The Plant Professionals
16886 Turner Street
Lansing, MI 48906
Fax: (517) 327-0299
8 a.m.- 5 p.m. M-F
Also by Appointment
The Convenience of Creative Reuse
Every industry has innovations that move progress forward in giant steps. The combustion engine did that for farming, landscaping, and of course, everything retail, as people could now drive further to shop, and trucks could bring goods to the consumer. A much quieter but equally dramatic change crept into the nursery industry about 1950. Plastic pots began to replace clay, which changed everything.
Plastic pots weighed far less and could be shipped cheaply across the country and eventually overseas. These were made from oil, not clay, they could be made anywhere a factory could be built, not just where the right clay soils were found. Many different sizes and eventually colors allowed for large growers to have their own custom containers. Large tropical plants could now be sold and shipped in plastic pots, rather than in tin grow cans or ball and burlap. As the options began to include decorative planters as well as growing pots, the interior industry saw tremendous growth in the 1960s.
In the bedding plant world, growers went from wooden flats of soil to plastic ones, and plants which were formerly dug out and wrapped in newspaper at sale so the flat could be reused, now went out the door in the plastic flat with the consumer, so more plants lived and costs dropped. Terra cotta remains the preferred choice for cacti and succulents, and there are still beautiful decorative options in clay, but no longer do those of us in the frozen North have to scramble to get every planter indoors in fall, allowing the creation of wonderful displays of winter cut greens.
Additionally, plastic is much easier to clean and sterilize, also increasing customer success with plants. The downside is the amount of waste that goes to the landfill each year. We maintain a grow pot exchange for plastics year-round at the north drive of our facilities. Bring in the clean usable pots, flats and trays that others might use. Take a few pots or flats that you need for seed starting or transplanting. Participate in our efforts to keep reusable and recyclable plastic grow containers in circulation as we appreciate the convenience these plastic containers provide!
© 2017, The Plant Professionals