Best Seed Starting Trays: Top 6 Trays for Happy Seedlings

best-seed-starting-trays
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We’ve started a lot of seeds over the years and decided to compile a list of the best seed starting trays. Let’s start with our absolute favorite, the Burpee SuperSeed 16XL.

Our Favorite

Burpee SuperSeed Seed Starting Tray 16XL
  • EASIER SEED STARTING: Our Burpee SuperSeed tray with 16 extra-large flexible pop-out cells is designed to simplify indoor seed starting. Just add seed starting mix, seeds, water and light to get…

I am always on the lookout for products that make my gardening experience more enjoyable and efficient. The Burpee SuperSeed Seed Starting Tray has proven to be an excellent addition to my collection of gardening tools.

Pros

  • Sturdy construction: Made of high-quality, durable materials that ensures that the tray will last for multiple planting seasons.
  • Excellent drainage: The tray’s bottom features multiple, large drainage holes, which prevent over-watering and promote healthy root growth.
  • Easy transplanting: The tray’s individual cells are generously sized and have a silicone bottom to facilitate easy transplanting of seedlings without damaging their delicate roots.
  • Versatile: Can accommodate a wide range of seed types, from vegetables and herbs to flowers and deep-rooted plants.
  • No need for plant tags: The plant-o-gram alphanumeric grid allows you to keep track of what’s planted where without needing markers.

Cons

  • Price: Slightly more expensive than some other seed starting trays available on the market.

Why Start Plants from Seed

Starting plants from seed offers a range of benefits compared to purchasing nursery-grown plants. These advantages make seed starting an attractive option for many gardeners, from beginners to experienced enthusiasts. Here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Cost-effectiveness: Growing plants from seeds can be significantly more economical than buying nursery plants. Seeds are generally cheaper and can be purchased in larger quantities. This allows you to grow a greater number of plants at a fraction of the cost of purchasing nursery-grown plants.
  2. Variety: When you choose to start plants from seeds, you have access to a vast array of plant varieties that may not be available at your local nursery. This enables you to grow unique and heirloom varieties that can be difficult to find as nursery plants. The wider selection also allows for more creativity and customization in your garden design.
  3. Satisfaction: There is a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in nurturing plants from seed to maturity. Watching the seeds germinate and grow into healthy, mature plants can be a gratifying and educational experience for both new and experienced gardeners.
  4. Learning opportunity: Growing plants from seeds offers a unique opportunity to learn about the life cycle of plants, as well as the specific needs and characteristics of each variety. This knowledge can be valuable in developing your gardening skills and understanding of plant care.

Summary Of The Best Seed Starting Trays

Best OverallBurpee SuperSeed 16XL
ComboSoligt Seed Starting Package
Small TraysYAUNGEL Seed Starter Trays
ReusableBurpee SuperSeed 36 Cell Trays
BiodegradableEco Pots Biodegradable Trays
Self WateringBurpee Self-Watering Seed Starter Tray

More details on these products can be found below.

seedlings-in-best-seed-starting-trays

Why Use the Best Seed Starting Trays

Choosing the best seed starting trays can have a significant impact on your gardening experience and the success of your seedlings. Select high-quality trays that cater to the specific needs of your plants.

Investing in durable, high-quality seed starting trays can be reused for multiple growing seasons and save you money in the long run.

The best seed starting trays have numerous benefits, including improved germination rates, healthier seedlings, easier transplanting, better organization, and ultimately, a more enjoyable and successful gardening experience.

By using high-quality trays that cater to the specific needs of your plants and a sterile seed starting mix, you can set the stage for a thriving garden.

Our Picks for the Best Seed Starting Trays

Best Combo

Sale
2 Set 60-Cell Seed Starter Kit
  • Value Package: Includes 2 seed growing trays with 60 cells in each, 2 trays to fit underneath, 2 clear matching humidity domes, and two 10” x 20.75” seedling heat mats, makes it a complet set and…

An excellent choice for gardeners looking to start a large number of seeds in an organized and efficient manner. This comprehensive kit provided me with a reliable and effective way to kickstart my gardening season.

Pros:

  • High capacity: Each tray in this set comes with 60 cells, providing ample space for starting a large number of seeds. With three trays included, you have a total of 120 cells.
  • Durable construction: These seed starting trays are made of strong, high-quality plastic, ensuring their longevity and ability to withstand the rigors of gardening.
  • Humidity dome included: Each tray comes with a clear plastic humidity dome, which helps maintain the ideal humidity levels for seed germination.
  • Heat mats included: Each tray comes with a heat mat ensuring the ideal temperature for seed germination.
  • Drainage holes: The trays are designed with drainage holes at the bottom of each cell, preventing over-watering and promoting healthy root growth.

Cons:

  • No thermostats: Although the heat mats are included, you’ll need to provide a thermostat to regulate the temperature.
  • Size: All cells attached, may be inconvenient for transplanting into the garden.

Best Small Trays

Sale
YAUNGEL Seed Starter Tray, 10 Pack 120 Cells
  • Upgrade Heightened Lid: Increased the height of the lid to provide ample room for flowers, vegetables, fruits, herbs and other plants to grow. It is not only suitable for seed germination but also…

This versatile and well-designed set of seed starting tray offers several features that make it stand out among its competitors.The adjustable dome, durable construction, and efficient drainage system make this tray set a great investment for any gardener.

Pros:

  • Tall vented domes: The clear plastic domes included with this set feature an adjustable vent, allowing you to customize the environment for your seedlings.
  • Durable construction: Their sturdy construction ensures that the tray can be used for multiple planting seasons, offering great value for money.
  • Efficient drainage system: Designed with a built-in drainage system that effectively prevents over-watering and promotes healthy root growth.
  • Large number of cells: The set has 10 trays with 12 cells each to accommodate a total of 120 seedlings.
  • Plant markers included: Easily mark the cells with the included plastic plant markers.

Cons:

  • No standard cell size: Cells are slightly smaller than the standard cell packs. However, they are a bit deeper for root development.

Best Reusable

Burpee SuperSeed Seed Starting Tray 32 Cell
  • EASIER SEED STARTING: Our Burpee SuperSeed tray with 36 flexible pop-out cells is designed to simplify indoor seed starting for all your favorite vegetables, flowers and herbs. Just add seed starting…

These Burpee seed starting trays have been a game-changer for my gardening. They’re high-quality, durable, and well-designed. The trays feature deep cells and an efficient drainage system. They’re a must-have for any serious gardener.

Pros:

  • Deep cells: The Burpee SuperSeed tray features deep cells that provide ample space for root growth.
  • Efficient drainage system: This seed starting tray is designed with large drainage holes at the bottom of each cell.
  • Durable construction: Made of high-quality plastic, the Burpee SuperSeed tray is built to last, offering great value for your money.
  • No need for plant tags: The plant-o-gram alphanumeric grid allows you to keep track of whats planted where without needing markers.
  • Easy transplanting: The individual cells and the silicone cells bottoms make it easy to transplant seedlings without damaging their roots.

Cons:

  • No humidity dome: No dome included, although a standard dome fits over two of these trays side-by-side.
  • Price: Slightly more expensive than some other seed starting trays on the market.

Best Biodegradable

Made from eco-friendly materials, these seed starting trays offer an excellent alternative to traditional plastic trays while providing a nurturing environment for seed germination.

Pros:

  • Eco-friendly: These seed starting trays are made from biodegradable environmentally friendly materials.
  • Plant directly into the ground: The biodegradable nature of the trays allows you to plant the entire tray directly into the ground, eliminating the need for transplanting and minimizing the risk of damaging the delicate roots of your seedlings.
  • Moisture retention: The material used in the construction of these trays has excellent moisture retention properties.
  • Suitable for various plant types: The trays are designed to be compatible with a wide range of plant types.

Cons:

  • One time use: Not reusable in multiple growing seasons, which could be a disadvantage for some gardeners.
  • Water management: The trays are designed to retain moisture; they do not have drainage holes. Caution when watering.

Best Self Watering

Sale
Burpee 72 Cell Self-Watering Seed Starting Kit
  • GROW LIKE A PRO: Complete indoor seed starting set includes two 36 cell planting trays, two plant stands, one self-watering mat, one water reservoir tray, 72 super growing pellets, and a dome cover….

The self-watering system, high capacity, and included humidity dome make this kit an excellent investment for gardeners who want to simplify their seed starting process.

Pros:

  • Self-watering system: The capillary mat and reservoir work together to provide water to the seedlings as needed, reducing the risk of over-watering or under-watering.
  • High capacity: With 72 cells it is suitable for gardeners with ambitious planting plans or those who want to grow a variety of plants.
  • Durable construction: The tray is made of sturdy, high-quality plastic, ensuring its longevity and ability to withstand the rigors of gardening.
  • Humidity dome included: The kit comes with a clear plastic humidity dome that helps maintain the ideal temperature and humidity levels for seed germination.
  • Starter pellets included: Rehydrate the coco coir pellets and plant your seeds, it’s easy as that.

Cons:

  • Price: The Burpee 72 Cell Self-Watering Seed Starting Kit is slightly more expensive than some other seed starting trays on the market.
  • Pellets are one time use: You’ll either need to purchase additional coco coir pellets or fill with soil to reuse the tray.

Thing to Consider When Choosing the Best Seed Starting Trays

When choosing the best seed starting trays for your gardening needs, there are several factors to consider. These factors will help you select the right trays that will enhance the germination process and make it easier for you to manage your seedlings. Here are some key aspects to consider:

Material/Construction

Seed starting trays are made from various materials, such as plastic, biodegradable materials like peat or coir, and even metal or ceramic. Plastic trays are the most common, as they are durable and reusable, but biodegradable options are more eco-friendly and can be planted directly into the soil without disturbing the roots. Choose the material that best suits your preferences and gardening practices.

Tray size and amount of cells

Seed starting trays come in various sizes, with different numbers of cells. Consider the number of plants you want to grow and the available space for the trays in your growing area. Larger trays can hold more seeds, but they may be harder to manage and take up more space. Smaller trays may be more convenient for those with limited space or who want to grow fewer plants.

Cell size and depth

The size and depth of the cells in a seed starting tray are essential, as they determine the size of the seedlings that can be grown and how much space their roots will have to develop. Larger cells are suitable for plants with deeper root systems, while smaller cells are ideal for plants with shallow roots. Make sure to choose a tray with cell sizes that match the needs of the seeds you will be planting.

Drainage

Proper drainage is crucial for healthy seedling growth. Trays should have drainage holes in each cell or at the bottom of the tray to allow excess water to escape and prevent root rot. Some trays come with a separate bottom tray to catch the drained water, which can be helpful in maintaining a clean growing area.

Reusability and durability

If you plan to use your seed starting trays for multiple growing seasons, consider the durability of the trays. Higher-quality materials and construction will ensure that the trays can withstand repeated use without cracking or breaking. This will also save you money in the long run, as you won’t have to replace trays as often.

Price

Seed starting trays can vary significantly in price, so it’s important to consider your budget when making your decision. While more expensive trays may offer better durability and features, more affordable options can still provide satisfactory results for many gardeners.

Accessories

Humidity Dome

Many seed starting trays come with a clear plastic dome or cover, which helps to retain moisture and maintain a stable temperature for the seeds. This can enhance germination rates and ensure more consistent growth. If this feature is important to you, look for trays that include a humidity dome.

Seedling Heat Mat

Depending on what type of plants you’ll be growing, a seedling heat mat can be invaluable. Warm weather vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes need the soil to be over 75F to germinate properly. NOTE: Always use a temperature control thermostat with a heat mat.

Plant Tags

As you sow your seeds, you’ll need to label the cells. Plant tags can be inexpensive plastic plant tags or nice wooden markers. You could even use a popsicle stick.

Final Thoughts

We always list our favorite product at the top of the page, in this case it’s the Burpee SuperSeed 16XL. We feel that the durability, functionality, and cell size of these seed starting trays is superior and will suite the needs of most gardeners. However, for those on a budget or just starting out, the small trays are the most cost-effective choice and it even includes humidity domes.

I hope this review has been helpful in finding the best seed starting trays for your application. If you are looking for seeds to fill your trays, please feel free to visit our seed store.

FAQ: Seed Starting Trays

Does it save money starting seeds?

Consider this…a packet of seeds that will grow 20 plants may only buy one or two seedlings from a nursery. Of course, there will be an initial investment in equipment. However, buying quality planting tools that will give you years of enjoyment will pay for itself in no time. Check out this link for more ways to save money when starting seeds.

How many seed starting trays do I need?

Once you have figured out how many plants you will have in your garden, there are a few things to consider. Some gardeners choose to grow multiples of each plant in case some seedlings don’t survive. However, this requires more trays. To save space, many gardeners choose to plant more seeds per cell. This reduces the number of seed starting trays needed and ensures at least one of your seeds will sprout. If there are many seeds growing in each cell, you can remove the weakest seedlings later.

Do I need a humidity dome?

A humidity dome will increase your chances of success when growing from seed. Even some of the best seed starter trays don’t come with a humidity dome, but these can be purchased separately for a reasonable price.

Should I use a seedling heat mat?

Cold-weather crops like spinach, lettuce, and other leafy greens don’t need a heat mat as long as the temperature you start planting at is above 60 F. For warm climate plants like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc., keep the soil temperature at 75-80 F for the best germination time and rate. If you can’t reach these temperatures naturally, consider investing in a seedling heat mat and thermostat. NOTE: ALWAYS use a temperature controller (thermostat) with the heating pad. They are not always included with heating mats, but a thermostat that controls the temperature can be purchased separately. Using the heat mat without a thermostat will most likely result in the seed overheating.

Can I reuse seed starting trays?

With the exception of biodegradable trays, most of the best seed starting trays are reusable if caution is taken when removing seedlings. Even the cheapest plastic trays can be used over and over again. However, we recommend Burpee SuperSeed seed starting trays for ease of use and maximum life.

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