The 8 Best Biodegradable Pots of 2021

When you use pots you can plant in, you’ll set yourself up for gardening success.

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Biodegradable pots make so much sense when you’re starting from seeds or seedlings. Instead of moving a small, vulnerable plant into a bigger container or a spot in your garden, you can just plop the entire pot down into the soil. This means less disturbance to your new plant overall. Then the pot will break down naturally for a simple and sustainable way to garden

You have quite a few options when it comes to biodegradable pots, including grow bags, a bamboo option, and even making your own. This is an excellent excuse to move from more conventional plastic pots to a much more eco-friendly option.

Here are some of the best options biodegradable pots on the market today.

The Rundown
Best Overall:
CowPots Pack at Amazon
Using a cow manure pot can actually help your plants grow bigger and faster.
Peat pots are made from paper and peat moss, which will break down over time.
These bags are made from non-woven, biodegradable fabric, making them an excellent option for the garden.
They make a good seedling environment for root development, aeration, and drainage.
Made from recycled pulp, they are pretty much ready to go when you get them out of the box.
These pots are free from petroleum-based plastics and BPA, so they are a good switch from a lot of traditional plastic pots.
All you need is newspaper, recycled paper or paper grocery bags to create your own pot.
Everything you need is in the box, including seeds, pots, and markers.

Best Overall: CowPots Pack

CowPots Packs
Key Specs

Material: Cow manure | Pot dimensions: Varies

These pots are made from 100% renewable, compostable cow manure. This makes them good for the plants in your garden since they naturally add organic matter to the soil. Research and studies have shown time and time again that using a cow manure pot can actually help your plants grow bigger and faster.

By starting your seedlings directly in the pots and then plating them in the ground when they’re bigger, you’re giving the plants an edge. What a great way to upcycle and create something green out of a so-called waste. These pots are made in the United States, they are worth investing in for all your seed-starting needs.

Best Budget: Leboo Peat Pots

Leboo Peat Pots
Key Specs

Material: Paper and peat moss | Pot dimensions: 3.15 x 3.15 x 3 inches

Peat pots are one of the most popular biodegradable options for seed starting. They are made from paper and peat moss, which will break down over time. Since many plants don’t like it when their roots are disturbed, this is the perfect way to go from an indoor or controlled environment to their next home in the garden.

Peat pots are relatively easy to find and inexpensive. This one is a great investment because you’ll get 100 3-inch pots.

Best Bag: LoiStu 300 Pcs Degradable Non-Woven Plant Nursery Bags

LoiStu 300 Pcs Degradable Non-Woven Plant Nursery Bags
Key Specs

Material: Non-woven, biodegradable fabric | Pot dimensions: Varies

Gardeners who use grow bags love them for the aeration they naturally allow. For example, they’re a great way to grow root plants like carrots or potatoes because you don’t have to dig into the ground to get your harvest. They’re a great option for starting seeds as well.

These bags are made from non-woven, biodegradable fabric (like a tea bag), making them an excellent eco-friendly option for the garden. This kit gives you 300 bags in two different sizes. If you want a shallower option, you can fold the tops of the bags down to make them smaller. Just plant directly into the ground when it’s time, and you’re all set.

Best Large: Grow Organiks Coir Pot

Grow Organiks Coir Pot
Key Specs

Material: Coconut fibers | Pot dimensions: Varies

These coir pots are natural and biodegradable, made from coconut fibers. They make a good seedling environment for root development, aeration, and drainage.

It can be harder to find larger biodegradable pots, but this brand offers both 8-inch and 10-inch options. So if you’re looking for a good starter for a larger plant or one you want to transplant directly into a container (just drop it in), these will be perfect. They are lightweight, easy to use, and have a great, natural look to them.

Best Small: Cosweet Square Peat Pots

Cosweet Square Peat Pots
Key Specs

Material: Recycled pulp | Pot dimensions: 2.4 x 2.4 x 2.2 inches

If you’re starting seeds in bulk, then your best bet is biodegradable pots that are designed as trays. This kit comes with 300 individual cells in roughly 1-inch planting squares. You’ll also get some bonus plant markers with this one as well.

Made from recycled pulp and featuring drainage holes, they are pretty much ready to go when you get them out of the box. However, they may work less well if you're in a particularly humid climate, as some users encountered mold issues with these. When it’s time to plant, just cut apart the squares and plant them into the ground or another pot.

Best Bamboo: Black Duck Multicolored Round Swirl Biodegradable Bamboo Fiber Planters

Black Duck Multicolored Round Swirl Biodegradable Bamboo Fiber Planters
Key Specs

Material: Bamboo | Pot dimensions: 6.75 inches wide x 5 inches tall

Bamboo biodegradable pots are a little different from the others on this list. Instead of being a pot that breaks down pretty quickly along with your seedlings, they are actually meant to last for many years.

When you do reach the end of this pot's life, you can toss it in the compost bin for it to break down naturally. These pots are free from petroleum-based plastics and BPA, so they are a good switch from a lot of traditional plastic pots. It’s nice to have more sustainable options like these.

Best DIY Mold: Sow We Grow Paper Pot Maker

Sow We Grow Paper Pot Maker
Key Specs

Material: Recycled paper | Pot dimensions: Makes 1.75 inch seedling pots

This handy dandy little maker is the most cost-effective option on the list because you’ll be able to make hundreds or even thousands of pots. All you need is newspaper, recycled paper, or paper grocery bags, and then you use the mold to create your pot. You’ll have the least waste possible and will save a lot of money in the long run.

It’s a great gift for the gardener in your life with the cute little tube holder and wooden plant markers. It’s also a perfect tool for kids to use as they help you out in the garden. This one is likely to become a staple in your seed-starting routine year after year.

Best Kit: Uncommon Goods Patio Garden Seed Starter Set

Uncommon Goods Patio Garden Seed Starter Set
Key Specs

Material: Organic materials | Pot dimensions: Varies

It’s the perfect seed starter kit to buy as a gift or for yourself. Everything you need is in the box, including seeds, pots and markers. Place these on a windowsill or another sunny spot until they have a good start, and then plant them directly in their next pot.

This kit contains veggies, but you can find several other biodegradable options on Uncommon Goods as well. For instance, the fruit or salad greens seed trios are also popular (view on Uncommon Goods).

Final Verdict

The CowPots (view at Amazon) is a genius way to reuse something that most people don’t see as valuable. Plus, the nutrients will make your plants look amazing! Then for those who want to have the very smallest carbon footprint, the Wooden Paper Pot Maker (view at Amazon) is the way to go, because you’ll be able to make as many biodegradable pots as you want for many years to come.

What to Look For in Biodegradable Plant Pots

Materials

Just from the pots on this list, you can see there are a lot of biodegradable options ranging from cow manure to coconut fiber. When you come across biodegradable pots, look at the materials they are made from to ensure good drainage for your plants and seedlings. 

Size

Many seed-starting pots are small because you’re likely going to be moving them to a more permanent location relatively quickly (usually within weeks). However, if you’re going to keep them going as plants for a while before you move them, look for larger pots to give the roots lots of room to grow and expand. 

Special Features

Look for other details from the plant makers, specifically about how the pots are made, or any eco-friendly methods they use. You may also want pots with drainage holes.

FAQs

How do biodegradable pots work? 

You plant the pot directly into the ground, seedling and all. Then depending on what the pot is made of, it will break down over time. Don’t worry about your new seedling’s roots being cramped because the biodegradable features of the pot will allow them to grow through as needed. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of biodegradable pots? 

The big advantage is that you’re reducing your plastic use right away. It’s an easy way to go more green with your gardening. They can also increase your transplanting success rate, because your seedlings will get less stressed when you move them into the garden.

A disadvantage might mean you’re buying more biodegradable pots over time, because once you plant them in the ground, you can't use them again. But if you purchase biodegradable pots that give back with nutrients in some way, you’re just adding to the benefits. 

How do biodegradable pots help the environment? 

Right away, they’re reducing our reliance on so much plastic. Gardening tends to have a lot of plastic pots, so it really helps to move to more biodegradable, planet-friendly options.

Some of the pots on this list make use of materials that might otherwise go to landfill, like paper pulp.

How long do biodegradable pots take to break down? 

It really depends on the material, and often, you can find that information on the label of the pot. CowPots, for instance, will break down more quickly once they're in the soil. Coir pots will last a bit longer but usually only make it through one season. 

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The author, Stacy Tornio, has been making her own seed-starting pots out of recycled paper for years, along with the help of her two kids. She is also an expert garden writer and Master Gardener.