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Hidden Hazards of Potting Soil

May 08, 2015
Planter Fire Risks | Larlyn Property Management

Potting soil mixes usually consist of organic materials, plastics, and oxidizers but generally contain very little soil. Typical organic materials found in potting soil can consist of shredded wood, bark, and / or peat moss. Styrofoam pellets, perlite, and vermiculite can often be added to the mixture for aeration and water retention. As well, some fertilizers are oxidizers.

Fires involved in these mixes will increase at an exponentially faster rate


Planter Fire Risks Fires involved in these mixes will increase at an exponentially faster ratePlanters are usually found in front of businesses or around the home to improve the aesthetics of the landscape.  However, too often cigarettes are found extinguished in them.  The misconception is the cigarette is being extinguished in “dirt”, and planters are being used as ashtrays.   But, when you use a dried out plant pot as an ashtray, it will work to insulate the lit cigarette. The soil heats to ignition temperature and begins to smolder.  Smoldering can continue for several hours, or even days, consuming more and more plant pot material.  When sufficient oxygen is available the material can break into flame, and the all too often result can be a fire with significant damage.  If other combustible material is in close proximity to the planter or flowerpot it may also become involved resulting in a serious fire.

Are you taking all the proper precautions you can with planter pots around your business and home?  The following are some tips that can help reduce the risk of fire in your planter pots:

  • Planter pots should not be used as ashtrays.
  • If smoking is permitted in an area with planter pots, then provide a proper ashtray receptacle (metal can with sand) in that area.
  • If possible, clay pots should be used for planters instead of plastic.
  • Periodically inspect planters and ensure no one is discarding smoking material in them, if so; routinely remove discarded material, and review you current measures taken to deter this action.
  • Keep plants well watered and maintained. If required, speak to a local gardener about specific watering procedures for your plants.

For more tips to avoid loss or damage and saving money on insurance, join us for our upcoming webinar:  Condo Insurance Part 3 – Linking It All Together.  Learn how to avoid risk, reduce or control risk and transfer risk through contracts and insurance.

Live Event Schedule:

ALBERTA – Monday, May 11, 2015 @ 7pm MT – Register here

ONTARIO – Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 7pm ET – Register here

Check back for links to view the recorded presentation soon.