So… There it is. Your beautiful greenhouse is set up and you are ready to start growing. Just order some plant trays and pots and you’re good to go, right? Well, when we first started growing, we were pretty overwhelmed by the million different types of plant trays and didn’t really know where to begin.

So let’s give you an overview of the most common trays and their characteristics.

Propagation trays

Propagation trays or germination trays will allow you to design the perfect environment for the successful germination from seeds. There are many different kinds of germination or propagation trays. The most basic ones are just seed starter trays (more on those below). They are made out of plastic and you plant one seed per cell.

The most advanced propagation trays come with a lid, a grow light and a heat mat, to create the optimal circumstances for seeds to sprout. For basic seed germination, you’re good to go with one of the simple seed trays.

If you are thinking about growing more expensive seeds, such as exotic flowers or special peppers, it might be worth it to invest in a true growing station. This can also be a great option when you experience big temperature fluctuations in the room you’re growing your seeds. A growing station can offer the seeds the stability they need to sprout. You can use this growing station for many years and it will increase your chances of successful germination.

Plant drain trays

Plant drain trays or plant drip trays are plastic trays to put underneath your plant pots. These plant saucers will catch the excess water that drips from your pots. It’s best to stock up on these, as you don’t want your plant pots to be in a puddle of water that can damage your floor or other surfaces. There are many different kinds available and they are not expensive. Make sure the plastic is thick enough, especially if you want the plant drip trays to support heavy pots.

Plant saucers come in many different materials, shapes, sizes and colors. When you’re looking for plant drip trays for your greenhouse, plastic is the way to go. It’s durable, light, and easy to place on any surface. Make sure to measure your plant pots before you set up your order.
If you want a more stylish addition, for instance for flower pots inside your house, you can go for stone or bamboo plant trays. These bamboo plant trays have become more and more popular lately, and we’re a big fan!

Seed starter trays

Seed starter trays are made out of little cells, each one meant to hold a seed or seedling. They come in both plastic or organic materials. The plastic seed starter trays usually come in black, but there are also transparent plastic trays, which allow you to check the root growth on your seedlings.

We usually go for the biodegradable materials and use as little plastic as possible. However, I have become a fan of the transparent plastic trays, as they help you decide when the roots are outgrowing the seed starters and to repot at the right time. As we try to limit our plastic use, we only use the plastic seed trays for the more sensitive seeds.

The difference between a seed starter tray and a propagation tray, is that the propagation trays usually come with extra features to advance the seed germination, such as lids, heat mats and even lighting. A little tip for seed starter trays, don’t forget to label them. And yes, we’ve learned that one from experience.