There are lots of ways you can make drainage holes, but with this method, you’ll have an entire stack of cheap plastic cups ready for planting in no time – proper drainage included.
When you’re getting started in growing plants from seed, there are so many options in which you can start your seeds. One of cheapest ways I’ve found is by using those oh-so-familiar red plastic cups. They’re cheap (or free, if you collect and re-use the ones after a party) and with this method of creating drainage holes, you’ll save so much time.
I’ve heard of lots of ways to create drainage holes in cheap plastic cups so your seedlings don’t drown.
- burn small holes in the bottom with a lighter or candle
- use a large nail and hammer
- use the blade of a jack knife or “multi-tool”
- use the end of a screwdriver, heated up, and burnt through the bottom
I don’t know about you, but all those methods sound dangerous and/or fume-y (the smell of melting plastic is not my jam).
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Enter my favorite way to create drainage
All you’ll need is:
- a stack of 18 oz. plastic party cups
- a drill with a medium sized drill bit <- check out the cute pink drills there! *love* (also: it doesn’t really matter too much what size drill bit you choose)
Stack up as many cups as you think your drill bit can get through. I don’t measure this – just eyeball it.
Then drill two or three holes through the bottom of the cup stack.
That’s it!!! Soooooooo much faster and easier than any of the above methods. And no fire or sharp or blazing hot objects involved. Are the holes perfect and smooth? No, but not a single one of my plants has complained. 😉
I used this method after I’d already potted up a bunch of standard sized seed trays a friend had gifted me. I think the only downside to this would be that the plastic cups take up more space than your standard seed trays or peat pellets. However, considering that I won’t have to transplant anything that I plant in my solo cups, I think it’s worth it.
The 18 oz. plastic cup method works especially well for larger plants such as tomatoes, peppers, sunflowers, beans or peas. I’ll probably continue to use the standard seed starter trays for smaller crops such as herbs, flowers and such.
Are you new to planting from seed? My seed starting post here has everything you need to know to get you going. And this YouTube channel is one of my favorite resources for all things gardening.
Have you used plastic cups for starting seeds before?
Do you have a method you prefer for making sure your plants don’t drown?
I always love to hear what other people are doing and learn of other processes. Tell me what you do in the comments!