Plantable Paper

The picture above (via reddit) is of a letter from Google’s AdWords team.  Pay particular attention to the P.S.: “This card was printed on 100% recycled paper embedded with wildflower seeds.  Plant it in a sunny spot with a thin layer of soil, add water, and watch it grow–while you watch your business grow with AdWords.”   (A larger version of the image is here.) Marketing schlock aside, you may wonder if it’s real.  Can you really plant paper, expecting flowers to bloom?

In a word, yes.

The paper produces tiny sprout-like plants as seen here and can be bought online for about $2.50/sheet (or $0.825 per pink baby foot cutout).  It works similarly to most seeds. Botanical Paperworks, a Winnipeg-based company, makes one version of plantable paper (although not necessarily Google’s nor the ones pictured in the link above).  The company advises that, to grow flowers from their paper, plant it one-third of the way deep in a pot of high-quality soil, water, and put it in the sun for seven to 10 days.

And if you want to use it as paper?  No problem — just don’t run it through a laser printer, as that may prevent the seeds from germinating later on.


Bonus fact: Johnny Carson once caused a nation-wide, month-long toilet paper shortage. Really.

Related: Toilet paper probably should not be planted, but you can find toilet paper made of 100% recycled paper.