Grow Bags vs. Plastic Pots

grow bags in hoop house
Grow bags have been gaining popularity over the last few years as more growers see their air pruning and superior drainage benefits. Trees, flowers, and vegetables alike can be grown in fabric bags. They are versatile, inexpensive, and hold up to years of use. Most importantly, plants of all kinds thrive in them.

Advantages of Grow Bags

  • Healthier Root System - Encourage air pruning of roots rather than root circling
  • Temperature Control - Shed excess heat through the breathable fabric, soil warms quicker in the spring
  • Prevents Over Watering - Excess water will percolate through the fabric material
  • Easy Storage - Can be folded up and stored with minimal space
  • Versatile - Can be easily moved or planted directly in the ground
grow bag orange

Healthier Root Systems

In pots the roots of the plants tend to grow in circles entangling themselves, often referred to as becoming root bound. This overcrowding increases the likelihood of having aeration and water stagnation issues, especially in larger pots that lack proper drainage. When the roots reach the edge of a plastic pot, they continue growing in search of more water and nutrients. This begins the process of structural damage to your plants. The roots become constricted, leading to less water and nutrient intake.

Grow bags help alleviate this issue because as the roots come in contact with the edges of the fabric pot, they sense the drier soil exposed to the air. At this point, they know they have reached their growth limit. The roots become "air pruned,". This prevents overgrowth, eliminating girdling roots (roots that damage the structure of the plant). This air pruning leads to more fibrous root systems that include feeder roots for more efficient nutrition and water uptake. Plastic potted plants encourage a few larger roots to dominate and encircle the pot, reducing the plant's ability to take in nutrients.
Tip: It is very important that when planting in a grow bag there is no air space left around the edges of the bags. You want the soil to fill out the bag entirely without leftover creases as they can lead to air pockets that can house pests or lead to root dry-out.
grow bags multicolor

Temperature Control

During the heat of summer and in direct sunlight, plastic pots can get quite hot. Since they are not breathable, they trap all the heat which can cook your plants. Grow bags regulate temperature due to their breathable quality. Excess heat can escape from all sides of the grow bag.
Tip: Our grow bags come with convenient handles, making it easy to move bags up to 25 gallons out of the intense sun.
multicolor fabric grow bags

Watering Considerations

Grow bags are porous. They require more frequent watering. However, it is harder to over-water using a grow bag, as any excess moisture can wick out of the container. If you over-water a plant in a conventional pot, they could drown and develop mold or fungus.
In the heat of Summer or areas with high winds you can extend the time between waterings by providing your grow bags with a saucer to hold extra water.

Storage

Where do you store the pots when not in use? Do they become empty eyesores on the back porch or stacked up in the shed in hopes they don't get crushed or broken in the off-season? Traditional pots will need to be stacked for storage in the off-season. However, grow bags can be folded up and stored with minimal space each season.
Tip:Wash fabric grow bags with a diluted detergent. Follow by a soak in a diluted vinegar solution. Thoroughly rinse bags—air dry before storage.
planting in grow bag

Versatility

Grow bags are lightweight and most sizes come with built-in handles, making them easy to move to different locations. They are popular among RV'ers since they can be brought from inside to out with ease, allowing you to take your garden with you. Grow bags can even be planted directly in the ground to prevent transplant shock.

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