How-To & Diy

Sprouting Seedlings in Eggshells

April 16, 2014

Every other week, Anna Hezel talks about the innovations, decorations, and other quiet touches that make a party memorable.

Today: How to plant a garden that will fit on your windowsill.

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This week, Central Park is a sea of the purple and yellow dots of crocuses and daffodils, and the first green buds are showing up on the trees along 5th Avenue. The lobbies of buildings are filling up with bouquets of lilies and tulips, and the Union Square Greenmarket is full of radishes and greens and herbs.

I can’t help but feel a little plant envy when green things start sprouting up all over the city, so this year I decided to take matters into my own hands. I created a teeny-tiny little garden of my own, inside my apartment, by hollowing out a few egg shells and planting seeds for several different herbs and flowers.

In addition to being nice windowsill decorations, seedlings planted in eggshells make perfect hostess gifts and centerpieces. You can repurpose dyed and decorated Easter eggs if you like, or simply use plain brown or white eggs. Chives and basil are particularly easy to sprout from seeds, and The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a handy list of annuals and perennials that are best to start indoors.

When your seedlings begin to outgrow their little egg habitats, you can transfer them to a larger planter or to your garden without even removing them from the eggshells. Just gently crush the shell a bit before planting the egg; the cracks will allow the soil to drain and the roots to expand. The egg shells will provide the soil with extra calcium to keep your plants healthy.


- Potting soil
- Eggs
- Seeds for herbs or small flowers
- A knife with a sharp point


Using a needle or a very sharp knife point, poke a little hole in the narrower end of an egg. Wedging the knife point through the hole gently, break away the top part of the eggshell until you have a hole that is about the size of a dollar coin.

Pour the egg out of the shell and set it aside for an omelet. Rinse the eggshell thoroughly with warm water.

Mix about 1/4 cup of potting soil in a little bowl with a few tablespoons of water until the soil is evenly dampened.

Using a small teaspoon, scoop the soil into the egg shell until it reaches 1/4 inch from the top. Sprinkle about 6 to 8 seeds evenly across the surface of the soil, and use the end of a chopstick to push the seeds into the soil slightly. Sprinkle a few drops of water over the top of the soil, and continue to water daily, following the instructions on the seed packet.

Photos by Anna Hezel 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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  • Pegeen
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Anna Hezel

Written by: Anna Hezel


rizzle June 3, 2014
How long will these take to sprout? I'm having a party in two and a half weeks -- will they grow by then?
rizzle April 17, 2014
These are darling! And perfect for starting some herbs for the summer.
Pegeen April 16, 2014
p.s. good inexpensive egg cups... I've used these filled with crocuses (croci?) for Easter place settings.
Anna H. April 17, 2014
Love those! So simple. Thanks for the tip.
Pegeen April 17, 2014
Inexpensive enough to allow kids to paint names on them for place settings (they must make washable watercolor paint) or paint decorations.
I put the flowers in dyed egg shells with the tops cracked off, as you show in this piece, and then in the white egg cups.
I collect egg cups from flea markets... no one makes them anymore.
Pegeen April 16, 2014
So cute as Easter table "favors" and a great excuse to collect more egg cups!