Starting your seeds indoors is a great way to cultivate strong healthy plants. Healthy seedings create a simple and predictable gardening experience for indoor and outdoor growing. If you’re looking for the optimal way to germinate your plants, you’ll want to choose the best seed starter kit available.
We’ll consider and examine the level of maintenance, ease of use, durability, and value of each kit in the reviews below. Here is a quick link to each product before we get started:
- MIXC 10-Pack Seed Tray – Best kit for starting lots of seeds
- Window Garden Seed Starting Kit – Best kit for beginners
- Burpee Self-Watering Seed Starter Tray – Best self-watering kit
- Root Farm Seed Starting Kit – Best kit for hydroponic growers
- EarlyGrow Domed Propagator – Best kit for durability
*If you’re in a hurry, I’d recommend the Window Garden Seed Starting Kit as the best one. It’s an all-in-one kit at a great price, perfect for all levels of gardeners.
Benefits of Starting Your Own Seedlings
Giving your seeds a head start indoors ensures a healthy strong plant. Using a seed starter kit provides a simple and fool-proof experience that is especially helpful for beginners. You can also grow more varieties of plants if you start from seed. There may be a limited seedling selection in plant nurseries, however, it is accessible for most to start almost any plant from seed.
How Long Does it Take To Germinate Seeds?
Seeds take, on average, 1 to 3 weeks to germinate. They thrive best in a temperature between 64 F to 75 F. Temperature and moisture have the largest effects on the speed of your plant’s germination process. The warmer the area, the faster the process will go. When using a seed starter, because of the greenhouse effect, plants may start sprouting as fast as 4 or 5 days.
What is a Seed Starter Kit?
A seed starter kit is a container designed to optimally sprout seeds and grow strong plants that can be healthily transplanted into an indoor or outdoor garden. A kit can provide a more controlled environment than other methods of seed starting which makes it a great option for a beginner or intermediate gardener.
A kit will often come with a set of trays, a clear plastic cover, and labels for your seedlings. It may or may not include a growing medium. Growing medium is a soil mixture or other nutrient-rich material that you add to your kit tray and can plant your seeds in.
Although designs may vary, most seed starting kits look like a greenhouse and provide similar benefits to your seedlings. Systems with domes and adjustable vents are good for controlling the humidity and heat inside your seed starting kit, which is important for the germination process. Self-watering kits are especially useful for those who are busy or frequently travel and may not be able to water their seedlings every day.
With these simple but powerful features, kits can accommodate a variety of lifestyles and growing goals.
How to Choose the Best Quality Kit
Durability is a major consideration when choosing your seed starter kit. While a cheaper quality system may do well for a couple of uses, it will end up costing you more money in the long run if you need to replace it after 2 to 3 uses.
How to Choose the Right Size Seed Starter Kit
It’s important that your starter kit is suitable for the type and amount of plants you will be growing. You will want to consider the cells and dome when deciding on the size of your kit.
Each growing kit will have cells in it, and these cells are the different “plots” you will be planting your seeds in. Make sure that there are enough cells for the number of plants you will want to grow.
You’ll also want to make sure that the cells are wide and deep enough for each individual plant. Some grow larger than others and may crowd out a cell quickly. You will need to research the germination process for each individual plant you intend to grow to determine how much space it needs.
The dome is the lid placed on top of your seedling trays and cells. It uses the greenhouse effect to provide warmth and moisture to your seeds and plants.
It’s important to make sure the dome is tall enough to accommodate your plant seedlings. Many domes have adjustable openings that let you control ventilation and humidity levels. This can be a crucial factor for the health of your seedling.
What is Growing Medium?
Growing medium, also known as media, is essential for healthy seed starting. You can use seed starting soil as a medium, as well as several other organic materials. Here are three benefits that growing medium provides your plant in its early stages:
- It gives the roots access to air, water, and nutrients
- It allows for optimal root growth
- It supports the plant by physically holding it up
Some kits include their own growing medium and others do not. If you choose a seed starter kit without a growing medium, be sure to take the time to research the best growing medium to purchase alongside your kit.
Do not use outdoor ground soil when starting your seeds! This can invite in unwelcome microorganisms that may compromise the health of the plant.
The MIXC seed starter kit is perfect if you need several compact trays that don’t take up a lot of space. Its straight forward setup makes is ideal for beginner gardeners. The kit is not the most durable on the market, but it’s more than sturdy enough for indoor and greenhouse use. With care, this unit can be used several times (and even several seasons) in a row.
This kit comes in two sizes that can accommodate both small and large seeds.
The 12 cell variety has a cell size of 1.5” long by 1.5” wide. These trays are best for growing small seeds such as flowers, vegetables, herbs, and certain fruits.
The 6 cell variety has a cell size of 1.9” long by 2.1” wide. These trays are best for growing large seeds such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.
The 12 cell variety provides you with 10 seed starter containers, and each tray holds 12 seedlings, which is a total of 120 plants you can grow at a time. Each container includes a bottom tray, seedling tray, drainage holes, plant ID tags, dome cover, and humidity hole cover.
The seedling tray is clear which allows you to monitor the roots as well as see when they need to be watered. It’s also highly flexible, which allows for an easy transplanting experience when you’re ready to remove the starter plant from the tray.
You’ll want to make sure to get some seed starting potting mix to plant your seeds into this system since it doesn’t come with a growing medium.
This seed starter kit is perfect for the beginner with a small space that wants an all-in-one kit. The trays can be placed in windowsills, or even suction-cupped to the window to save surface space.
This kit includes 3 greenhouses that measure 10” x 4” and each greenhouse has 10 seed cells. Each circular cell is 1.25” in diameter.
You can use the provided 30 fiber soil direct plant seed starters as a growing medium. They’re made out of coconut coir fiber, a popular organic medium.
To use this system, put tap water into the greenhouse tray and lay the flat discs of coconut coir in it. The compressed material will swell up. Pour off most of the water and place a seed in each disk. You’re done! None of the mess or stress that you would get with soil.
Once you’re ready to transplant your seedlings, you can take the entire seed starter and seedling and place it in a planter or garden. This simple process minimizes the possibility of any damage during the move.
“Air pruning” stops the roots from growing beyond the size of the seed starter disk. Since the roots can’t grow outward, they constantly produce new and healthy roots inside the disk. This leads to effortlessly dense and strong seedlings
You can start almost any kind of seed in these trays. You’ll want to make sure the seedlings are warm (preferably by keeping them near a bright window) and regularly watered so they don’t dry out.
The Burpee system is perfect for those who may not be home to water their plants every day. It’s also great if you would like a more hands-off “set it and forget it” experience. Its self-watering feature claims to take care of watering your seedlings for up to ten days.
The self-watering mat also promotes healthier root development and minimizes overwatering. This means one less thing to consider when taking care of your seedlings.
This starter kit is an all-in-one unit, which is great for those who don’t want to buy soil separately. It includes one watering tray, two 36 cell planting trays, a self-watering mat, a reservoir tray, and a dome. It also includes 72 coconut fiber growing pellets that expand into potting mix for your seeds. Each cell measures 1.5” width by 1.5” length by 2” height, which can accommodate most seeds.
The mat draws water up from the reservoir and into each cell, a method very similar to the hydroponic wick method. Covering the kit with the germination lid. This helps to retain moisture and build humidity. After the seeds sprout, you can remove the lid and place your seedlings in the sun for the remainder of the germination process.
This seed starter kit is an excellent option for those who would like to hydroponically grow their plants. The growing medium in this kit provides a smooth transplanting process into a hydroponic system. You won’t have to worry about loose particles breaking down and clogging tubing or pumps.
This item is popular for soil gardeners as well. Many like to begin their seedlings in this system before planting them in pots or gardens, particularly vegetables.
Because the system is all-in-one, it’s beginner-friendly and easy to get started quickly. It is also self-watering which means less daily maintenance.
The kit contains seed starter plugs that are made out of a pre-moistened spongy peat moss material. They maintain their shape and do not need to be spread out as other kits in this article require. Place your seed into the hole of the plug, and fill the tray ¼” full with water. Place your tray in a sunny area or under a grow light.
This tray is designed for the serious gardener that requires a heavy-duty kit. Because it is sturdy, it’s much easier to move around without worrying about it buckling or flexing out of shape like several other kits do.
It’s shatter-proof lid is long-lasting and will not deteriorate under sun or grow lamp light, which prevents warping and extends the life of your unit for longer.
This dome has six vents – two on each end and two on top. This allows for easy adjustments to airflow and humidity. Leave them open to stimulate circulation and strengthen the seedlings. Close them to increase humidity and temperature in the unit.
You can grow your seedlings much longer and larger than in other systems. The included height extenders can provide up to 12.75” of depth in the tray. You have the option to plant a large range of seeds in such a spacious kit.
The longer you allow the plant to grow in the system, the stronger it will be when you transplant it into a planter or the ground.
This tray has space for up to 60 plant units providing 2” by 2” of space for each. These are the largest cell spaces of all of our reviewed kits. However, it does not include a growing medium so you will need to make sure buy that as well.
There are several great options for starting seedlings, however, the Window Garden Seed Starting Kit is the clear winner. It is the best value, providing an all-in-one setup with no additional expenses. It’s also perfect for small spaces and provides the best transplanting experience. This kit will likely make your seedlings “fool-proof”.
Have fun on your germination journey! Providing extra care and support to your seedlings is an important investment in their health. Take the time to tend to them in their younger moments so you can enjoy them when they are thriving in their maturity.