Difference Between Plug and Potted Plant
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Jane Harner
Posted on: February 8, 2002

What exactly is the difference between a "plug" and a plant? Is a plug as big as a plant. I hope this is not a stupid question.

No, it is a good question. We professionals in the industry often take our jargon for granted, forgetting that those who are buying such products may have no idea what the terms mean.

A "plug" refers to young start, grown from either seeds or cuttings. It usually comes in a tray about two feet square and about two inches high. The flat is divided into "cells" which are filled with soil and planted with either the seeds, transplants or cuttings. There are variety of formats in use in the horticulture industry, but we at Richters prefer to use trays with 128 cells for our herbs. This gives us a plug with a tapered soil plug of about one inch square at the top and just under two inches long. We also use smaller packs with 12 cells, which we call "plug packs."

"Potted" herbs are bigger plants. They are grown and shipped in 2-1/2" square pots. But if you come to Richters for personal shopping, the potted herbs are bigger, in 3-1/2" square pots.

Because plugs are smaller they require more care early on. Potted herbs can often be planted directly in the garden when they arrive, while plugs may have to go into a three or four inch pot to grow bigger before going out into the garden. Many plugs, though, can go directly in the garden too if they get frequent attention in the first few weeks in the garden.

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