Photos courtesy of Van Belle Nursery

Prides Corner Farms in Lebanon, Conn., sells container product to independent garden centers and landscapers across the northeast. That region’s market has evolved since the recession and many of Prides Corner’s customers prefer 3-gallon plants.

“It’s a strong 3-gallon market in the northeast, especially in New York and Boston,” says Mark Sellew, owner of Prides Corner Farms.

Instead of shifting up liner material, which takes labor and extra production time, Prides Corner uses RocketLiners from Van Belle Nursery in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.

“We stick the RocketLiners directly into the 3-gallon container and can turn that product in one year,” Sellew explains. “That really enhances our market and helps keep costs down.”

RocketLiners are grown in specially made trays that were developed at Van Belle. Head grower Diego Martinez had been experimenting with new growing trays, trying to find a product that would improve drainage for better root growth. Diego and his team tested out different trays, and although each had something to offer, no one tray combined all of the solutions they were looking for. So, they designed their own tray that Diego says has superb drainage and supplies the right depth for excellent root training and plant health.

The RocketLiners are shipped potless through Van Belle’s FloGo Shipping System.

“I’m really impressed with the size of the liners and I really enjoy the fact that they’re shipped without the plastic pot,” Sellew says. “They go from the cardboard, recyclable tray right into the container. By taking out that plastic, they’ve helped create a more sustainable supply chain.”

Sellew, who’s a self-professed “brand-a-holic,” buys RocketLiners from Van Belle’s Bloomin’ Easy brand.

“I call it the millennial brand,” Sellew says. “It has a feel that’s different from some of the other brands out there. It speaks to the younger gardening consumer very effectively with its tag line ‘Plant, Water, Relax.’”

The brand offers consumer support such as how-to videos and tailored care reminders.

“We started growing the Bloomin’ Easy brand in decent numbers last year, and our customer like the feel of it – like it’s a little more exclusive,” Sellew adds. “The brand offers a value proposition for garden centers who want to be different and stand out with a more unique product.”