Grow bags are exactly what they sound like: large, fabric-like bags that can be filled with a growing medium and used to grow plants and vegetables. They are typically made of plastic, but they also can be found in several breathable fabrics.
Plants that don't have deep roots, such as tomatoes, potatoes, salad greens, herbs, peppers, and other similar vegetables, work best in grow bags. The rule of thumb is anything you can plant in a container, you can also plant in a grow bag. Plus, grow bags are a perfect solution if you don't have an in-ground garden. They're fantastic to use on a porch or balcony, but you also can line them up in a raised garden bed for a more traditional look.
There are many reasons to start gardening with growing bags compared to plastic containers, and we're here to share the pros and cons.
The Pros of Grow Bags
Grow bags have a lot going for them. Here are some reasons that you should throw plastic pots away and switch over to using grow bags.
- They can be used anywhere: Grow bags are great to use primarily because they can be used anywhere. If you live in a rental or have a small balcony, you can grow vegetables and plants easily in them. You can also bury the grow bags in the ground. They couldn't be easier to use and they're a great choice for first-time gardeners.
- You can move them around: One of the biggest advantages to grow bags is that they're easy to move around, as they are lighter than plastic pots and have handles to move them from place to place. You can really move them all around while still keeping your plants safe.
- Healthier root systems are formed: Roots are less likely to circle, which is also referred to as rootbound, since they weren't grown in a plastic pot, which is what causes the roots to coil. This makes the plants easier to prune when it comes time.
- They regulate the temperature: Plastic pots can get hot when placed in the sun. Since grow bags are made of breathable material, you don't need to worry about them overheating. Excess heat easily escapes from the grow bag material. Your plants will get lots of healthy air flow.
- You can't overwater them: Grow bags will release any extra water through holes in the material. This avoids mold and fungus that can happen when overwatering a plant in a plastic container. Since they're impossible to overwater, you've already got a leg up on a common gardening issue.
- They're easy to store: Plastic pots take up a lot of room to store whether they're empty or full. Grow bags fold flat when they're empty and can easily be stored until you need them.
- Some biodegrade: Some grow bags are completely biodegradable, so if you choose to plant them in the ground, they'll break down in the soil.
- You don't have to worry about your ground soil: Since you'll be adding the soil of your choice to the grow bags, you don't need to worry about the quality of your ground soil, it won't be interacting with whatever you have in the grow bag.
- You'll save time: Grow bags make quick work out of planting, so you're going to save yourself some time.
The Cons of Grow Bags
Grow bags aren't without their disadvantages. Here's why you may want to reconsider using grow bags and staying with traditional pots instead.
- You need to water more frequently: Since the grow bags are porous, water leaves them quickly, and you'll find that you need to water grow bags more frequently than plastic pots. If you tend to be less diligent with watering, grow bags might not be the right fit for you.
- They aren't as durable: Other pots may last many years up to a lifetime. Grow bags, unfortunately, do not. They'll need to be replaced every 2-3 growing seasons.
- The costs add up: Since you are replacing them so frequently, the cost of using grow bags can be more expensive than using traditional pots.
- You may find them unattractive: Grow bags are sack-like bags and come in usually black, brown, or gray, and therefore, they aren't as pretty as some hard-sided pots.
- Some aren't biodegradable: While some types of grown bags biodegrade in the soil, other grow bags do not, meaning you'll have to remove them from the ground when they need to be replaced.
- They can get heavy: While being able to move grow bags around is a big advantage, some of the grow bags can get really heavy. Any grow bag that weighs more than 25 pounds is going to be difficult to move around, and you'll need to plan a permanent place for heavy grow bags.