Sunday 16 May 2010
In March, browsing through a local garden centre, we found a range of plants offered in 'hairy pots': I bought a nice, heavily flowering specimen of Helleborus niger growing in one and tucked it into the planter outside the front door for some winter interest. Yesterday, while renovating the planter, I had to extract the plant and found, as promised, that there was indeed excellent root growth growing straight through the sides and out into the surrounding compost.
These hairy pots are made of coir bound together by latex - a combination promoted as 'Eco-friendly, sustainable and ethically produced', which can hardly be argued with. The brand is being cleverly marketed (see www.hairypotplants.co.uk), with the plants being attractively presented at retail outlets, labelled with printed wooden 'lollipop sticks', and available direct for online purchase from the nursery in Winchester, packed in recycled cardboard packaging. The range available is a fairly standard asortment of perennials, and a diversity of herbs; from what I've seen of them they are very well grown and reasonably competitively priced (my Helleborus cost £4 in a 1L pot, which I think was good value). Hellebore roots are robust and have no problem penetrating the quite thick coir pot - I would be interested to see how well less robust roots, as for example in annual herbs, manage to penetrate the walls and become established, and how well these pots cope if not properly watered at first.