There has been some controversy over the propagation cups used by houseplant growers to start their plants. I originally wrote this blog post in 2016 and wanted to update it with some more information about these cups.
I recently bought my 6th variety of Aglaonema. Yes, I’m obsessed with the amazing color of the leaves and can’t resist a different one when I see it. This newest acquisition is ‘Pink Dalmatian’. I brought it home and of course, had to re-pot it into a more attractive (green) container. While removing the plant from its plastic grow pot, it was surprising to find some interesting things going on in the root area of the plant.
A surprise in the root ball
As I turned the plant out of the pot, the soil fell away from the roots, and these plastic baskets with roots protruding from them appeared.
The story behind the cups
I had to know the story behind these plastic, root-filled cups, so I contacted Justin Hancock (Consumer Marketing) of Costa Farms to find out about them.
Justin said these plastic cups are part of the propagation process and ensure high-quality cuttings that continue to grow well after planting. These cups also help keep the plant stable during shipping, a huge factor in the end retail product. The plants are started in the Dominican Republic and are planted in coconut coir, a sustainable product. They no longer use peat moss in the production of their houseplants.
Look at the extensive root system growing out of these cups. Thank you Justin for enlightening us about the production of these plants. It is so interesting to me and I’m sure to the people reading this and buying Costa Farms plants.
When I published this blog post in 2016 there was controversy over the use of these propagation cups. I’ve seen social media posts of people blaming Costa Farms for the death of their plants because of them. I bought a couple of new aglaonemas recently and I unpotted them today to see if they are still using them. As you can see below, they are. Obviously, they don’t hurt the plant and look at that extensive root system!
Here are my two aglaonemas I unpotted and repotted today. They look great and the monstera container is from Nicole from Well Traveled Wares. It was my birthday gift in September and I finally put a plant in it today. It is stunning, Nicole!
My conslusion is that the plants aren’t bothered by the propagation cups. If your plant has died, it most likely is from some other problem, such as too much water, not enough light, not enough water, insects or disease. Let’s not jump to conclusions and blame others if we aren’t sure. If Costa Farms is still using them 6 years later, they must be working and doing the job they were intended to do. The extensive root system I see leads me to believe they are. What are your thoughts?
Have a great week, plant friends!