It’s truly a robust market when it comes to the development of new pots and trays for the commercial greenhouse industry. From collaborations among researchers and suppliers to an enhanced focus on sustainability and water savings, here’s a look at what several manufacturers are doing to give you more options than ever before.
Vineland Research In Canada Partners On Development Of Propagation Trays
The Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Ontario, Canada, is revolutionizing propagation systems for the nursery sector through a tray design supporting superior tree health and root growth.
There is an increasing demand for container tree seedling production (plug trays) in North America, and a greater focus on higher-quality root architecture. Many current propagation tray designs lead to root malformation, making seedlings less robust after transplant and increasing tree mortality.
“We’ve been studying this problem since 2014 and have found containers with the largest cell volume and the highest degree of exposure to air resulted in superior results,” says Dr. Darby McGrath, Research Scientist, Nursery & Landscape, Vineland. “In collaboration with Kingsville, Ontario-based A.M.A. Plastics Ltd., we’re developing a woody perennial air-pruning propagation tray that maximizes tree growth and limits root defects.”
The new tray is designed for use in conjunction with the Ellepot system, a bounded transplantable growing medium that A.M.A. produces for North American growers. The design of the tray, for which a patent protection is pending, allows the substrate to remain essentially free floating, maximizing air flow to the root system and promoting ideal root architecture, while improving overall tree performance in later stages of growth.
The tray will be distributed in Canada and the U.S. by A.M.A. in spring 2017.
A New Look For Stepables And All-Terrain Groundcovers
Under A Foot Plant Company, Summit Plastic Company, and MPS John Henry have collaborated in their efforts to find a new way to increase grower and retailer groundcover sales.
Under A Foot and MPS John Henry have added new All-Terrain Ground Cover and Stepables Tough-Ten tags to the Stepables Portrait Tag Program. All three programs come with the added bonus of “Drought-Wise” plants being featured for each individual program. All portrait tags are available year round, with new lower prices and lower minimums. New standard handles for each program are available, as well, for multi-pack sales.
Each standard handle also comes with a Drought-Wise version for additional pack sales. All three programs are open to any grower and retailer in North America starting in September 2016.
Under A Foot partnered with Summit Plastic Company to put the finishing touch on the three programs by developing eye-catching full color Pot Stickers for all 3.25-inch pots offered. Finish growers and retail growers can set up an order for late fall for shipments of Stepables, All-Terrain Ground Cover, or Drought-Wise pots with stickers, for either the standard black or Stepables purple 3.25-inch pots.
Water- And Space-Saving Pots Are Hot
Pride Garden Products is always looking for new water-saving containers and space savers like vertical wall planters.
“Succulents are still going strong with our customers, and they are looking for interesting materials and shapes to bring succulents to market,” says Deborah Oesterling, Pride Garden Products Vice President of Sales.
Containers for annuals and perennials are still the company’s primary focus, and upscale, stylish, lightweight patio containers are in demand.
“Our customers want something unique to show off their plants, and our Origins and Rio collections do that very well,” Oesterling says.
Pride Garden Product’s flagship product is the AquaSav Coco Liner, a patented smart coco liner that cuts watering by half while reducing chemical runoff. When the living wall and green wall trends took off, the company developed wall planters that use AquaSav liners to grow healthy, beautiful plants.
“Commercial growers wanted to bring living walls to market in an easy, stylish, and affordable way, so we created the Elstra AquaSav Vertical Wall Planter,” says Courtney Schilgen, Pride Garden Products Product Manager, who notes the reception at Cultivate’16, where the product was introduced, was very positive.
For the company’s new line of stylish lightweight patio planters, Schilgen looked to Europe for the right partner.
“Our Rio patio planters are manufactured in a carbon-neutral European facility. It’s a bright, modern style in five sizes with a matching wall planter.”
Looking down the road, Schilgen says future product development will follow the company’s mission to promote environmental stewardship.
“We’re always looking for ways to use recycled, reclaimed, and renewable materials, and mixed materials, as well as developing interesting and unusual containers,” she says.
McConkey Develops New 6-Count Carry Tray
According to Derek Moeller at McConkey Co., growers are looking for trays they can reclaim from retailers, are resistant to cracking, and can be used in different ways. In response to this, McConkey developed a new carry tray for six trade-gallon pots that fits multiple-size containers.
The design gives growers the ability to fit up to 15% more product onto their carts. Injection molded for increased durability, the shuttle tray handles all sizes of round trade-gallon pots, thanks to a uniquely engineered compression tab system that lets it flex around the pot.
Moeller says the system solves the problem of growers having to use different trays for different size pots, which is expensive for them. Growers can consolidate different programs into one tray and have a lot less inventory.
The new carry tray is expected to be available from McConkey in late 2016.
Landmark Plastic Launches New Products At Cultivate
Cultivate’16 in Columbus, OH, was for industry suppliers to debut new products, and Landmark Plastic was no exception. Here’s a quick look at two of its latest offerings:
• Accordion Horticultural Tray. Designed through a partnership with Timbuk Farms, this self-spacing tray snaps together into one unit and locks into a collapsed smaller size to reduce freight costs and protect plants during handling. The durable design eliminates single-strip handling and extra trays. Timbuk Farms says it is ideal for begonias, geraniums, and dahlias.
• 3.0 Locking Plant Guide Clamshell. This triple or single clamshell model is made for shipping vegetable seedlings, flower transplants, and herbs. It works especially well for e-commerce, with a design that locks the soil and container in place, while providing room for foliage during shipping. It is made from durable polystyrene, which improves handling and eliminates cracking.
Pot Designs From Overseas
During the 2016 Week 24 European Flower Trials, Visser’s Plant Butler division showcased Waterwick, a patio pot with a patented grid system that can be mixed and matched with several plants. All plants can be provided with Clicksticks, long wicks that reach into a reservoir to ensure easy watering. The result is a self-watering system that automatically provides any plant with the exact amount of water needed. For more information and a quick how-to video, go to Waterwick.eu.
Also on display at the European Flower Trials were SmartCups from Elburg Smit (ElburgSmit.com). These pots are made from water-resistant cardboard and offer environmentally friendly packaging in a clean presentation. They can be custom-designed and are available in a variety of print run sizes.