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How to Grow Seeds in Paper Towels

By Joshua Duvauchelle ; Updated September 21, 2017

There are several reasons for sprouting seeds, such as for human consumption as a tasty addition to a salad or sandwich, or for future planting. Though you can buy a commercially made seed sprouting kit, you can sprout and grow seeds at home using plain paper towels. Whether you're growing seeds for food or planting, doing it at home is often cheaper than either buying sprouts or potted seedlings.

Place two sheets of paper towel on a dinner plate that's big enough to hold the paper towels.

Scatter seeds on the paper towels. Make sure the seeds are not touching if you plan to plant the seeds after they've sprouted. If the seeds are touching, the seedlings will become tangled.

Layer two more sheets of paper towel on top of the seeds.

Fill a plastic spray bottle with water and spritz the water onto the paper towels until they are fully soaked. Set the plate in a cool and dark area, such as a closet or cupboard. Continue to mist the paper towels to keep them perpetually moist. The seeds will sprout, typically within seven to 14 days.

Peel off the top two paper towels to expose the sprouted seeds. Eat the sprouts, if you're growing edible plants. If you want to plant the sprouts, fill a pot with soil-less potting mix. Dig a hole that's 1/2 to 1 inch deep and vertically insert a sprouted seed into the hole, leafy side facing upward. Cover with the potting mix and spritz with the water bottle to moisten.


Things You Will Need

  • Paper towels
  • Dinner plate
  • Water
  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Seeds
  • Pot with potting mix (optional)

About the Author


Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.