If you want more bang for your gardening buck, try growing plants from seed or cuttings. Seeds are easy to grow with the right tools and with a bit of patience, you'll be rewarded with beautiful flowering blooms and your favourite edibles. Seedling pots and trays ensure better availability of water and nutrients to help seeds germinate and grow into healthy seedlings.
Grow your own plants from scratch with Jiffy pots, peat pellets and seedling trays
If you’re ready to take the next step in your gardening adventure, why not try your hand at growing your own plants from seeds or cuttings? With the right tools and a bit of patience (and some advice from our expert horticulturalists!) seeds are easy to grow, and even more satisfying because of the extra effort you went to.
The easiest way to get your seeds or cuttings off to a great start is by using seedling trays or peat pots. They let you control the environment and ensure better water and nutrient availability to give your seeds the best chance. They also let you start the growing season early, by starting your plants off indoors away from the cold.
What are Jiffy pots?
Jiffy pots are our favourite brand of peat pots. The pots are environmentally friendly, 100% organic and 100% biodegradable – and they make seed raising easy. To use, fill the pot with high-quality potting mix, plant the seeds according to the packet instructions, and water well. Once your seedlings are large enough to be planted in the garden, plant the whole pot in the ground and it will eventually biodegrade. This method of transplanting helps prevent shock to the plant, because you don’t disturb the plant’s fragile root system.
An alternative is Jiffy peat pellets. These little discs are made of compressed peat, wood pulp and coir pitch that expand with water, making them a substitute for both a pot and the soil. Arrange the peat pellets in propagation trays or Jiffy greenhouses, water, then pop the seed into the middle to give it the best chance at germinating. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, you can plant the pellets directly into the ground, in the same way you would the Jiffy peat pots, to avoid damaging the roots and causing transplant shock.
How to use seedling trays
The goal with using seedling trays is to have your seedlings germinated and ready to be transplanted outside as the weather warms up. Check the seed packet for instructions on which seasons the crop will grow in and when to start planting inside.
You can start your seeds in almost any kind of container, including yogurt pots and disposable coffee cups, but we like to use trays made specifically for raising seedlings as the size and drainage helps support successful germination.
Fill your trays (or cups) with fresh, high-quality potting mix. How much soil for a seedling tray will depend on the depth of the pot, as you’ll transplant your seedling before it gets big enough to run out of soil. Water it so it’s moist but not soggy.
Follow the instructions on your seed packet; larger seeds will need to be buried, while smaller ones can just be sprinkled on the surface with a fine layer of potting mix sprinkled on top. Mist with more water.
Cover the pots with plastic wrap or a plastic dome to keep the seeds warm and moist while they germinate. As soon as you see signs of green, you can remove the cover.
While they’re growing, make sure seeds are kept well watered and add fertiliser as suggested on the packet. Ensure that your seedlings get plenty of light – if they don’t get enough they’ll grow leggy and weak – and rotate them so they don’t lean towards the light in one direction.
When you’re ready to transplant your seedlings, you may want to harden them off by taking the tray outside for a few hours during the day and moving it back in at night so they get used to the elements. If it’s prime growing season you can probably skip this step, but be aware that your plants might get stressed by the sudden change of environment.
Do seedling trays need to be covered?
Seedling trays do not necessarily need to be covered, but they will certainly grow better if they’re covered in clear plastic. This has two benefits: keeping the seeds warm and keeping the seeds moist.
You can buy clear plastic domes or small glasshouses, but you can also just use cling film or even a large glass bowl.
How much soil for a seedling tray?
The best seedling trays are 5 to 10cm deep, and you’ll want to fill them with soil almost all the way to the top. Only use fresh, high-quality potting mix – never soil from the garden or other pots to avoid contaminating your seedlings and provide adequate drainage. Make sure there aren’t any big air gaps in the soil by pressing it gently with your fingers to compact it and water it in well.
If you’re ready to get started on your seedling adventure, explore our range online or come visit us in-store, at one of our 10 Flower Power locations, for Jiffy pots, peat pellets, seedling trays and advice on how to use seedling trays for germination.