While some seeds can be sown directly into your flowerbeds or vegetable gardens and will thrive without much help at all, others are more delicate or temperamental and require a little more care and attention.
With many species, you will see a much higher success rate if you start the seeds off indoors and then transfer them to your yard when they are ready. For these kinds of seed, you need the best seed starting kit – so here we give you our top picks.
Our Top Recommended
If you are looking for an affordable and effective seed starting kit, Window Garden Seed Starting Kit should be of interest. It includes everything you need to get started growing almost any kind of plant from seed and offers high rates of success.
It includes 30 fiber soil starters made of coconut coir, providing a sterile medium that allows seeds to germinate and thrive while also greatly facilitating transplantation of young plants with minimum disruption. A highly recommended product that is both practical and fun to use.
There are many seed starter kits currently on the market, and with so many choices, picking the right one can be a bit of a headache. If you are looking for a seed starter kit, here are some of the things you should be looking at to help you decide.
Almost all seed starter kits will have a dome, usually made of plastic, that acts as a mini greenhouse.
The first thing to notice is the size of the dome. Will it be large enough to accommodate the kind of plants you want to grow in it? Some plants may outgrow a smaller dome before they are ready to be transplanted.
Another feature you should pay attention to is whether the dome has a vent that allows you to control the internal humidity. Some domes have adjustable openings that allow you to adapt the environment to the type of plants inside.
Cell size and number
The size and number of cells in the growing tray is another key feature to consider. Larger plants require more space to develop strong and healthy roots – but larger cells will mean you can only grow fewer plants.
Will each cell be large enough to accommodate the species you plan to grow? And will you have enough cells to contain all the seeds you want to plant?
Most growing kits are designed to be multiple-use products – however, this doesn’t mean the durability and quality of all growing kits are the same.
Some products are made of cheap, flimsy materials – you will be able to reuse them at least a couple of times, but they are not designed for long-term use.
On the other hand, some products are made of superior, long-lasting materials that you will be able to turn to season after season.
Stronger materials will usually cost more but they will save you money over time. They are also better for the environment since you won’t be throwing them out after a couple of uses and replacing them with new ones.
Check to see if a growing kit you are interested in comes with a growing medium. You shouldn’t use soil from your garden to germinate seeds since it will probably contain contaminants like weed seeds.
Some growing kits include a sterile growing medium that is ideal for the germination of seeds and the growth of seedlings. Choosing a kit that comes with the growing medium means you will be ready to start right away and won’t need to think about buying anything else.
Growing plants from seed is a great way to encourage young kids to take an interest in gardening, but some kits make the activity more interesting than others.
Kits that look fun, include cool garden tools or that allow you to see the roots developing inside have more educational value than simple, functional kits that are just meant to produce results with no added frills.
The Best Seed Starting Kits on the Market 2019
1. TOP PICK – Window Garden Seed Starting Kit
The three basic elements required for successfully germinating seeds and nurturing the young plants through the seedling stage are a warm environment, constant moisture and a viable seed.
While you are responsible for the third of these, this seed starting kit from Window Garden provides optimum conditions in terms of the other two elements to give your seeds the best possible start.
The pack includes three reusable mini greenhouses with dimensions of 10” x 4”, the ideal size for windowsills, to provide the moist and warm environment your seeds need to germinate.
Along with these, you are provided with 30 fiber soil starters made of coconut coir to plant your seeds in – these are particularly suitable for growing plants from seeds for a number of reasons.
Coconut coir fiber seed starters provide a sterile medium that’s free of contaminants, so your new plants won’t have to battle with weeds as soon as they sprout. The seed starters also retain moisture well, ensuring seeds don’t dry out, one of the main reasons seeds fail to grow.
These seed starters are perfect for encouraging strong and thick root growth, rather than causing roots to become tangled, as they can in traditional pots. Roots are “air pruned” since when they reach the sides, they naturally stop growing.
Furthermore, these starters are also extremely practical when it comes to the transplanting stage. Since you don’t need to remove the plants from the starter fiber and can just plant the whole thing directly into the soil, there is minimal disruption to the root system.
What we really like about this kit is the way everything is simplified as much as possible at each step of the process. The whole kit is designed to protect your seeds and give them the best chance of germinating, growing and being transplanted successfully.
This kit is suitable for almost any kind of seed and can be used by adults or kids alike. It is practical and fun to use and would make a great educational project for children as well an ideal way to ensure your seeds can grow.
An excellent product and one that sells at a very reasonable price.
- Coconut coir seed starter – helps seeds germinate and easy to transplant
- Three reusable greenhouses – keeps the environment moist and warm
- Perfect size – the greenhouses are ideal for placing on windowsills
- Air pruning system for roots – ensures root system grows thick and strong
- Easy to use and high chance of success – makes growing from seed easy
- Not as high quality as some other products – but very acceptable for the price
- Plastic greenhouses a little flimsy – need to be careful not to break them
2. RUNNER UP PICK – KORAM 10-Pack Seed Starter Trays
If you are looking for a starter kit to grow up to 60 plants, even ones of larger sizes, this could be an ideal pick. The growing trays are divided into six larger-then-average cells of 1.9” that can comfortably accommodate young seedlings like tomatoes or peppers.
One of the things we like about this kit is the amount of equipment that is supplied with it. Included in the pack are ten trays and the accompanying domes, each holding up to six plants. This gives you plenty of scope and flexibility to grow all the plants you need.
The greenhouses are designed to maximize heat transfer efficiency, helping to maintain an even temperature while at the same time ensuring the soil remains humid and doesn’t dry out.
We particularly like the vents at the top of each dome. These allow you to control the humidity inside and customize it to the preferences of the specific plants you want to grow.
The equipment is made of flexible but relatively durable plastic. As long as you look after your trays and domes, you will be able to use them time and time again.
The bottom of each tray is reinforced to make sure you won’t damage it – this also helps when it comes to transferring your seedlings to larger pots or to their new homes outside. Each cell also features an efficient drainage hole to ensure the soil doesn’t become waterlogged.
We also like the way the kit includes several non-essential but useful extras. Along with the trays and domes, you also receive plant labels for each greenhouse along with a “dibber” and a “widger” to help you work with your sprouting plants.
The only downside is that the growing medium is not provided, and you will need to buy your own separately before you can start planting.
All in all, this is a great kit that will allow you to get started with growing plants of all kinds in your home until they are ready to be transplanted to larger pots or into the garden. The kit is fun to use and represents great value for money. A recommended product.
- Larger 1.9” cells – makes this kit suitable for even larger plant species
- Includes ten sets of trays and domes – enough to start up to 60 seeds at a time
- Adjustable humidity feature – domes allow you to control the humidity inside
- Efficient heat transfer – designed to ensure the temperature of the soil stays stable
- Reinforced trays – hard to damage and easy to transfer plants
- Soil starter not included – need to provide own growing medium
- Lid doesn’t clip in place – it only sits on the top and can be knocked off
3. GREAT EDUCATIONAL ITEM – 10 Set Seedling Trays Seed Starter Kit
This is another great seed starter kit that is ideal for growing all kinds of plants in your home. Two versions are available – one with six 1.9” cells per tray or another with 12 smaller cells per tray. This gives you the flexibility to choose the option most suited to your needs.
The kit includes ten sets of trays, bases and domes, allowing you to grow 60 plants – or even up to 120 plants, depending on the type you choose – which means you will be able to start growing large numbers of seeds all at once with only one kit.
The most outstanding innovation with this kit is the transparent seed trays. You place the tray in the base and put the dome over the top for growing – but you can also remove the trays from the base to see how the roots are doing without the need to disturb the plants.
We also like the humidity vents in the domes. They are easy to operate and allow you to control the humidity inside from 50% humidity up to 100% humidity – ideal for adjusting the growing conditions according to the types of plants you are trying to grow.
The trays are also relatively sturdy – while you could easily poke a finger through one if you tried, as long as you are careful with them, you will be able to use them for many growing cycles.
They are also heat-resistant, meaning they can be placed on heat mats to aid the germination and growing process – they can withstand temperatures of up to 120°F.
This is another great seed starting kit – and due to the transparent trays, also one that will appeal to kids since they will love being able to see the roots growing inside. Another top pick for all seed starting uses.
- Clear seed trays – great innovation allows you to observe root development
- 6 large 1.9” cells – also available in a 12-cell format
- Humidity vents in dome – can adjust humidity from 50% to 100%
- Heat mat resistant – can withstand temperatures of up to 120°F
- Long lasting – made of durable plastic that will last at least several planting cycles
- Slightly higher price than competitors – but a quality product and still good value
- Lacks the small garden tools that other sets offer – but only a minor complaint
4. TOP BUDGET PICK – Jiffy J450 42mm Professional Greenhouse 50-Plant Starter Kit
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best, and if that’s a sentiment you agree with, this seed starter kit from Jiffy should appeal.
Included in the pack is a tray with dimensions of 21” x 11”, a lid of the same dimensions and 50 peat pots that serve as the growing medium. With the lid in place, the height is about 6”, and the whole thing is the perfect size to install on a windowsill or any other convenient space.
All you need to do to start your seeds growing is to place one seed inside each peat pot and add water. When watered, the peat pots expand, providing the ideal growing environment for just about any kind of seed to germinate and thrive.
You keep the peat pots inside the tray and cover with the lid. This helps keep the environment warm and humid and ensures the soil doesn’t dry out.
This is an extremely simple method – something that will be a big plus to many people – but it is also highly effective. When using this kind of setup, assuming you have viable seeds, you will find that a high proportion of them germinate and grow into young plants.
Since there are no plastic pots involved, when the time comes to transplant them to your garden or a larger pot, you simply transplant the whole thing and the plants continue growing. This minimizes any potentially harmful disruption during the transplantation process.
This kind of kit is also very inexpensive. You have everything you need to grow up to 50 separate plants.
This also makes it a possibility if you want to grow plants with your kids since you won’t need to waste lots of money on unnecessary gimmicks – although some kids might find the setup somewhat limited.
Similarly, if you are buying these purely for practical purposes and don’t particularly want lots of extras that will end up never being used, this is also a great pick. You have everything you need to start growing plants from seed and nothing else to get in the way.
Overall an inexpensive and effective way to give seeds the best chance of germinating and growing into healthy plants – and so simple, you can hardly go wrong. Another excellent pick.
- Pure simplicity – peat pots, somewhere to store them and nothing else
- Inexpensive option – no need to waste extra money on gimmicks you don’t want
- Peat pots for 50 plants with each kit – plenty to populate a garden or greenhouse
- Ideal size for indoor use – compact dimensions means it won’t take up much space
- Highly effective – viable seeds will sprout with a high rate of success
- Can’t grow 50 plants at once – need to grow them in batches under the lid
- Limited as an educational item – kids might prefer something a little more exciting
5. TOP UPGRADE PICK – Seed Starter Kit 72 Cell Extra Strength
If you are looking for something at the other end of the scale from the Jiffy seed starter above, this could be the ideal option. It is a very high-quality product that sits at the other end of the price range – but if you are willing to pay for a superior item, this could be well worth a look.
The first thing you notice about this starter kit is that it is much sturdier and more substantial than almost anything else on the market.
The tray dimensions are larger than any others we’ve looked at here – they measure 21.25” x 11” and have a depth of 2.25” – but they are also much more durable and are built to last.
While other starter kits we’ve looked at here are designed to be reused as long as you are careful not to break them, these trays are built to withstand the kind of rough treatment they might receive in commercial growing environments.
In fact, they were originally intended for use on a farm.
Each tray contains 72 cells, and the kit comes with two trays, allowing you to start a lot of seeds off at the same time.
The domes – tough and durable like the rest of the kit – also feature humidity control air vents to allow you to adapt the growing environment to the plants you are trying to germinate.
The total height with the domes in place is about 5” – with interior growing space of about 4.5”.
These grow kits have also been slightly redesigned to improve on the original version. The older models had a gap between the bottom of the growing cells and the tray below, meaning you had to fill the tray with quite a lot of water for bottom watering.
This design flaw has now been corrected, meaning this kit works even better than before, making it a great option for larger-scale growing of any kind of seeds you need to plant.
Finally, as gardeners and people who care about the environment, another thing we love about this kit is the fact that using durable material makes this a more ecological option.
Since the trays won’t break easily, quickly ending up in landfill sites, this is a great option if you want to help save the planet too.
This kit will cost you more money than most of its competitors – but if you can afford the initial outlay, it will be money well spent.
- Tough, rugged and built to last – you will be able to use it for many seasons to come
- Better for the environment – since it has a long life, it won’t end up in a landfill site
- Ideal for larger-scale planting operations – each tray has space for up to 72 seeds
- Adjustable humidity control – air vents allow you to control the interior environment
- Improved design for bottom watering – encourages roots to grow strong and deep
- More expensive than other kits – but you expect to pay more for quality
- Need to transplant seedlings manually – more disruptive to the root systems
Different kits for different uses
Germinating seeds into tiny plants and helping them grow and thrive can be a challenge. Seedlings can be delicate and very sensitive to any kind of disturbance – but by choosing one of the five seed starter kits we have looked at here, you will be giving your seeds the best chance of growing into strong and healthy plants or flowers.
My name is Peter Weeks, Writer of The Daily Gardener. Gardening has always been my passion, nothing gives me quite the satisfaction that feeling the soil sift through my fingers does. Give me a spade, a shovel, and a rake, and I can happily while away the day transforming a patch of land into a beautiful oasis. To me, gardening is life. It’s not a career. It’s not a job. It’s something that I truly love doing. It’s a way of life, a passion that I’ve no intention of ever giving up.