Smart Pots are Smart for Vegetable Container Gardening

vegetable container garden in Smart Pot
Vegetable Container Garden in Smart Pot. Photograph © Kerry Michaels

The Bottom Line

Smart Pots are great for vegetable container gardening.

Manufacturer's Site


  • Great for growing vegetables
  • Durable
  • Folds up for winter storage
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive


  • No handles


  • Bag made from durable, heavy-weight, black polypropylene material
  • Design encourages healthy root structure and growth
  • Porous material is better than plastic for releasing heat
  • 14 Sizes, from a diminutive 7X6 inches all the way to a raised bed size of 50X24 inches.
  • Prices range from $3.50 for a one gallon container to $49.95 for a raised bed 200 gallon size.
  • Even the largest size is light enough to carry, when empty.
  • Hoses off for easy cleaning
  • At the end of the season you can fold or roll Smart Pots up for storage

I am a huge fan of Smart Pots for vegetable container gardening. I used Smart pots to grow lettuce, potatoes, herbs, garlic and tomatoes - all with great success.

Smart Pots are great for growing vegetable container gardens because they encourage root health, through a process they call "air pruning." Also, plants thrive in Smart Pots because despite their black color, the soil doesn't get as hot as in plastic pots.

Smart Pots are ideal for urban gardeners because at the end of the season they can simply be emptied, be hosed off, folded up and stored, in a fraction of the space a hard pot would take up.

I have grown potatoes, tomatoes, herbs, greens, lettuce, tomatillos, rhubarb all in Smart Pots (and I'm sure there are more plants I'm forgetting) all with great success.

They are my go-to pot for many edibles. After heavy use over 5+ years, I've never had one wear out, even those I leave outside year-round in Maine. I've had a few that were chewed by critters, but none that have worn out and that speaks really well to their durability. 

I have heard some complaints about how Smart Pots look, but I like their urban-chic, utilitarian appearance.

If you prefer more tailored looking containers, you always have the option dressing your Smart Pots up. I bought a bright red, plastic laundry basket at a Dollar Store, put a Smart Pot in it, grew a basil garden, and it looked great.

Another way to enhance the look of your Smart Pots is to side plant them (the picture above shows lettuce, side planted, at the beginning of the season). To side plant a Smart Pot, all you have to do is take a very sharp, large scissor and cut Xs in the fabric. Once you fill your container with potting soil you can poke some plants, roots first into the X cuts. I cut the Xs in a zig zag, so the lettuce would grow in a cool pattern.

Another advantage of using Smart Pots for your vegetable container gardening is that you can use a heavier potting soil than in a hard pot without worrying. The advantage of a heavier potting mix is that it is better at retaining moisture. I use a bagged potting soil and then mix in compost. I use a ratio of about 1/4 - 1/3 compost.

My only caution with growing vegetables in Smart Pots, is that they can dry out quickly, particularly in the sun and wind, so you really have to stay on top of watering them.

I put a bunch of Smart Pots up on a picnic table, to foil critters.

By the end of the growing season, I had a jungle of tomato and potato plants.

Manufacturer's Site