Recycling plastic bottles and pots (Charlesash / Willem)

Today, I received a constructive comment of Charles ASH on my former posting :

Transparency of recycled bottles a problem for root growth ?

(J. TOLLEDOT / Willem) August 1, 2007

“Some years ago we used to grow loads of plants in used transparent bottles, here in England, with great success. No real problem with algae. But if left in strong sunshine, the roots that where visible would suffer scorch marks. No detriment to the growth of the plant, just looked unsightly. So we either shaded the containers mid day or covered the plastic container with black plastic cut from waste bin bags. Today we use plastic plant pots that have been discarded by garden centres and nursery growers as these are free and, of course, made for the job.

Just another form of recycling in action!




I am wondering what would be the best material to cover transparent bottles for plant growth :

a. black plastic cut from waste bin bags (see above)

b. white plastic (or paint) to keep the roots cooler ?

But after all, maybe we do not need to cover them !

Recycling used plastic flower pots from a nursery seems a good idea too, particularly to grow young trees.  Once tall enough, the pot can be  cut vertically in two halves (in order not to damage the rootball, like it happens regularly with the classical  black plastic grow bags used in nurseries).  I suggest to put the two halves of the plastic pot at the bottom of the plant hole at the moment of planting the young tree. An easy way of getting rid of that plastic.

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

One thought on “Recycling plastic bottles and pots (Charlesash / Willem)”

  1. You don’t really need to cover the transparent plastic because there appears to be no harm or set back to the plant if you don’t. It’s mainly cosmetic. Not only that, seeing the roots creates more interest. When we used them we got many youngsters interested because we could explain easier and show “what grows underground” of a plant. It created huge interest and some of those youngsters went on to a career in horticulture. So my suggestion is, don’t permanently cover them. Enjoy a sight you do not normally see.

    We don’t have any problems removing plants, even well established or large plants, from plastic plant pots. They always come out with the root ball intact and unharmed. They may need a gentle tap once or twice but they always come out ok. And we get to use the pot again!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s