PlantTherapy: Ecoforms in the Test Lab

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Product: EcoForms Pots
Price: Starting at $6 for individual pots
Rating: Strong Recommend*

We posted on these pots back in March and have been trying them out ever since to see if we give them a thumbs up or not. Ecoforms has also agreed to co-sponsor the 2007 flowerbox awards so that we can send out a small vessel for each week's award recipient to try.

So far we are impressed with ours...

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growers pots in use at the NYBG
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The idea of a biodegradable pot brought to mind something flimsy. And I admit that the idea of such a pot being exposed to dirt and water made us wonder if they could really last. Ours have been in use for over two months with no visible signs of wear, and doing well to live up to what is posted on the Ecoforms website. They have thick walls and withstand dunking and bathing and misting with orchids (left) and the constant moisture and sun for nurturing seedlings (below). At the NYBG the growers pots are now starting to be put to use in their garden shop.

They are pleasant to touch, have nice warm tones and beautiful, refined shapes. The pots are as light as plastic and many have thicker reenforced lips so they are easy to handle and store. And despite their lightness they are very sturdy.

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begonia seedling off to a strong start

The trays for under the pots also quite good. Porous terracotta trays have managed to damage tabletops and widowsills as condensation builds underneath them. The EcoForms do not sweat.

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They are not as flexible as plastic, and we did manage to damage one while testing their durability against being dropped from about 5'. It was only a crack, however, and had it been terracotta the pot would have been smashed and possibly also the ceramic floor tiles as well. And although it can't function as a flowerpot anymore, the cracked vessel looks nice enough to use around the house holding our keys or loose change.

For some applications we will always want terracotta or ceramic because of their longevity and stability. But for many applications, especially where plastic has been used, we would prefer the Ecoforms. We would prefer all plants coming from the nursery to come in Ecoform pots. It would feel much better than the rather large stacks of plastic that amass from every spring's planting. We like the idea of using them in the garden for odd tasks and then just retiring them to the compost heap when they are used up. We also would love to send gift plants in them. Grandma loved getting plants from her grandkids. But she would kill those plants sooo quickly, which only encouraged us to replenish her supply. You can imagine the amount of plastic pots she amassed over the years...

One downside is the estimated five year lifespan, although that comes down to $1.20 per year on a $6 pot. We can live with that. The other is that constant wetness, such as being used in a shallow pond, or being sunk into soil/the ground will accelerate the breakdown. It is a fair exchange for less plastic and a more earth-friendly product. Most pots can be slipped into a newer version, or could be easily repotted when they show signs of aging. The larger ones make great workhorses for transplanting and moving soil around the garden. Judging from their character my guess is that they will not go quickly overnight and one will have plenty of time to prepare.

Flowerbox winners - feel free to let everyone know how yours holds up!

*Our Ratings:
Strong Recommend
Recommend
Weak Recommend
Don't Recommend

matt at apartmenttherapy dot com

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.