The Espoma Company in Millville, NJ began production in 1929 with one fertilizer called Espoma Organic. The product was a proprietary blend of natural materials available near the company’s location in Millville, NJ. These ingredients were blended and bagged using shovels, wheelbarrows, scales and the sweat of employees’ backs.
In 1946, the company’s facility was completely destroyed by fire. Founder Herbert G. Sanders took his wife to New York to clear his mind and decide his path forward. When he returned to Millville, employees and friends had already started the process of clearing rubble to rebuild the business. Inspired by the outpouring of support, Mr. Sanders decided to rebuild and continue the company.
It wasn’t until the late 40’s that Mr. Sanders would create the company’s number one selling product – Holly Tone. With great insight, Mr. Sanders foresaw the need for a new type of fertilizer specifically designed for hollies and other acid loving plants. After testing several formulations with local nurseries, he pioneered the development of the first organically balanced fertilizer formulated to fulfill the requirements for these types of plants and called it “Holly-tone”. It quickly became and still remains the leading choice by professional and amateur gardeners for feeding acid loving plants.
The company gradually expanded the product line by creating what’s been termed the ‘Tone Family’. This family has grown to include premium organic fertilizers such as Plant-tone, Garden-tone, Rose-tone, Bulb-tone, and Bio-tone Starter Plus’. Eventually, the product line expaded into potting soils, liquid plant foods, and control products.
Today, Espoma is the leading provider of organic fertilizers for the retail lawn and garden industry, offering over 70 organic products and manufacturing over 50 million pounds of organic fertilizer per year.
As many hosta gardeners are aware, our favorite perennial responds very well to an application of organic fertilizer.