What Are Grow Bags? Pros and Cons Of Using Them

Are you thinking about growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers, and wondering if grow bags should play a key role in your strategy? This gardening approach certainly offers substantial benefits. Nonetheless, we must acknowledge the possible challenges that grow bags might pose for gardeners, despite their numerous advantages.

They are fabric bags that most people use to hold soil when gardening in limited spaces. They provide gardeners an alternative to traditional containers, often occupying the largest area. With grow bags, you can maintain fresh soil for your plants.

You may have heard about grow bags but still do not understand what makes them an excellent gardening choice. The main reason is their role in making gardening easy for indoor and outdoor farming.

This gardening guide explores everything you need to know about using grow bags: their meaning, associated benefits, and, lastly, their drawbacks. The focus will serve as a resource to help you decide if you want to garden your favorite flowers, fruits, and vegetables in grow bags. Let us get started!

Hessian grow bag with plant

What are Grow Bags?

Anyone who uses pots to garden in the house can also explore using grow bags as an alternative.

They are fabric or plastic bags that cost little to make and use little storage space. People often use lightweight and durable fabric bags for outdoor portable plantings.

Growing bags are ideal for small gardens and indoor shallow-rooted plants. Depending on the plant you wish to grow, you can choose from the following types of grow bags:

Standard or medium Grow Bags (24cm*24cm*40cm)

lettuce in tall grow bag

These are the most used bags that hold up to 14kg of potting soil. Their potting mix size and quantity can only accommodate leafy vegetables and fruits. A range of shallow-rooted and compact plants you can garden with this grow bag include:

  • Lettuce
  • Chill
  • Beetroot
  • Carrot
  • Spinach
  • Herbs
  • Microgreens

⁠Large grow bags (61cm*35cm*18cm)

tomatoes in blue grow bags

This bag can only accommodate 35kg, the potting mixture ideal for curry leaves and lemon plants. Use these grow bags for young trees, vegetables, and plants that need more space and deeper roots. Ideal plants include the following:

  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes

Extra Large Grow Bags (85cm*45cm*35cm)

potatoes in green grow bags

You can grow plants with longer roots with a soil mixture capacity of up to 80kg. The best fits for this size of grow bag include oranges, guavas, and Papayas.

Pros and Cons of Using Grow Bags for Framing

Grow bags remain the most practical alternative to in-ground farming. Farmers with minimal gardening space can use grow bags to plant shallow-rooted plants. Hence, the bags allow you to produce your favorite crops indoors, take them outside, or reposition them according to preference and light needs. Read on to understand the benefits and draws of these grow bags in your garden.

Pros of Using Grow Bag

1. Healthier Plant Roots

The roots of plants in traditional pots grow in an entangled circle as they look for water and nutrients. This affects their ability to absorb water or nutrients. As a result, they may end up having air and stagnation problems. Water stagnation becomes a more serious problem when the pothole is oversized. Besides, the situation worsens if the soil mixture is prone to poor drainage.

Any gardener agrees that a plant with damaged roots cannot expand and grow as it struggles to get the required nutrients. When the roots reach the bottom of the pot, the problem becomes worse as the plant’s root continues searching for water and nutrients. This quest results in a pot end filled with roots in entangled circles. Such plants finally become stunted and root-bound.

Fortunately, this problem does not exist in grow bags. The bag prevents your vegetables or fruits from becoming root-bound. Unlike in containers, the soil at the end becomes hard, preventing the roots from growing beyond this point. Besides, any root that extends beyond the drier soils at the edges burns out through air pruning. The plant then produces healthier roots.

More importantly, air pruning guarantees healthier roots by preventing the existing ones from binding and overgrowing. The plant thus gets healthy roots that perform optimally in water uptake and nutrients.

2. Better Temperature Control

A person using a plastic pot experiences a challenge controlling the surrounding temperature of the plant during summer. Traditional pot plastic retains heat, unlike the breathable materials used to make grow bags. You may witness stunted and drier soils, prompting frequent watering due to higher evaporation rates caused by the retained heat in plastic pots.

Luckily, the breathable material for growing bags allows heat to escape the soil mixture freely. Thus, this material guarantees better heat regulation for anyone using grow bags for their garden.

3. Excellent in Water and Moist Control

Another benefit you will accrue from using grow bags is moisture control. Grow bags are made from breathable fabric that wicks excess water and moisture from the pack. Therefore, you do not risk the development of mold and fungi.

This problem is common in people that use traditional pots. Ideally, the pots often retain most of the water because they are not porous. Ensure you do not overwater your plant if you still use a plastic pot.

Although most people do not like the challenge of regular watering when using grow bags, it is easier to eliminate excess moisture when using them.

4. Easy to Use

Most grow bags come with handles, making them easy to carry and move around in the garden. They are easy to move around and an excellent choice for people with limited space. If you are a frequent traveler, you can easily move the plants into and out of the house.

Besides, if you have limited backyard space, then you can use grow bag because you can always move the plants inside or outside whenever the temperatures change. Instead of spending much time and resources building a raised bed or preparing an in-ground system, take a grow bag, fill it with soil mixture and plant your vegetable easily.

5. Easy to Store

Unlike traditional pots that require plenty of space to store even when not using them, grow bags are easy to store. You can easily fold them and keep them anywhere in the house, regardless of their size. You can always choose between solid and breathable bags, which are both durable and easy to store. Besides, use their handles to hang them on a chain or a rope as you wait for the next growing season.

6. Versatility

Growing a plant in a once unusable area comes with grow bags. You can use grow bags for root vegetables such as carrots if you live in bad soil. People without land can also plant their vegetables in a rented yard or on the balcony of their small apartment.

7. Gardeners Can Make Custom Grow Bags

You can make your grow bags home with breathable fabric in your store. Most Do-it-yourself people who want to save money can make custom bags and grow their vegetables easily. You can also use plastic material, but it is beneficial if you can find breathable fabric.

8. Gardeners Can Plant Grow Bags in The Ground

People living in a moderate temperature all year round can plant the grow bag in the ground because they rarely require moving them. Put your plant in the ground and let it continue growing. People living in cold temperatures can start their plants indoors in the cold season before transferring them to the garden later.

Start the seedlings indoors during winter and transfer the plant outdoors without disturbing the root when it is warm enough to survive.

However, this is only possible if you live in a short-season growing area and can access biodegradable grow bags. Besides, using grow bags will help you move the plant to the sun as you wait to transfer them outside.

Cons of Using Grow Bag

1. Water Demanding

Be ready to water your plant more frequently if you use grow bags. Unlike traditional pots, these bags wick out excess water faster. Although this remains an advantage in the case of overwatering, you may need to pay more attention to the plants to ensure they do not dry out.

2. Environmental Concerns.

Not all bags are bio-degradable in today’s market. Watch out for those formed from poly-plastics, as they are not ecologically friendly. Instead, most people choose to reuse non-decomposable grow bags. However, the environmental concern becomes a problem only when you must dispose of your grow bags.

3. Grow Bags Are Not Aesthetically Appealing

Most people prefer hard-bodies pots to grow bags because of their aesthetics. Most grow bags come in solid colors, gray or black, with no designer drawings or patterns. They come as sack bags without a designer shape, unlike ceramic pots that assume a cone shape.

Some people use their pots to enhance their garden’s beauty. Unlike grow bags, they can add textual interest, ridges, and surface paints to the pots.

4. Grow Bags Cannot Protective Your Plants on Cold Nights

Insulation becomes a problem if you leave your plants outside in the cold. It becomes worse when you are using breathable grow bags. Unlike pots, these bags dissipate excess heat from the soil, leading to soiling cooling faster at night. This can kill your plants if left outside during the late spring frost or early fall frost with your plant.

Sometimes this may also happen to plants inside the house. Therefore, check the weather forecast regularly to know when to cover your plant with extra insulation before it gets cold sets in the evening.

5. Cost

Sometimes you cannot reuse grow bags with container options as long as you can. However, you will want to be as cost-effective as possible by buying them only when necessary. Although these bags are known for their mobility, their soft fabric is prone to tear for those using more than 20 gallons of soil mixture. Their cost varies according to their soil mixture volume and distributors. Most people change their grow bags at least once in 2-3 years.

FAQs on What Are Grow Bags? Pros and Cons Of Using Them

Should I poke holes in grow bags?
There’s no need to puncture the grow bags. They drain well. There are no drainage holes at the bottom of the fabric ‘pot’ because it is a pot.’

Which is better, grow bags or pots?
Plastic pots can become hot in the summer under direct sunshine. They trap all the heat because they aren’t breathable. The absorbent quality of grow bags helps to maintain temperature. All sides of the grow bag can let excess heat out.

How often should you water a grow bag?
Plants in grow bags need to be watered more frequently. Because grow bags are highly aerated, they dry up quickly once the plants have grown large enough to fill them. During the summer, you’ll probably need to water the bags at least once daily.

How long does fabric grow bags last?
Grow bags are expected to last 7 to 8 seasons with proper care, but they can live much longer with proper maintenance. The fabric of grow bags is pressed together rather than woven, which boosts their resilience.

Conclusion on what are grow bags

While there are many benefits for gardeners to use grow bags, not all people will find them an effective alternative. Besides, considering their disadvantages, you can agree that they may not be the best alternative for all gardeners.

Hopefully, our gardening guide information has helped you decide if you want to use grow bags for your gardening needs.

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