Locking Plant Tags By Meghan Boyer

From large to small and round to square, plant tags come in all shapes, sizes and styles. With the large variety available, it is important to note that not all tags are created equal. Some have interesting designs or features that set them apart from the rest. For instance, The John Henry Company's Proven Winners (PW) plant tags come with a tag lock feature that keeps the tags in place and aids in the overall presentation of the plants. Growers I talked to like the look of the tags in addition to their unique locking feature.

PW plant tags are 61Ú8 inches tall and 2 inches wide. They are made from 18-point polystyrene and come with the patented lock feature that allows them to fit securely into most industry pot slots.

Locking Benefits

Each PW plant tag features two tabs that stick out on either side of the triangular bottom portion of the tag; this is a feature of the locking system. Growers press the tags into the pot slots until they snap down into the locked position. The scoring on the tag helps them sit up straight and not wobble.

In addition to keeping tags from rocking back and forth, the lock system should deter customers from switching or stealing tags in retail outlets. If they do not want to use the tag lock system, growers have the option of placing tags directly into the soil.

Dennis Crum, head grower at Four Star Greenhouses, Carleton, Mich., uses the tag lock system in all of his small pots. Additionally, he uses the tags in color bowls and uprights with the help of a ProStick — a 12-inch stick that is pot locking or can be pushed into the soil — to get the tags above the leaf canopy.

Of the locking system, Crum said, "It works fairly well. I don't think it's a huge expense [in terms of labor] by any means to put them into the pots or soil. In fact," Crum advised, "I suggest trying to use the tag lock as much as possible for a better display." Ed Sobkowich Jr., vice president of Sobkowich Greenhouses, Ltd., Grimsby, ON, Canada, uses the locking system less often. "It's great," he said of the system, "but it takes time."

What Growers Like

Growers I spoke with inserted the tags manually into pots. Sobkowich feels the somewhat traditional shape of the PW plant tags aids workers when they are placing tags. "I like the overall shape and size," explained Sobkowich. "Some of the tags now are oddly shaped, and they become a little difficult to work with as far as physical labor." Additionally, he feels the overall weight of the PW tags is sturdy and consistent, which helps them resist breakage.

Crum's favorite aspect of the tags is how they look: "They look niceÉthey look really good out in the greenhouse and at the retail level. They are large enough to get your attention without being a billboard," he said. Sobkowich has similar feelings: "The overall layout and print is probably what I like best about them," he said, "The tag has a kind of classy look to it."

In addition to being attractive, the tag design helps create exciting displays and exhibit the PW logo to customers. "The tag emphasizes the quality aspect [of the PW program] and the brand reliability to the end consumer. Having a consistent tag just allows them to identify with that," said Sobkowich.

Customer Service

Growers also commented on how easy it is to work with The John Henry Company. Crum described working with the company to change the way tags were sent to him. In the past, bundles of tags would break apart during shipping, which caused employees to have to gather them together when the tags arrived. Now John Henry places tags in plastic bags in addition to binding them with twist ties or rubber bands. That way, if a bundle breaks apart during shipping, the tags are still held together. Glenn Andersen, owner of Nordic Nurseries, Abbotsford, BC, Canada, agrees: "They're great to deal with. We're really happy with John Henry. There generally aren't any problems, and when there are, they get resolved right away."

Meghan Boyer

Meghan Boyer is associate editor of GPN. She can be reached by phone at (847) 391-1013 or E-mail at [email protected]

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