March 23, 2009

Grading Biodegradable Pots

Sustainability. It’s not just a buzzword. It’s increasingly becoming a way of life for many consumers, and that couldn’t be any more evident than in grocery stores, where once ubiquitous petroleum-based plastic bags now share the limelight with more sustainable alternatives like reusable totes. The ornamental horticulture industry isn’t immune to this fundamental shift in consumer behavior, either. Over the last several years, growers have been experimenting with compostable and biodegradable pots to cater to consumers’ growing environmental consciousness. What’s The Verdict? A lot of growers have questions about the efficacy of these earth-friendly pots, and now that several operations have grown in them for a couple years, they’re able to share their experiences. While the pots can have their quirks, growers tend to agree there are more positives than negatives. “I would say the benefits far outweigh the negatives,” says Suzanne Baker, head grower and president at Rush Creek […]

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March 9, 2009

Introducing Emerald Coast’s Mixed Tray

Emerald Coast Growers in Pensacola, Fla., is bringing growers a new sempervivum mixed 50 tray that’s priced at $41.50, or $0.83 per cell. “Sempervivums’ low water requirement makes them an excellent choice for cost-conscious growers and consumers alike,” says Cheri Markowitz, Emerald Coast’s sales manager. “And our mixed tray is a great way for growers to get their feet wet in the product without making a huge investment.” Emerald Coast’s new sempervivum mixed 50 tray was introduced in response to a wave of customer requests. The tray features five varieties and 10 of each variety. Sempervivum are good for containers and rock gardens, as plants grow 3 to 6 inches tall and are hardy in Zones 3 to 11. Possible varieties found in the tray include: ‘Cobweb Buttons,’ with gray threads woven over the tips of pale green rosettes. ‘Forest Frost,’ with light green rosettes tipped with gray. ‘Black,’ with […]

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March 6, 2009

Eco-Friendly Ball Pot Available In New Size

The rice hull NetPot from Ball Horticultural Company and Summit Plastic Company will be available as a 6-incher April 1. The NetPot is currently available in six other sizes of rice hull and two other NetPot sizes, 7 and 9 centimeters. All three NetPot sizes will be inventoried and available for sale by Summit, which produces PLA filling trays to fit the 6-inch rice pot. “We are pleased to provide our customers with practical, completely biodegradable, environmentally preferable choices,” says Norm Belliveau, CEO of Summit. “The plantable 6-inch pot addresses the desires of Generations X and Y, not to mention landscapers–it’s quick and easy with no pots for the landfill.” Check out the new pot for yourself at Pack Trials during Ball’s Shoppes on Main in Santa Paula, Calif. from March 28 to April 3.

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December 3, 2008

The Evolution Of Plastic Packaging

Plant packaging has been and will continue to be an integral and important part of the horticulture industry. We have enjoyed our industry role and look forward to continuing to provide creative solutions for growing, handling, transporting and displaying plants at retail. Landmark Plastic, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009, has taken a leadership role with the evolution of plastic plant packaging and growing products working hand in hand with growers. Growers’ needs are the key for driving our creativity and innovation for the future of horticulture. We will continue to help growers find solutions to their packaging needs by collaborating with growers, retailers and allied suppliers in developing products that will provide the most efficient growing processes and best plant quality and will optimize greenhouse utilization and delivery costs. Along with our long-established sustainability practices and the ever-evolving advancements in technology, Landmark will continue to assist growers in differentiating […]

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November 24, 2008

Recycled Albuquerque Glass Becomes Grower Product

Growstones, a company that makes its growing media from recycled glass bottles, has formed a partnership with the city of Albuquerque, N.M., to turn the city’s recycled glass into its porous Growstones product. The move is the city’s first step toward the recycling of all its glass, and it gives the New Mexico-based company a more cost-effective means to obtain its byproduct.   “We are proud to be working with the city of Albuquerque,” says Chris Higgins, vice president of Growstones. “Their commitment to recycling and to our product is not only good for the economy and the environment, but it will help growers with a green conscience produce better plants.” According to Higgins, Growstones have specific pore sizes and structures, creating the ideal air-to-water ratio growers need. They’re replacements to pumice, perlite and stonewool, as they improve structure, texture and aeration while giving growers the perfect water retention or water […]

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November 19, 2008

An Eco-Friendly Packaging Option

Tons of Styrofoam is used globally for the shipment of perishable packages like plants and flowers each year. But one company, Coldpack, has developed an inflatable, insulating liner called AirLiner that easily converts a corrugated box into a cooler while using about half of the raw materials needed for a thermally equivalent foam container. One of Coldpack’s goals is to eliminate landfill waste, and company CEO Etienne P. Snollaerts says this kind of technology has the potential to eliminate 19.1 billion cubic feet of waste each year. Growers can play a role in that reduction, he says. “Business owners, especially those shipping perishables, do not take for granted the effect of foam packing on their corporate image and their revenue streams–yet, until Airliner, a cost-effective green alternative to foam has been elusive,” he says. The key to AirLiner’s ability to cushion and maintain constant temperature, Snollaerts says, is its internal […]

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November 11, 2008

Pushing Plastics by Cal Diller

Moving forward over the next 25 years, recovering and recycling plastics will be critical to the future of the greenhouse floriculture industry. Plastic continues to be the most energy efficient, lightweight and durable material for growing and packaging plants. The advent of plastic flats, inserts, pots and plug trays helped revolutionize the industry and its production and merchandising systems Our family has been in the horticultural container business for over 60 years. We started with a sawmill-making wooden (cedar) greenhouse flats. Many bedding plants used to be grown in an open flat (11 by 22 inches). At retail, they would cut plants from the flat and wrap them in newspaper. Plastic began showing up in the horticultural container industry in the late 1950s. At the urging of our customers we began producing thermoformed plastic containers in 1962. Plastic really helped fuel the growth within the industry by making it easier […]

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October 29, 2008

Armstrong Makes Commitment To Recycling

Officials at Armstrong Garden Centers are encouraging customers to return their used nursery flats and containers that are at least 6 inches as part of the company’s newly established recycling program. Customers who return nursery pot containers to any of the 33 Armstrong Garden Centers on November 15–America Recycles Day–will receive 10 percent off that day’s purchase. “We’ve been researching nursery container options and feel we have a system that will be easy for customers and cost efficient for our company,” says Monte Enright, executive vice president of Armstrong. Once containers are returned, Armstrong cleans them and sorts them by size before taking them to a central location for recycling. For more information on Armstrong Garden Centers, visit

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October 21, 2008

Benchrunner Relay: A Positive Plastic Impact

The Chicago Tribune has planted a black eye on the industry regarding its use of plastic pots, but most criticism is unwarranted and premature as Greenhouse Grower Editor Delilah Onofrey wrote in her September 2008 column. Mike Bromerly, a national sales manager at T.O. Plastics, agrees criticism is unwarranted, and he wrote us to offer some thoughts on the positive state of plastic consumption at his company. To read Delilah’s column, “More Pot Shots,”. Bromerly’s letter in response to Delilah’s column is presented below: I read with great interest your commentary on the black eye that plastic pots used in our industry is receiving of late from some sources. As a responsible corporate citizen, T.O. Plastics takes very seriously its role in operating in the most environmentally responsible manner possible. As your article mentions, many containers utilized in our industry are produced from recycled plastics. At T.O. Plastics we do […]

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October 15, 2008

CowPots: The Next Big Thing?

Make way for CowPots. Liquid Fence Company recently added the manure-based growing pots to its line of environmentally friendly garden products, and President Edward Abraham is confident CowPots will benefit significantly from the company’s grower distribution network. “We’re proud to add this remarkable and truly green product to our line,” Abraham says. “We’ve been impressed with the whole idea of CowPots since we first heard about them.” Matt and Ben Freund, two brothers who are second generation dairy farmers, came up with CowPots. The Freunds have been leaders in developing technologies to help dairy farmers produce milk in an environmentally sound manner, and Freund’s Farm was one of the first in Connecticut to store manure to optimize crop nutrient uptake. Since 1997, the Freunds are one of only a few farms across the United States to have continuously run a methane digester. Cow manure is heated by the methane gas […]

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September 18, 2008

Pots & Trays Potpourri

Plantable Packs Western Pulp Products: The Molded Fiber Retail Plug Carrier for 65 and 70mm plugs contains 88 percent pre-consumer recycled paper content, making this product truly plantable. The carriers are available in three configurations: the 6-Pack Carrier, the 5-Pack Carrier and the new Hexagon Carrier. Click images to enlarge Bio-Responsible Bellan International Unlimited: Coming from a pollution-free manufacturing process, Biopots are biodegradable and made from renewable natural materials, such as bamboo, straw and rice husks. When in contact with soil and water, Biopots will begin to breakdown after a year of use. Biopots allow plant roots to breathe, and they come in a variety of sizes.   Easy Breathing ITML: Three new size additions to the TLC Ultra Series Square Plug Tray line are 128, 162 and 200. Designed with surface vent holes for greater air circulation around foliage, the 128, 162 and 200 TLC Ultra Series […]

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