Sowing sunflower seeds in paper pots


Recycle newspaper to make paper pots and sow a sunflower seed to grow on at home or for the school garden.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: Late Spring, Early Summer
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science

Learning objectives

  • Discuss the value of recycling
  • Make recyclable pots
  • Learn what a seed needs to germinate and how to care for the seed

Essential background information


If open cans are used, seal the edges with two layers of duct tape to prevent cuts.


  • The 'how to..' newspaper pot card
  • Tin cans (small sweet corn or mushy pea sized cans work well)
  • Duct tape (to cover sharp edges if tins have been opened)
  • Newspaper               
  • Scissors
  • Sunflower seeds      
  • Compost
  • Labels     
  • Pencils/ pens
  • Watering cans / bottles
  • Container to hold pots e.g. milk bottle cut in half

Step by step

  1. Cut or fold strips of newspaper wider than the height of the cans.
  2. Follow the 'how to' guide to make a number of paper pots.
  3. Crumble the compost to remove large lumps and fill the pot to the top. Do not press the compost down firmly.
  4. Use a finger to poke a hole into the centre of the compost, about 2cm deep.
  5. Place one sunflower seed into the hole and cover with a pinch of compost.
  6. Label the pot. Place in a container and gently water the compost until moist.
  7. Move to a sunny warm window ledge. Keep the compost just moist, not wet, until the young seedling emerges.
  8. Once the roots have emerged through the pot, ‘harden off’ the sunflowers. This involves placing them outside in the daytime and taking them in at night. Do this for one week to get them used to outside temperatures.
  9. Plant out into the garden with the paper pot buried in the soil.

Hints & tips

  • Bird food sunflower seed can be used as a cheap alternative but the flowers may be smaller. 
  • This is a good wildlife activity – Grow your own bird food.
  • Take care not to over-water paper pots or their bottoms will disintegrate!
  • Use this activity as part of Flower Power class growing topic

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