrus rinds that it would be prudent to bake the empty rind first to dry it out. I would imagine 200F for an hour would do the trick. It would be more like a tiny terra cotta pot that will later decompose and avoid the green slimy mold that will kill your plants. I have an orange loving toddler so I will probably try it and let you know how well it works.

  9. Kelsey
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Will it make the herb taste like the citrus rind you use?

  10. Posted February 5, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi Kelsey–I don’t know! I didn’t notice that the mint in the photograph had any distinct citrus flavor.

  11. Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi there- My name is Jill and I blog at I LOVE this idea, and I was wondering if it would be ok if I included it on a post I’m working on about repurposed, seed-starting pots? I would like to include your photo– but it would be linked back to your blog, and I would also include a text link. (I won’t be including any text from your post– just a link.)

    Anyway, I couldn’t find any info on your contact page, but if you could let me know if this is ok, that’d be great.

    Thanks! :)

  12. Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jill!

    No problem! I’d love to be a part of your post. Thanks for the links, the photo credit, and all that good stuff. I am looking forward to checking out your blog. Happy gardening!

  13. lisa
    Posted March 23, 2013 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    Great stuff! I’m in the Bay Area, so this should work for me as well.

  14. Posted March 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Hi there!

    I am contacting you on behalf of NIDO magazine. NIDO is a magazine for young urban families and is part of the
    Magazine Group (Gruner + Jahr) in Germany.

    We would like to publish the image of the citrus image in our next issue and we would be very excited if you allowed us to do so.

    With regards,

    Alina Neumeier

    Picture Desk

  15. Posted October 5, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink


    I loved this post and was wondering if I could use your picture in an upcoming post I’m doing on recycling your groceries. It would be perfect! I would of course link back to you and give you photo credit. I look forward to hearing from you! Thanks so much!

    Best wishes,

  16. Debra Y Mathis
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Hello, I just wanted to mention, since it seems no one has, that if you are attempting to garden organically, and you put non-organic peels into your garden, you’ll be ‘undoing’ your efforts to create an organic (non-pesticide ridden) soil base for your garden.

  17. Posted October 29, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I’ll definitely try that! Amazing idea! I love it! Thank you so much for sharing!

33 Trackbacks

  1. By Reuses: Grapefruit Rind « Reclaimed Garden on July 31, 2012 at 4:41 am

    […] a grapefruit rind….or another fruit or vegetable, for that matter. Click here for more from My Roman Apartment Blogger  Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Category : Reuse Tags : A […]

  2. By 10 Things: Getting Crafty | on September 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    […] Lemon peel seedling starters.  {via Garden Hack}.  Organic, fresh, […]

  3. By Seed Starter: Citrus Peels | Savvy Living on October 11, 2012 at 3:03 am

    […] {Source} /* […]

  4. […] כמה ולמה:My Roman Apartment. התלהבתם? יופי. עכשיו טרם תאחזו את ומגרפה ותתחילו לעדור […]

  5. […] Way 4:  My Roman came up with  "one of those desperation is the mother of invention moments" by […]

  6. […] Before you compost your citrus peels, put them to work nurturing seedlings. […]

  7. […] Before you compost your citrus peels, put them to work nurturing seedlings. […]

  8. By DIY Spring Gardening Projects on April 19, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    […] jars, another wide mouthed glass container or the top half of a plastic 2L bottle. You can even start seeds in a lemon peel! Just plant the seeds of your choice and wait for them to bear fruit! I love the selection of seeds […]

  9. […] citrus peels […]

  10. By how to grow seedlings on February 15, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    […] I don’t know about all of you, but I cook with lemons a lot & we eat oranges like crazy.  This is such a cool idea to start seeds. […]

  11. By 10 semenzai fai-da-te | AcateringVeg on March 6, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    […] – per realizzare dei semenzai fai-da-te a costo zero in pochi minuti, come suggerisce il blog My Roman Apartament. In questo caso sono state utilizzate le bucce avanzate dalla preparazione casalinga della […]

  12. […] 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. […]

  13. […] 16. Citrus Peel Seed Starter […]

  14. […] 16. Citrus Peel Seed Starter […]

  15. […] My Roman Apartment shows a brilliant way to use citrus peels.  I have started saving orange peels for this and they retain their shape even when they dry out, so you can stock up on peels for a while before planting them if you want to plant several at once.   […]

  16. […] […]

  17. By 30 Insanely Clever Gardening Tricks! on April 12, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    […] […]

  18. […] (Source) […]

  19. […] […]

  20. […] source: Garden Hack […]

  21. By 22 Unbelievably Clever Gardening Cheats on May 26, 2014 at 7:08 pm

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

  22. […] Growing plants from seeds is a relatively inexpensive way to grow a variety of plants. There are far more plants available from seed that there are from started plants. You don’t even need special equipment. […]

  23. By Citrus Peel Seedling Starter Pot on June 16, 2014 at 2:52 am

    […] when you think of things you can do with your citrus peels, using them as a seedling starter pot is probably one of the last things you would ever think […]

  24. […] 16. Citrus Peel Seed Starter […]

  25. By Top 10 DIY Clever Gardening Tricks on July 11, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    […] via  […]

  26. […] Mais info (em inglês) […]

  27. […] Mais info (em inglês) […]

  28. By 6 Unbelievable Clever Gardening Cheats on August 5, 2014 at 7:16 am

    […]  Source […]

  29. […] Mais info (em inglês) […]

  30. […] Mais info (em inglês) […]

  31. […] Starts Seeds With A Lemon Peel – This is an excellent way to start seedlings off in a great environment. […]

  32. By brazzers username and password on September 23, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    brazzers username and password

    Garden Hack: A Citrus Peel Starter Pot For Seedlings | My Roman Apartment

  33. […] 6. Biodegradable seed starting pots! […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>