COMET Potting Machines

Filled_pots_in_nursery_growing_areaDo you run a small or large scale nursery or plant potting or potting-up operation? Would you like to TRIPLE your potting production and greatly reduce your labour costs? In the laborious task of potting, there are several issues with manual potting. Manual Potting can be a slow, labour intensive, not ergonomic, expensive and possibly a daunting job.

Why use semi-automatic potting machines?

  • Owners often remark that staff actually enjoy potting, and compete for numbers.
  • Save in labour costs (wages for 2 workers) while doing a weeks worth of potting in just two days.
  • Dramatic increase in production efficiency over hand potting - Pot twice as many plants in less time with less staff. (see testimonials)

Comet_Potting_Machine-1What is a Comet Potting Machine?

  • The COMET potting machine is fast and efficient for filling bags or pots, it is a simple, robust and proven design that will withstand many years of commercial nursery operation.
  • The Comet has very low maintenance and uses hi-tech materials to reduce wear and minimise noise.  
  • With an over 36 years proven track record, the COMET potting machine has shown to be a durable and reliable potting machine.
  • Over 370 machines are now in active operation worldwide, the COMET has proven itself as a market leading potting machine.
  • The COMET is an exclusive mix of the latest technology teamed with the heritage and pride of a family that has excelled in the field of engineering for over 50 years.
  • You will always get superior after sales help from staff who are committed to both innovation and old fashioned service.

early_comet_potting_machineBrief history of Comet Potting Machine

  1. The very first Comet potting machine was made by Andersen Engineering in 1980 and is still in active service at a nursery in Hervey Bay, Queensland.
  2. Many early COMET potting machines are still in service after filling hundreds of thousands of pots.
  3. The proven design has been refined for over 50 years with practical suggestions from COMET owners and is now the most popular potting machine in Australia.
  4. Sold the business to C-Mac due to retirement in 2015 (Click here to read letter from Ron)

The versatile features of COMET   

Standard Features:

  • Treated steel support frame with a m3 polyethylene hopper.
  • Galvanised steel fork lift tubes
  • Power supply is from a three pin, 240 V, single phase power point
  • Soft start and Variable speed drive (240volt to 415volt invertor installed)
  • Pot directly into containers from 50 mm up to 300 mm and larger, either pots or bags.

Extra Options

Comet_with_optional_conveyor(to maximise potting efficiency):

Other options available to enhance your efficiency are rotary accumulation tables, self tracking trailers, pot lifters to save your back etc.


Why Choose a Comet Potting Machine?  

1. Reduce profit extracting expenses like staff sick days and staff injuries.

Your COMET makes potting easier and less physically stressful. Easier on the back, arms and hands.
The picture allows potting at a comfortable waist height without stress on the operators back and arms.

Handle_large_potting_jobs_with_ease2. Staff are now never daunted by large potting jobs again!

Your COMET's easy, comfortable operation makes light work of even the biggest potting projects. Some COMET owners say that their staff now “enjoy potting and even compete to beat production records” (link to testimonial)
COMET enable you to handle large potting jobs with ease .

3. Large hopper sizes increase speed and efficiency of potting operation.


The generous sized standard 1 metre cubic hopper (and extra big optional 2 metre hopper) mean you can pot a large number of plants before needing to refill the machine with potting mix. This means you spend more time actually getting plants potted in a day.
The picture shows filling the Comet hopper with potting mix using a skid loader (note the heavy duty grille to exclude logs, bricks and careless operators).   

Why choose a C-Mac Comet Potting Machine?

Guaranteed Quality

  • Very low maintenance: Heavy duty construction for long life with rust resistant polyethylene body (No corrosion or rusting of hopper).
  • Hot dipped galvanised steel support frame
  • The use of hi-tech materials - Reduces wear on moving parts and provides a quiter operation of the soil elevator.
  • Australian Made and Owned with ISO 9001:2015 quality certification and traceability.

Note: (1) While getting spare parts for some imported machines can be costly and time consuming, C-Mac can supply you with affordable locally made spare parts fast.  

(2) With constant running, overtime the only major parts that need to be replaced from time to time are the elevator chains, sprockets and rollers. Our current COMET owners find chains last up to two years depending on the composition of the potting mix used. Chains, sprockets and rollers are easily replaced.

Simple Design Features: 

  • Emergency_stop_and_variable_controllerNo set up time - no training required to use the machine
  • Less noise - operates quietly over several years due to the highest quality polyurethane sprockets, bottom rollers and gearing guides
  • Less weight - Main body is made from quality polyurethane which is light weight & doesn’t rust.
  • Fork lift Slippers  - As Standard
  • Ergonomic working height - Nursery workers will easily pot comfortably all day  
  • Superior hopper design - Specially designed to suit potting media.
  • Simple, effective, variable flow control - With Emergency stop and variable controller (see picture) 

Great Support

  • Sheet metal fabrication, engineering and design support with over 50 years experience in the horticultural industry
  • Fast delivery of spare parts avoiding costly down time
  • A team of engineers with years of specialisation in potting machinery and materials handling on call
  • Great maintenance support available (although the machine is low maintenance) -  sold over 370 COMET potting machines worldwide over a period of 35 years – Click to request a list of COMET Potting Machine owners near your for a  reference

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COMET Spare parts available

Spare Parts for Steel COMET

  • Spray can of chain lube
  • Bolt pack for chains to slats
  • Chain elevator slat
  • Rotary guide with bearings
  • Drive sprocket
  • Bottom roller including bearings
  • Chain

Spare Parts for Poly COMET

  • Bolt pack for chains to slats
  • Spray can of chain lube
  • Chain elevator slat
  • Drive sprocket
  • Bottom roller including bearings
  • Chain
  • Motor and Gearbox

To minimise your machine downtime, Click here to place an order for "COMET spare parts"

Photo Gallery

  • Drive_Sprocket
    Drive sprocket
  • Rotary-guide-with-bearing
    Rotary guide with bearing
  • External-wear-strip
    External wear strip
  • Bottom-Roller-including-bearings
    Bottom roller including bearings
  • Idler-roller-including-bearings
    Idler roller including bearings
  • Wear-strip-for-plastic-comet-potting-machine
    Wear Strip for Plastic Comet Potting Machine

How does the COMET potting machine work?

Internal_view_showing_chains_and_traysFilling Pots

Potting mix from the polyethylene hopper is picked up by a series of galvanised trays that are elevated by the operation of a heavy duty motor driving the dual sprockets fitted to the drive shafts.

Fertilizer dibblers are available for direct application of a measured amount of fertilizer into the pot or bag, operated by a foot pedal (See below).

Pot directly into containers from 50 mm up to large pots and plant bags.   

Small Pots and Plant Bags

SMALL_POTS_AND_PLANT_BAGS_Pot any size tube, pot or bag quickly, easily and without root damage.

Being able to adjust the flow rate of the potting mix is helpful with filling the smallest tube right up to the largest bag.

Centre each plant and secure it quickly and easily without damaging the roots.


No wasted setup time

No wasted setup time means you get right onto the job of potting immediately.

Whether you've got a handful of plants to pot or thousands, the COMET is always ready to go.

Even when you're changing from one pot size to another, there's no time consuming changes that need to be made - just adjust the flow of the potting mix with the turn of a knob.

COMET – Efficient, flexible tool

Comet_potting_machine_with_2_personsIn fact, the COMET is so flexible, two workers can work side by side, potting different size pots at different rates.

COMET keeps your potting area clean, organised and safe.

Your COMET recycles the potting mix, keeping the surrounding floor clean and safe for workers. No potting media wasted or contaminated. Compact, safe design fits neatly into most potting areas.

Picture: Filling medium sized pot VS Filling medium sized bags with ease

Filling_medium_pot Filling_medium_bags_with_ease

Large Pots

Potting_large_potsFill large pots quickly and easily with your COMET.

Just add the “large pot filling chute” to direct the potting mix flow into your large pots. The large pot chute is foot pedal operated and moves under the soil flow and directs the potting mix into the large pot.

On release of the foot actuator, the chute moves away from the COMET allowing the continual flow of potting mix to be returned to the hopper.

Handling Large Pots

Stands_for_filling_large_pots_(note_the_clean_work_area)Large pots are much easier to handle and fill using the adjustable large pot stands - no more back breaking work holding large pots while being filled.

The picture to the right shows the “large pot stands” and the foot pedal actuator rods that operate the mix chute to position it under the potting mix outlet, to then direct the potting mix into the pot.

Right-hand side picture - Stands for filling large pots (note the clean work area).

Pictures of "Chute activated to direct mix to large pots" vs "Filling chute"OFF".

Chute_activated_to_direct_mix_to_large_pots Filling_chute_OFF

COMET Fertiliser Dibblers

COMET_fertiliser_container-feed_pipe-variable_amount_controllerIncrease plant growth consistency with COMET fertiliser dibblers (an affordable optional extra) to stop profit wastage because of uneven plant growth.

For maximum profits, nurseries must fertilise every plant with the same measured dose of fertiliser. Inconsistent growth due to inaccurate fertilisation is a costly problem.

COMET's optional fertiliser dibbler makes adding the exact amount of fertiliser quick and easy every time.

Picture of COMET fertiliser container, feed pipe, and variable amount controller. This image also shows the potting mix outlet chute with the mix feed rate control knob just above the chute.

Fertiliser Dibbler

The variable controller sets the correct amount of fertiliser to be added to each pot.

When the fertiliser pedal is activated (hand or foot), the electronic actuator opens the slide and releases the set dose of fertiliser into the feed pipe which is directed into the pot being filled. See pcitures below.

Dibbler actuator rod and slide

Easy foot pedal activation of fertiliser dibbler for pots and bags


Hand operation of fertiliser activator for large pots.

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COMET Performance & Testimonial

Filled_pots_in_nursery_growing_areaThe performance of a COMET POTTING MACHINE cannot be stated in pots per hour. There is no conveyor or any mechanical apparatus that delivers a set number of pots per hour.

Like any other good piece of nursery equipment, the COMET is a helpful TOOL which is only as effective as the person operating it.

Good team work is essential as the operator must be kept in constant supply of plants to be potted, empty pots and potting mix. Then, the handling of the potted plants is also a major part of the potting operation. You can pot thousands of plants per hour but they must be transported efficiently from the potting area to the growing area (Nursery self tracking trailers or nursery barrows could help you with the plant transport)

Picture of Filled pots in nursery growing area 

The only numbers that can truthfully be stated are numbers of pots per hour placed in the growing area, and as with all potting procedures. This is a team effort. The team may consist of one person or five persons. Handling of the crop is a larger part of the job than the actual potting of the plant in the container.

The only way to obtain a true comparison is to quote some examples of actual performances from nurseries using the COMET potting machine.

Location   Number of Staff  Container  Quantity
Nursery in Nth Q’ld  5 50mm tubes   2,500/hour
Another Q’ld nursery  3  125mm pots  7,200/day
Citrus nursery N/A    200mm bags 7,000/day
Wholesale nursery in NSW 6 150mm pots 10-11,000/day
Nursery from South Aust. 6  300mm pots 6,000/day

Another common statement is "I don't usually count numbers but we have doubled our output with much less stress."

One well known nurseryman in South Australia said when he first used his new machine "It's fantastic! We used to pot a thousand tubes a day and now we pot a thousand an hour!"

And there are many more examples.

Click to request a list of COMET Potting Machine owners near your for a  reference

The performance of the potting team depends on the co-operation of the members and the availability and wise implementation of good materials handling equipment and techniques. It is generally accepted that although the concept is different, the total days production is similar whether a COMET is used or a more fully mechanised imported machinery is used.

A COMET is well worth considering because:

  • The capital outlay is less than half that of an imported machinery.
  • The maintenance is simpler and less costly. As one nursery owner said "any man and his dog can fix it"
  • The set up time and hassle is nil
  • You can fit optional fertiliser dibblers to a COMET

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It Just received our potting machine on Friday and set up today (Sunday) and wow!!!! Are we pleased!
Potted 600 perennials each in the first hour! Usually do 100 each.

Many thanks for your great service. Very pleased with the quality and heavy duty nature of this machine. I'm sure we'll get many years use from it..... will outlast me I'm sure.. The staff member helping me today was also rapped..

Many Thanks
Ken Batchelor
Hook Bush Nursery
22 November 2009

It is the perfect machine for every nursery. Other machines are far too complex requiring too many people to operate them.

We just found many benefits with the Comet, labour saving, it stands just at the right height, less stressful on the staff, anyone can operate it and anyone can fix it.

Maarten de Lagt - Road and Traffic Authority - Wooloongong NSW

I am more than happy with our Comet, it allows us to work at our own pace and saves our workers' backs. We can pot from one size to another which other more expensive potting machines do not allow.

Currently we are potting 30,000 plants per year in 8", 10" and 12", with the majority being 8". The machine was purchased on 2nd October 1993 and has been doing a great job for us ever since.

I would recommend it to anyone.

Jose De Aquino - Sunset Nursery - Siverdale NSW

The ease of waist high working afforded by the Comet potting machine means that a days work was completed without bending stress

Berkie Palms - Belmont NSW

More time is now available for stock and nursery maintenance, potting schedules are more achievable resulting in greater efficiency and cost savings.

The benefits to our small nursery have returned dividends more than providing for the lease commitments of the Comet Potting Machine.

Worker compliance is excellent with insistence that all potting chores be completed with the Comet Potting Machine and the consistency of pot fill packing is easily repeatable.

Berkie Palms - Belmont NSW

We looked all around Australia and found the Comet Potting Machine to be the Rolls Royce of Potting Machines. It is very quiet and easy to use - anyone can operate it.

We used to do with the old machine, 1,000 a day, with the Comet we now do 900 per hour with ease

Wayne Parr - The Citrus Nursery - Torbanlea QLD

The Comet has taken the place of two people in our nursery. I am not so tired these days when potting and when I have finished I am looking for more.

Nick and I are potting up at least three times more these days. We are happy with the machine and do recommend it to everyone.

Nick and Inika Kroh - Lindloj Nursery - Oakdale NSW

All I can say is that now we have had your potting machine in operation for 11 months, that it has surpassed all our expectation.As you are aware, we evaluated it's performance for 18 months before finally making the purchase and our confidence in your machine has really paid off.

It has increased production, released staff into other areas of the nursery, lessened physical stress on staff and enabled us to increase productive nursery area without corresponding increase in staff.

We are wholly delighted with it's trouble free performance and if and when we require another machine we will be definitely coming to see you. Thanks

Leverett Wholesale Nurserymen - VIC

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If you have any question, call us or Click here for discussion & FREE Quotation