In this guide we’ll look at the best seed trays for the UK market.
We’ve compared size, ease-of-use, eco-friendliness and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Are The Best Seed Trays?
More Detailed Seed Tray Reviews
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Pack of 10 Britten & James® Professional Seed Trays Review
This Pack of 10 Britten & James® Professional Seed trays offer the best plastic seed trays because they are a good size, with a nice depth and are also long-lasting thanks to their injection-moulded plastic construction.
These seed trays are robustly constructed from 2mm thick plastic providing stability and strength and ensuring they will last for many seasons. In addition, the trays are made from UV stabilized plastic which helps them to resist fading and cracking. The seed trays feature plenty of drainage holes, so your seedlings don’t get waterlogged and rot.
The trays are nice and deep allowing you to grow larger plants in them easily. They have a depth of 2 and a half inches which is deep enough to start large seedlings such as squashes and even strawberry plants in them. They are also rigid enough to support larger plants and can be moved around without risk of them splitting. This makes them the best deep seed trays.
This is a great option if you want the best seed trays that are sturdy as well as being nice and deep. This option will also last you multiple growing seasons without splitting or cracking.
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Nutley's Full-Size Seed Tray (Pack of 6) Review
The Nutley’s Full-Size Seed Tray are another good option because they are lightweight, made from recycled plastic and it’s easy to remove plants for planting on.
These are a lightweight seed trays that can be easily transported and stored when not in use. They are made from recycled plastic which is great as it reduces the impact on the environment.
This option comes with no drainage holes, but they do have drainage channels in the base. It is also easy to make some holes, and this allows you to create the perfect amount of drainage for the plants you are growing. The trays are very flexible, and this makes it easy to remove the seedlings for planting on.
This is a good option if you want a light, flexible seed tray with no drainage holes and easy plant removal.
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Bosmere Seed and Cutting Tray with 40 Pots Review
The Bosmere Seed and Cutting Tray with 40 Pots is the best modular seed tray because it has 40 removable pots, it’s solid and durable and provides good drainage.
The seed tray has spaces for the included 40 pots to go in. This is different from a traditional seed tray but allows for very easy management of your seeds and plants. Once one seedling is ready for transplanting, you can easily move it on without disturbing other plants. You can also grow multiple different plants in the seed tray easily. The tray is also ideal for making cuttings.
This product is well built with a good solid base and sturdy but flexible pots that can easily be removed from the holding tray. The pots and tray have good drainage to stop plants from becoming waterlogged. If you are using the tray inside be mindful that it will drain excess water out of the bottom.
This is a great option for you if you want a modular system that allows for versatile planting and is easy to use.
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Garland 6 x Standard Full-Size Seed Trays Review
The Garland 6 x Standard Full-Size Seed Trays are another good choice thanks to the recycled plastic used, their good drainage holes, and their sturdy construction.
This product is made from recycled plastic limiting your effect on the environment. The plastic is injection moulded and is quite rigid and robust so these trays should last a good few seasons. The trays have a decent amount of drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, root rot and mould growth
This product makes a good choice if you want a classic seed tray that is built well with good drainage.
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Bosmere Garden Care Seed Tray Inserts, 24 Cells, Pack of 5 Review
The Bosmere Garden Care Seed Tray Inserts is a good choice if you want individual inserts, easy plant removal, and good drainage.
This seed tray is designed to grow one plant per insert. This allows you to remove the plants once they are ready without disturbing the others. Removing the plants is very simple thanks to the flexible nature of the trays. They have drainage channels in each insert to ensure your plants don’t sit in water. These seed tray inserts offer versatility as you can plant different seeds or cuttings at the same time and remove each when they are ready without disturbing the other sections. The inserts can be fitted into a seed tray for extra stability.
This is a good option if you want an individual insert system for your seed tray that provides good drainage and makes it easy to remove your seedlings when it is time for planting on.
Seed Tray Buyer’s Guide
The size seed tray you choose will depend on what you are growing and how much room you have available. Seed trays often come in a standard size which is 38 x 11 x 24 cm. You can also buy mini seed trays if you only want to grow a few seeds.
Sturdy injection moulded plastic is often used for the strongest seed trays. Some are made of a thinner plastic that has a little more flex in. More flex can make it easier to remove delicate plants from your seed trays but probably won’t last as long. Sturdier plastic is better for sturdier plants that can cope with a little more manhandling when being removed from the seed tray. These types of seeds trays will also last longer.
Look for trays made from recycled plastic as this has less environmental impact.
The capacity of your seed tray will depend on the type of plants you are growing. Larger and deeper trays will hold more seedlings and are also suitable for growing larger seedlings such as squashes and sunflowers.
Remember not to overplant your seed trays or the plants might not get enough nutrients and water.
Modular seed trays provide 1 small pot or module per seedling. This makes it easy to calculate the capacity of the tray as each module will hold one plant.
If you are growing seedlings that are quite large or have deep roots you should choose a nice deep seed tray. This will ensure the plants have plenty of room for root development and will also ensure they receive adequate nutrition and moisture. Plants grown in deep seed trays have good root systems and are easier to transplant. With deep seed trays, you can also grow crops such as salad leaves to maturity.
For smaller seeds, a shallower tray will be perfectly adequate.
If you choose a robust, well-made product it will last for multiple seasons. This saves you time and money in purchasing new seed trays. It is also good as it saves wasting plastic buying new trays every year. Just remember to thoroughly clean the seed trays between uses to prevent spreading pests and diseases to your new crops.
How to use seed starting trays?
Getting the correct compost is the first step towards success with seed trays. You will need specialist seed or cutting compost. This has the right amount of nutrients for seedlings and ensures you don’t get leggy growth. This type of compost is also nice a light so it doesn’t impede root growth.
Fill the seed tray or individual pots with this soil up to around 1-2 cm from the top of the tray to allow for watering.
Use your hand or a board to lightly firm the soil and ensure it is even.
Once your soil is firm you are ready to plant your seeds according to the instructions of the packet. Different seeds will like different treatment. Some can be sprinkled on the surface and then covered with a very light covering of compost. Other seeds prefer to be buried a bit deeper.
Spray the seed tray with a mister to provide adequate water without disturbing the seeds.
Depending on the seeds you are growing, you may need to cover the tray with cling film or a lid.
How to remove seedlings from seed trays?
It’s important to remove seedlings carefully to ensure you do not damage the stems or roots.
It can sometimes be tricky to remove seedlings from a traditional open seed tray but as long as you are careful and gentle your seedlings will be fine. To start with, you should loosen the soil around the seedling and then gently scoop up the seedling up by insert your fingers beneath it, ensuring you get all the roots.
You can also by special tools online or at garden centres to help you remove seedlings from the tray if they are particularly delicate.
For modular designs that have one plant per space, you can simply insert your finger down the edges of the pot and scoop out the soil and roots. Flexible modules can be pushed from the bottom, but this sometimes damages the tray.
Seeds trays are a great way to get a head start on your gardening for the year, allowing you to grow fruit and vegetables ready for transplanting once all chance of frost has passed. Seed trays make it very easy to grow lots of plants, so you have plenty to fill the garden with once the weather warms.
I recommend the Pack of 10 Britten & James® Professional Seed trays as they are robust and good quality and will last for many years as well as being deep enough to give your seedlings the best start in life.