To plastic pots, that is. According to a press release I just got, Bluestone is the first perennial nursery to completely replace plastic growing pots with biodegradable media. I wish more nurseries would do this. I rather enjoy stepping on root-bound perennials in plastic pots before prying them out, but then there are all the black plastic pots of varying sizes taking up space in my recycling bin. Some I have been able to reuse as filler to lighten container plantings, but most get thrown the bin—and who knows what really happens to them? (Many of my friends firmly believe that the recycling trash and the regular trash end up in the same landfill.)
Also, according to the release, the plants can be kept in their coir pots and planted as is. This makes for a gentler transition—sort of like keeping fish in their little baggie until the water temperatures are the same. Except that the coir pots dissolve into the soil with time (unlike baggies in water).
I’ve tried the little cow pots for vegetable seedlings before, and I regularly see herbs offered in biodegradable paper containers, but perennials generally come in black or green plastic. The thing with Bluestone, however, is that their plants are small. They’re fine if you’re starting a new bed, but when surrounded by other large established, perennials, they struggle.
And I saw some interesting comments on these online, on the Gardenweb forums (which I rarely check, but google revealed quite a discussion about coir over there). One thread—titled “Bluestone Perennials has lost their minds!” —was filled with complaints about plants arriving in a tangle of spilled dirt. The company is no longer styrofoam peanuts either, which sounds like a good thing to me, but apparently some of the GW posters liked them. I have noticed that rolled up newspaper, used by a few companies, works just as well.
Forums like GW are kind of like Trip Advisor; you have to take the opinions with a big grain of salt and sort of average them out.
As for coir pots—how about them? Seems like a step in the right direction to me, especially if it means other nurseries will think more about plastic pot alternatives.