Plantable greeting-cards embedded with seeds

Etsy seller Recycled Ideas makes greeting cards with embedded seeds; once you've read and appreciated the message, you can plant the card and watch it sprout.

Love the earth? Me too! My passion for primates led me to study them and in doing so, I learned of their precarious position on earth. So many are endangered because their habitat is being destroyed everyday. That's why I make green gifts - like plantable paper.
Link (via Craft)

See also: Business card that sprouts


  1. would be slightly more poetic if less practical, if they contained tree seeds, that way it would eventually replace the wood used to make the paper.

  2. a couple of years back, I believe for Xmas, American Spirits cigarettes sent me a “plantable card”. It was pretty nifty.

  3. I’m a music blogger who recently got a wonderful, plantable business card made of paper like this, except in the bright mauve shape of a flower, from folkpop singer-songwriter Mae Robertson, who is using it to promote her new album — the aptly titled “Meet the Sun Halfway”. To me, the album title and flower cover design, plus themes of growth in her lyrics and a warm, bright voice, made the plantable card a no-brainer stroke of genius. (Music’s pretty good, too, though it’s still on the “to be blogged” pile.)

  4. This is awesome. I really dislike receiving greeting cards in general, as I know somebody shelled out way too much money for it and I will throw it out within weeks.

    The sentiment is nice, it’s just the business and environmental factors that annoy me, which is why this is so brilliant.

    @Caledonian Jim
    Please stop linkspamming the comments via a totally unnecessary signature. As someone else mentioned on another thread, that’s what your profile is for.

  5. …wonderful idea, but a word of caution to make sure the embedded seeds are indigenous to the region where they will be planted so that more good than harm is done.

  6. My wife and were shopping the other day and found soap by Pangea Organics that puts seeds directly in the soap packaging, so when you open it and take the soap out, you can then plant the packaging. Pretty neat. One can build a mountain with enough tiny pebbles.

  7. I got one from American Spirit too. Unfortunately, I was living in an apartment, but I should see if I still have that around — not I have enough of a lawn that I might be able to plant it. If I can guard it against the guy with the weedwhacker….

    David Harmon

    PS: For some reason, I seem to have been signed out — and when I try to sign in, Movable Type rejects it with “No entry id”.

  8. I’m all for reuse and zero-waste, especially in place of things like greeting cards that often, well, get wasted, but this is not necessarily as benign as it seems. One of the seeds included in these greeting cards is Columbine, a native wildflower pollinated by hummingbirds. I’m an aspiring botanist working with native plants here in the Midwest, and the thing about native plants is that they can be extremely localized. The genetics of a plant in one county can be different from the genetics of that same species in the next county over due to climatic, topographical, or geological differences. The danger is in cross-fertilization. If a seed from Texas is planted in Michigan and it grows up and cross pollinates a Michigan bred plant, the offspring may be, for instance, less able to deal with cold temperatures. Native plants are already under a lot of stress, what with habitat loss, pollution, and invasive species. If we’re trying to do good things for the environment and revolutionize the greeting card industry in the process, let’s make cards out of compost. It’s not as pretty, but I’m all for that.

  9. I remember seeing paper like this with a bit of fertilizer thrown into the mix. Make a paper airplane and you have a guerilla gardening airfoce. Just throw it over those mesh fences and watch the vacant lots bloom.

    Good point about the alien species issue Rachy. Local production seems like the best solution to that one — at least for cards that you are giving locally!

  10. Seeing these (which are kind of neat), I’m immediately reminded of the submissions I’ve been getting from a particularly untalented, but well equipped with what appears to be a money bin’s worth of postage, artist. Over the past decade about twice a year I receive an unsolicited submission from said artist with a packet of Forget Me Nots included.

    It works, but not as intended – I’ll never forget how bad the artist’s work is.

  11. Our company sent these out last December as our corporate holiday card. We got such a huge positive reaction from them. People loved them!

  12. Ihe danger is in cross-fertilization. If a seed from Texas is planted in Michigan and it grows up and cross pollinates a Michigan bred plant, the offspring may be, for instance, less able to deal with cold temperatures

    And then they’ll die and the plants with local genes will survive. More genetic diversity is always good for a species (if not for individuals).

  13. @rachy That’s an interesting thought. Do seed packagers and distributors generally take this kind of thing into consideration when sending seeds to nationwide chains like Home Depot? Or are we just too far gone to even think about all this at this point?

    I’m thinking Piranhas in Lake Michigan might be a fun thing BTW.

  14. Invasive species are NOT fun; they drive out native species and cost the US and Canada billions of dollars in damage and eradication efforts. One person’s “wildflower” is another person’s “invasive weed”. Imported wildflowers have done tons of damage to American ecosystems.

    It’s also gimmicky, because these seeds don’t really cost anything, and the plants don’t have anything to do with primate habitat. It’s another example of the burgeoning trend of “green symbolism” whereby “loving the earth” is expressed by symbolic actions that accomplish nothing for the environment and may even harm it.

    Ideas shared with RJ Reynolds are rarely good ones.

  15. Great, so next year a “card tree” will sprout up? How come this didn’t work with the “hot dog tree” I planted as a child on my daddy’s farm?

  16. Lghtn p FNRF. Shsh. K s w hv t vd nvsv spcs, bt y cmbnd vl Bg Tbcc, clgcl ctstrph, chp gmmckry nd mpty-hdd lbrl tr-hggng d-gdrsm nt th smpl ct f sndng crd nd plntng sd. t’s nt lk w’r sndng crds wth tmc zmb bll wvl ggs.

    lthgh nw tht thnk bt t, tht wld mk Mthr rth s vry hppy….

  17. I think the real problem here is in using native species (which could dilute genetic material of a different native population, as mentioned earlier), or in using species that might escape from gardens and invade natural areas. There are plenty of horticultural plants that are benign, and if these cards are going to be made and sent, they should be using plants that are clearly in that category. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to spot a potential invasion. There are some programs (I think there’s one at the Chicago Botanic Garden) where researchers are starting to evaluate horticultural plants before they’re introduced into gardens so that some of these invasions can be avoided. It seems to be a difficult thing to evaluate however.

  18. The poet Richard Brautigan handed out copies of a handmade chapbook from the San Francisco City Hall steps in 1967 that was titled ‘Plant This Book.’ On each page was a small packet of flower or vegetable seeds, but the packets were…plastic!

  19. sheep-poop, elephant-poop, I suspect any ruminant crap would make good paper. Dibs on the Parliament concession!

  20. I hate to be a party pooper because I adore this type of stuff, but I have never gotten paper-seeds to germinate. And I’m a farmer, so I kind of know what I’m doing. I suspect they’re either using old seed or stuff that’s really hard to germinate. Or as Rachy pointed out, it’s stuff that’s not regionally appropriate. If I put seeds out in April, there’s a pretty strong chance most of whatever it is will rot. There’s a good reason all that information is printed on the back of seed packets…you need it!

    So they’re cute, and I’m all for seeding people with the idea of growing things…but at the end of the day, I’ve found them more disappointing than practical.

    Some seed retailers are warning commercial customers that the price of seeds is expected to rise by 30-40 percent next year. Not good news for seed-card producers. Or anyone who eats, really.

  21. These have been around for A-G-E-S – really. Youse US-ians need to catch up…?! ;-)

    The ones I’ve seen and bought are specific to the area in question.

  22. We had a company in Oklahoma called Grace Graphics make our local garden club thank you cards that are plantable.

    Her seed is supplied by a US certified organic seed grower and we have been delighted with the cards. Not only were they cute and custom designed for us, they grew quite well. All her seeds are standard US wildflowers that are sold in most garden centers and all seed catalogs so we did not feel there was any danger of an invasive species or inferior home grown seeds.

    We have received nothing but positive feedback from everyone who receives one.

    I would recommend them to everyone.

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