Using grow bags is a method of container gardening that is not as well known, especially to beginner gardeners.
There are several benefits to using grow bags though, and we think its worth considering when planning a container garden.
In this article we’re going to cover the pro’s and con’s of using grow bags so you can evaluate for yourself if its the right choice for you.
What are grow bags?
If you’re new to gardening, the concept of grow bags might be foreign to you.
A grow bag is essentially exactly what it sounds like – a bag that you can grow plants in. Its a great alternative for some if you’re using traditional pots or even if you’re planting in raised beds or the ground.
Today, we’re going to discuss some of the pros and cons of using grow bags so you can evaluate if they’re a good option for you!
Where can I buy grow bags?
You can find grow bags either in a gardening section of a home improvement store (likely home depot or lowes will have them).
You can also order them online from a variety of retailers. The grow bags recommended in this article are listed on Amazon, but you can find them a number of other places also.
Our personal favorite grow bag is this option from IPOW, sold on Amazon.
Its our top pick for a couple of reasons. First, the material is heavy duty while still balancing the ability to provide aeration for your plant’s roots.
Another reason is that it has a convenient flap to allow for easy harvesting for root vegetables. Harvesting potatoes with this model is much easier than a typical grow bag or pot (or even ground garden for that matter).
The price point is also very affordable and competitive with other options available.
The IPOW grow bag is our top overall pick, however if you would like to read a full comparison for different grow bag models check out this article for a deeper dive!
Pros of Using Grow Bags
Lets cover some of the pros of using grow bags in your garden.
Grow Bags Help Produce Healthy Roots
One of the biggest perks of using grow bags is they help plants grow healthy roots. Using a fabric bag compared to a typical pot ensures more airflow to your plants roots.
As roots approach the edge of the bag, the exposure causes the root tip to dry out and desiccate. This causes the roots to branch and become fibrous, which is a process called air pruning.
Air pruning helps promote fibrous roots and prevents the undesirable root circling that you see so often in potted plants/trees.
Grow Bags Help Control Temperature
Did you know your plants can burn in the summer heat? An issue commonly seen in potted plants during summer is the soil overheating.
Pots during the summer heat often get quite warm, and allow essentially no airflow through the plants roots to cool off. A porous grow bag provides a much cooler environment for your plants and additional airflow that help keep your plants happy and healthy.
Additionally, because of how porous a grow bag is it reduces the risk of overwatering significantly. This can be both a pro and a con, because plants will require watering more frequently too.
Convenient and Easy to Use
Grow bags are very beginner friendly and can help you avoid some of the pitfalls of beginner gardening (i.e. overwatering, plants becoming root bound, etc.).
They’re super convenient for small spaces, in the same way that pots are for plants. You can use them on a small balcony or a rented space with no room for a garden.
They’re also easy to store, so in the off season for your garden you can fold up bags and store them in a closet. This is much more convenient than your typical potted plant.
Cons of Using Grow Bags
Next, lets cover some of the drawbacks of using grow bags.
One of the most prominent downfalls of grow bags is that they’re not as durable as pots. You can usually use them for multiple seasons, but depending on quality you’ll most likely end up replacing them after 3-5 seasons due to general wear and tear.
All of our selections for top grow bags are made up of high quality material, however after several seasons of use even the highest quality grow bag will likely show signs of wear.
Compare this to a traditional pot, and the durability is much less. Unless a pot is cracked or damaged accidentally, you can essentially reuse them until the end of time.
Plants Require Extra Water
As we mentioned in our pro section – grow bags are very porous and allow a lot of air flow. As a result, when you water your plants the water will flow right through. This can be a pro and a con.
On one hand, it helps prevent overwatering so you don’t have to worry nearly as much about root rot. Root rot, a common pitfall for new gardeners, is when your plant’s roots sit in moisture or standing water for too long and become oversaturated with water.
On the other hand, the added aeration and drainage from your grow bags mean you will have to be more diligent about watering frequently to ensure your plant isn’t underwatered.
Aesthetically Not As Pleasing
There are some cute options for a grow bag. You can find burlap ones for a rustic feel, or a few other varieties depending on the look you’re going for. However, there’s definitely a much wider selection of cute pots that will complement your garden design.
Are grow bags right for you? It depends on your goals for your garden. There’s some definite pros, however there’s some definite downsides as well. Overall it depends on how you garden and what your goals are for the grow season!
Decided a grow bag is right for you? Check out our post on the top grow bags for 2020!