Flexible container for cultivation and display of specimen plants
Kind Code:

A pliable cage-like container having rigid tiles (03a) inter-connected by tensile rods (03b) which in turn are capped by securing finials (03c). The cage may be repeatedly flexed without breaking to allow an optimum containment configuration for the growing environment of the chosen plant. In addition, base tiles (03d) and a screen insert (01e) may be used to further enhance the container for use by other plant genera or a small grained growing medium.

Schainen, Jack (San Francisco, CA, US)
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A01G9/02; A47F7/00; (IPC1-7): B61D17/18
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Related US Applications:

Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jack Schainen (185 Belvedere Street, San Francisco, CA, 94117, US)
1. An article of horticulture for the greatly improved environmental housing, ease of cultivation and enhanced public presentation and evaluation, of specimen epiphytic (and other) plants, comprising: a) a plurality of rigid tiles, each of predetermined size, and each having at least two through-holes (channels, tunnels or ducts) parallel with the flat side of the tile, each one of these two located near to each end of the tile, and b) a corresponding number of predetermined elongated tensile connectors (dowls rods, posts, wires) each of lengths predetermined by the number of tiles being used in a vertical row, which slip through each tile duct in sequential order, and each having exposed ends facilitating their insertion and attachment (by means of male/female threading, or penetrating tie clips) to c) a capping finial above and below the aligned set of tiles, as a means of securing the tiles one to another, thus enabling the whole to act as a cohesive flexing unit a cage-like container which affords maximum desirable growth environment for the plant, and d) several free elements including screening and base tiles, which answer the specific occasional need of those more or less generic plants and growing mediums which the individual cultivator (user, gardener) may choose for an individual specimen plant.



[0001] Not applicable.


[0002] This invention relates to flexible containers, specifically to such housings used to optimize the growing environment of specimen epiphytic and other flowering plants.


[0003] Originally ripped off the host trees, these plants were commonly secured within pots and tubs to nurture them, with maximum authority given to the atmospheric environment (air temperature, humidity, etc.). As the requirements of the unique nature of the mycorrhizal rooting systems were slowly understood, the containers used by individuals and commercial cultivators did not keep pace; current practice is still to house the plant in plastic and other such containers which do not allow for the rooting plant to seek optimal growing and flowering conditions, and which cause rot, promote parasitic growth, and do not allow anything approaching the wanted free-air environment of the plant m the wild.


[0004] In accordance with the present invention a flexible container comprises a set of tiles stacked contiguously, in alternative directions, each tile having congruent holes containing restraining pins allowing directional flexibility, and base (support) tiles (if required by the rooting configuration), and may be further enhanced (for some plant genera) with sheet moss or other screening.


[0005] Several objects and advantages of the flexible containers are:

[0006] (a) to provide an individually responsive biologically correct form for housing the ongoing living process of specimen epiphytic (and other) plants.

[0007] (b) to provide a container allowing esthetic enjoyment for the observing individual, in keeping with the quality of the plant specimens being cultivated.

[0008] (c) to allow the fabrication of the containers be done by entry level crafts people.

[0009] (d) to allow the utility of the container as a resting or suspended housing, passively.

[0010] Further advantages of this new and unique manner of caging the root systems of epiphytic and other plants will become apparent from a consideration of the drawings and ensuing descriptions.



[0012] FIG. 01: (01a):

[0013] Perspective of the flexible container, here in open (near square) configuration

[0014] FIG. 02:

[0015] Detail perspective of one corner of the ball and pin hinge.

[0016] FIG. 03:

[0017] Exploded isometric of the b configuration of the flexing container.

[0018] Reference numbers following are within FIG. 03:

[0019] 03a: rigid tile . . . minimum number of through-holes indicated.

[0020] 03b : tensile connecting rod-like elements; please note the variable distances possible for the desired height of the flexing cage.

[0021] 03c : Capping/securing finials.

[0022] 03d : free associated base tiles.


[0024] FIG. 01:

[0025] Perspective (01a) and plan (01a plan) of the flexible container, here in open (near square) configuration,

[0026] FIGS. (01b—perspective, here showing optional base tiles and 01b—plan) of the flexible cage, and

[0027] FIGS. (01c—perspective, and 01c—plan), and FIGS. (01d—perspective, and 01d—plan) which show the flexing range of the cage, through ˜175 degrees.

[0028] FIG. 01e shows the possible screen insert

[0029] FIG. 01f shows the screen insert within the flexible container.

[0030] FIG. 01—extended embodiment and FIG. 01—extended plan shows one of many possible alternative embodiments of flexible containers.


[0031] FIG. 01 shows a perspective view of a flexing cage along with some base tiles (if required by the specimen plant) in a wide encompassing position. (Please see FIGS. 01a >d for other optimum configurations of the cage). FIG. 02a shows a single drilled tile (tiles are of varied materials: ceramic, acrylic, wood, etc) joined by a threaded metal rod, dowl or other tensile connector of determined variable length, (FIG. 02) and secured top and bottom with female finials of like or other decorative materials. FIG. 03 perhaps gives the best description of the flexible cage: a varied number of tiles (03a) which are joined by connectors (03b) which are then capped (top and bottom) with securing finials (03c). Depending on the requirments of the specimen plant being caged and the horticultural preferences of the grower, a screen mesh (FIGS. 01e and 01f) as well as base tiles (FIGS. 01b, 01b—plan and 03d ) may be added to the flexible cage as free enabling elements.

[0032] Please note: in all illustrations only those through-holes placed near the ends of the tiles are in use; this does not preclude intermediate connections allowing for fully branching configurations of the flexing cages, vertically as well as horizontally, and which in the course of design are a part of each embodiment.


[0033] Originally perceived as fantastically exotic flowering plants, most epiphytic organisms were contained and cultivated in a hot-house garden environment, miming the tropical areas in which they were first observed. With a growing understanding of the nature of the mycorrizal rooting system, as well as closer observation of the requirments of varied species of such plants, have led me to conclude that a better method for containing and cultivating specimen plants of this type is made possible by using the flexible containers described and shown in this application.

[0034] In the embodiment shown (as in FIG. 03), several pre-drilled tiles (03a) are alternatively connected by means of a tensile spanning member (03b) stretched within the pre-drilled holes of the tile. At the defined height of the container, the tiles are secured together by means of capping finials (at the top and bottom of the rod, dowl or other connecting member), allowing the several tiles flexibility perpendicular around the line of connection. The ability of the container thereafter to flex provides a cultivator (and the plant) with a carefully nurturing condition not unlike what is found in the wild and is never found in existing plastic potting systems: a relatively loose yet firmly constraining container allowing the unusual rooting systems of epiphytic (and other like plants) to seek those nutrients which they required, in free moving air, resulting in a markedly increased plant growth and robust flowerings.

[0035] (Please note: the conditions found in the wild where such plants root and flower are most often within the random confines of contiguous, or even adjacent, branches of the host frees, here emulated by the joined tiles. The defined (varied) heights of the flexible container are determined by the observed depth or shallowness preferred by that type of wild plant being domesticated.)


[0036] While the one of the preferred embodiments of a flexible container is shown in FIGS. 01 and 03, the range of alternative embodiments extend, easily and naturally, in both horizontal and vertical dimensions: the same basic embodiment can be repetitivly aligned and connected (as individual units conjoined) or varied organically (the number of contiguous individual tiles connected together) to extend the unique unfolding flexible container as a new and vital manner of cultivation. Please see FIGS. 01—extended embodiment and 01—extended plan.


[0037] The advantages of growing epiphytic (and other like) plants in the flexible containers described here are usually known as a gut reaction by a viewing horticulturist, and hopefully, by the reader of this application. The flexing cage provides the flowering specimen with ideal growing and flowering conditions, as shown here, and in the many variations suggested by what is here being presented as just one set of guidelines . . . for example:

[0038] Each element of the design can be made of many materials other than the ceramic, wood or acrylic suggested for the tiles; tensile elements can be of machined metal, wire, acrylic, wood or other suitable materials; restraining/capping finials can likewise be of metal, wire, acrylic, wood or other suitable material. Please note that the design is able to be fabricated by people with all levels of craft work skill; this is a vital element of the design, allowing for the flexible containers to be made both here and in those less developed areas of the world which cohabit much of the same geography as the plants themselves.

[0039] Not quite finally, but not at all least, the scope of these flexible containers will give a new range of exciting expression to not only the display, visualization, evaluation and subsequent marketing of the specimen plants, but at the same time provide the optimum growing conditions and environment for these fragile plants.