Best seedling trays: 8 plastic-free options
Whatever you're growing - herbs, flowers, veg or fruit - make sure your seedlings get off to a good start with the help of a seedling tray
An essential piece of kit for gardeners, seedling trays are the best way to protect tiny seedlings, and begin the planting process. Not only do seedling trays let you sow lots of seeds at once, but many designs can be planted directly into the ground, so you can avoid issues such as transplant shock which can have a negative effect on your plant's growth.
There are a number of different seedling tray options to go for, and in our roundup you'll find peat free fibre pots, bamboo trays and reusable rubber designs - all plastic free so you can keep your garden as green as possible. We've also included a couple of sturdy wooden seedling trays that are ideal for transporting tools, pots, seeds or even a cup of tea, around the garden.
Seedling trays are also useful for growing cuttings, so they're bound to become a well-used piece of garden equipment. So take a look at our roundup and find a suitable match for your planting needs.
For detailed advice on sowing seeds, head to our detailed guide to planting seeds.
Discover the best place to buy seeds online.
Don't miss our round up of the best seed storage boxes.
Best seedling trays for 2023
Sili-Seedlings Seed Starter Tray
If you're fed up of thin plastic seedling trays cracking and tearing, you may want to invest in a reusable design made of a more durable material. This silicone option from Sili-Seedlings offers a flexible nature so you can gently ease the soil out without effecting the integrity of the roots. There are drainage holes on the bottom, and the vibrant green colour is a nice change from the more typical black trays that are commonly used.
It's even dishwasher safe so you can keep your garden equipment nice and clean, ready for the next batch of seedlings. You get two trays in a pack, each with six cells.
Biodegradable Seedling Starter Trays
Opt for a biodegradable seedling tray, and save yourself the hassle of having to remove the soil from the cells before repotting. When germinated, the roots grow through the fibre pot, so you can plant them directly into the soil. An easy, eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic. You can also cut between the cells and tailor them to your gardening needs.
This set comes with 24 plant labels too so you can keep track of what you've planted. With ten trays, each with ten cells, there are plenty to keep you going for a while.
Grow It Round Fibre Pots
A similar principle, these round, peat free fibre pots can be planted directly into the ground, or into a larger pot if you fancy. The pots are made from biodegradable wood pulp and you get 96 in a pack. Why not plant a cutting and gift to a friend? A pot that you don't need returning!
Natural Rubber Seed Tray
If you're looking for a more robust and reusable seedling tray, you could go for a natural rubber design. Just like silicone, it's a flexible and durable choice. This 20 cell rubber seedling tray can be cut in half - ideal for a narrow windowsill or shelf.
Wooden Seed Tray
This sturdy wooden seedling tray can be used to sow seeds - providing robust protection for your young plants- as well as functioning as a handy garden caddy for your gardening essentials, so you can use it all year round. You could even use this wooden tray to create your own mini herb garden in the kitchen and enjoy fresh rosemary, dill and basil when you're cooking.
We love the rustic look - the perfect way to add a homey touch to your outdoor space.
Bamboo Seed Tray
The soothing sage colour of this bamboo and rice seedling tray makes it an appealing choice, and it's a super option if you want to plant your seedlings in one large batch rather than working with individual cells. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor planting and as an added bonus, the tray is compositable. The seedling tray should have a life of around five years, but once you're done, just break it up and add the pieces to your compost heap.
Square Fibre Pots
For a small herb patch, this pack of 20 square fibre pots could do the trick. Plant straight into the ground, and avoid disturbing the growth of your plants when repotting. At such great value, pick up a few and keep your shed well stocked so you're always prepared!
Buy the square fibre pots now from Wilko
Spruce Seedling Tray
More of a garden tray for carrying fresh garden vegetables, pots and bulbs rather than a tray for sowing seeds, but a lovely garden accessory nonetheless. The tray is made of spruce, and the 'seedling' text stencilled on the side is a nice touch. A perfect gift for a messy gardener in need of some greenhouse organisation.
Buy the Spruce Seedling Tray now from Garden Trading
Looking for planting inspiration? Take a look at the best meadow seed mix packs to create a wildlife haven.
Rachel Howatson is a digital writer who works across a range of Our Media’s special interest brands. Whatever your passion, whether it’s hillwalking, cooking, gardening, running, socialising or even sleeping, she'll likely have written about it.
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