Number of Plugs/10-inch Basket
How many rooted plugs are needed in a monoculture 10-inch basket depends on the plants species being used.
A few species in our trials filled out a 10-inch basket and looked good when only one plug was used.
Planting just two plugs per 10-inch basket usually looked “dog-eared”.
Three or four plugs
Three or four plugs in a 10-inch basket were most often the number of plants needed. With some species, three plugs were adequate, but four plugs added extra fullness for a higher quality product. However, with other species, four plugs were necessary to achieve enough coverage of the media substrate.
Five or six plugs
Very few species required five or six plugs per basket.
Economics and the number of plugs to use.
Many of these vegetatively propagated species will cost the grower an average of 40 cents per plug. Not a bad price to pay for a high quality, healthy plug, but still a substantial cost when planting several in one basket. Some growers would rather put an extra plug in the basket as insurance in case one dies so they will still have a salable product. In some cases, fewer plugs can be used if they are pinched to increase lateral branching, however, the money saved on one less plug per basket may be spent on the labor of pinching. Also, many species we have tried did not need to be pinched in order to produce a quality basket, particularly if the specialist propagator has already pinched the plugs prior to shipping. Three plugs generally took one to three more weeks in the greenhouse than four plugs per basket. Does one or two extra weeks of overhead cost the grower more or less than an extra plug? It is up to the grower to determine his/her costs and what will bring the highest return on their investment.