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Gardening Hacks: Using K-Cup® Pods for Seedlings

To grow plants from seeds, start them indoors a few weeks before the last frost. Put them in a sunny spot using any small container you find around the house. Try solo cups or, our favorite option, used K-Cup® pods. These pods are perfect because they’re just the right size and have drainage holes. Upcycling K-Cup® pods is easy, sustainable, and saves money! 

Follow these simple instructions to make a mini K-Cup® pod greenhouse and DIY seedling trays for free. To complete this project you will need used K-Cup® coffee pods, a permanent marker, soil, seeds of your choice, and water.

plants in kcup coffee pods 2 ai
Photo credit: ai generated

How to grow plants in used K-cups

First, drink lots of coffee. Start collecting used K-Cup® pods for several weeks before seed starting to ensure you have enough for your project. Once the pod has cooled down, gently peel off the lid and compost the coffee grinds. You should leave the filters in the cup for built in drainage. Before filling the capsules, it’s important to label them. Write the name of the plant on the outside of each pod to ensure better organization during planting.

Next, add potting soil to each cup. Don’t forget to leave room at the top for the seeds. Add the seeds, then sprinkle them with a small amount of water. Do not overwater. If the water is not draining well, add another hole to the bottom of the pod. Then cover your cups with saran wrap to make a mini greenhouse. Place the seed in a sunny part of your home. It is wise to put them somewhere that you pass by often as you will need to check them daily. Remove the saran wrap as soon as you see sprouts. Once the plants are too large for the pods you can transfer them to the garden. 

how to grow plants in kcup pods infographic
An infographic showing the steps to grow seedlings in K-Cup® coffee pods.

What plants are best for K-Cup® pod seed starting?

One time, as I walked into my friend’s house, I was hit with the perfect humidity of a room filled with baby plants. But these were no ordinary plants. Giant avocado seeds had sprouted into various stages of growth, and celery was placed delicately in a pool of water, slowly reproducing. I even spotted pineapple crowns that appeared to be growing new bodies. Most of us are happy enough with a few herbs and tomatoes. Some plants are just easier to grow than others. If your thumb is light green like ours, try these seeds that are easier to grow in cups

Used coffee pods are not the only containers you can use to start plants. In this video, Goodful teaches us how to use many household items to make seed starters. Including: 

  • Fruit containers (built in drainage and greenhouse!)
  • Citrus rinds (biodegradable!)
  • Glass jars
  • Egg cartons (biodegradable!)
  • Yogurt cups
  • Paper towel rolls (biodegradable!)
  • Milk jugs (built in greenhouse!)
  • Newspaper (biodegradable!)
  • Plastic bottles (self watering!)

Using K-Cup® pods for seed starting is an excellent step towards waste reduction. Yet, as the adage goes, there is more than one way to skin a cat. You can repurpose these pods for organizing, crafting, games, and more. Happy Hooligans, for instance, has shared 25 innovative ways to upcycle Keurig® K-Cup® capsules in this article.

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Keurig® Home Brewers and K-Cup® pods offered for sale on this website are only available to home consumers in the United States. We are not authorized to sell Keurig® Home Brewers or K-Cup® pods to business customers via our website please call 888 774 6939 or for further information. Best price guarantee is valid for named brand K-Cup® pods or Keurig® brewer only. K-Cup® pods and special promotions listed on are while supplies last, no rainchecks available. Standard shipping rates apply. Promotions may be combined with other coupon codes offered through Does not apply to previously purchased items. Cross Country Cafe claims the right to adjust, change, and modify all offers without notice.

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