Fabric Grow Bags vs Plastic Plant Pots: Which is Best (Solved!)


Growing plants is no easy endeavor, but products like fabric grow bags and plastic pots are designed to make the ordeal a little easier for you and the plants. Making sure your plant grows to be healthy and robust starts as soon as you plant it, and the place you choose to put the seed has a big impact on how well your plant will grow.

Plastic plant pots are better for beginner gardeners because they last longer and they’re less expensive. We recommend fabric grow bags for more experienced gardeners who want to reduce their carbon footprint.

 Fabric Grow BagsPlastic Pots and Containers
CostFabric grow bags usually cost $10-20.The cost for these starts at about a dollar.
Plant healthThese are specifically designed to help plants grow.Designed to just hold the soil and water for the plant.
LongevityCan be used multiple times, but will need to be replaced  Can be used multiple times if properly cared for

Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, which are outlined in the chart above. The following article is a more detailed description of the pros and cons of each plant container.

Photo of empty blue plastic plant pots
Photo by Irina Pislari

Plastic Containers and Pots

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Pots and containers made from plastic are the more common way to house plants and everything they need to grow. They can be a good option for a beginning gardener or someone that needs an inexpensive way to have a small garden. But it’s still important to be aware of their advantages and disadvantages, so you make the best choice for your gardening situation.

Pros of Plastic Pots and Containers

Plastic pots and containers can be found at any gardening or hardware store. The main pros of using plastic pots and containers include:

  • They are extremely inexpensive
  • Work well outdoors and indoors
  • Easy to modify and personalize

The strong points of plastic pots and containers make them a great option for beginning gardeners.

Plastic Pots and Containers Are Affordable

Plastic pots and plant containers can be one of the least expensive ways to house plants, aside from just planting them in soil on the ground (if you have a backyard!). They usually have a starting cost of a dollar and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This makes it extremely easy to find a pot or container that will work best for you and your plants. For example, if you’re growing a smaller plant, then finding a small round pot for a low price will be very simple.

You can also reuse plastic pots and containers for multiple seasons, making them a great choice for gardeners who enjoy planting seasonally. All you need to do is throw out the old soil, wash out the containers, and make sure they are completely dry before planting seeds in them again.

Plastic Pots and Containers Last for Years

Despite the inexpensive material, they are highly durable and won’t get damaged if they are knocked over or fall off something. Plastic pot plants and containers are a very smart investment for anyone looking to start gardening.

Their durability also makes them great to use indoors and outdoors. Plastic pots and containers can withstand any weather, from a burning sun to torrential rains. If they do fall over while outside, you can easily put the plant back in them and reuse it like new.

Plastic Pots and Containers are Easy to Modify

The last main advantage of using plastic pots and containers is that they are very easy to customize for your plants. For example, if your plant prefers drier soil, you can easily drill a few holes in the bottom to provide some drainage and prevent overwatering. This makes plastic pots and containers a diverse tool that can grow a variety of plants. All it takes is a few simple modifications.

Cons of Plastic Plant Pots and Containers

Even though plastic pots and containers are cost-effective and easy to use, they have their fair share of disadvantages as well. The main cons of plastic pots are that they usually don’t cater to a plant’s needs well, and they can cause dangerous chemicals to seep into the soil.

Plastic Doesn’t Help Plants Grow

Plastic plant pots and containers are designed only to hold the plant and what it needs: soil and water. It doesn’t come with anything that can help the plants grow, and it’s up to you to provide everything the plant needs to survive. While that’s to be expected with growing a plant, plastic pots and containers can also harm the plant if they are not cared for properly.

Plastic is a non-permeable material, meaning water and air can’t pass through it easily. As a result, the soil doesn’t get the natural respiration it needs to keep the water and oxygen flow in check. This can cause the plant to be overwatered and the soil to be too dense, which can cause the plant to droop and not grow properly.

This can be avoided if some holes are drilled into the pot to allow for water to drain. But it’s something worth being aware of before you purchase a plastic pot, especially if you live somewhere with a humid climate.

Plastic Plant Pots and Containers Can Have Harmful Chemicals

Lastly, most plastic pots and containers are made from chemicals that can be harmful to the plants. Most plastic pots and containers are made with safe chemicals, but there are still many toxic chemicals to be wary of. If these chemicals manage to seep into the soil or water, they can cause great harm to the plant over time.

The main chemicals you should watch out for include polycarbonate and polyethylene, as these tend to be the most toxic. While other chemicals aren’t entirely safe, they are much safer than these two. It’s also recommended that you throw away any pots with scratches or chips, as they can increase the probability of chemicals seeping into the plant.

Photo of canvas grow bags filled with soil and plants growing out of them
Photo by Donnahayden

Pros and Cons of Fabric Grow Bags

Fabric grow bags have everything you need for a healthy plant, all wrapped up in an easy-to-carry satchel. You can fill them with soil and nutrients and add holes big enough for draining water without washing away the soil. They are made from materials that are extremely breathable and light, which ensures that your plants will get enough sunshine and oxygen.

While fabric grow bags can help keep your plants healthy, there are still some disadvantages to be aware of. It’s important to weigh all the pros and cons, so you make the best decision for your plants or garden.

Pros of Fabric Grow Bags

The main pros of fabric grow bags include:

  • They are designed to help plants grow
  • They can help replenish bad soil
  • They are very easy to store and use

There are other pros to using fabric grow bags, but these are the most important ones regarding how they help make growing plants easier.

Fabric Grow Bags Help Plants Grow

Fabric grow bags are specifically designed to better the health and growth of plants. A few features that fabric grow bags have that achieves this include:

  • A water drainage system
  • Temperature regulation 
  • Root growth promotion

Each of these features make fabric grow bags are a great place for plants to grow.

Fabric Grow Bags Have Water Drainage Systems

When you purchase fabric grow bags, you’ll notice that generally holes are already punched into the bag’s material. The holes are just big enough to allow water to drain out effectively without washing away any soil. This built-in drainage system prevents you from having to worry about overwatering your plants, which can be detrimental to their health.

Overwatered plants aren’t able to receive oxygen as easily since the soil is so heavy and damp. A lack of oxygen in plants can lead to the plant’s roots not being as strong and could result in stunted growth. With fabric bags, however, all you must worry about is watering your plant as often as needed. The drainage system will make sure there’s just enough water for your plant to survive.

Fabric Grow Bags Have Temperature Regulation

The material that fabric grow bags are made from is strong enough to hold your plant, but still breathable enough to regulate temperature. The breathable fabric allows air and heat to pass through easily, preventing the bag and the soil inside from getting too hot.

Hot soil can burn the plant’s roots, making it harder for them to get enough moisture to survive. Heat can escape from fabric grow bags easily, preventing it from getting trapped in the soil and drying out your plant. This makes fabric growth bags ideal for hot and dry climates, and you won’t have to worry about the sun scorching your garden.

Fabric Grow Bags Promote Root Growth

Lastly, fabric grow bags promote healthy and sturdy plant roots and root growth. Roots are responsible for getting the plant all of the moisture and nutrients it needs to survive. They are also responsible for keeping the plant grounded in the soil so it doesn’t get blown away by strong winds or washed away by torrent rains. That is why it’s very important that a plant’s roots are as sturdy as possible, and fabric grow bags can help with that.

Fabric grow bags force the roots to spread out more since they would otherwise be compressed in the bag. In addition, the material allows roots to break into the ground and spread out, preventing them from getting tangled with each other. The less tangled a root system is, the more ground it can cover and the sturdier the plant will be.

Fabric Grow Bags Help Replenish Soil

If you have soil that is dying or isn’t as nutrient rich as it used to be, using a fabric grow bag can help solve that problem. Whether it comes filled with soil or you fill the bag with the soil you choose, fabric bags are a great way to replenish the soil in your garden.

Fabric grow bags help to replenish your soil by distributing nutrients and moisture throughout your garden. When water drains from the fabric grow bag, the nutrients, and moisture that are carried with it seep into the remaining soil. Over time, the soil is replenished and can be used in your garden again.

This takes a considerable amount of time and usually takes more than one fabric grow bag. But it’s a great way to replenish your soil naturally while integrating new plants into your garden.

Fabric Grow Bags are Easy to Store and Use

The last main advantage of fabric grow bags is that they are easy to store and use.

To use a grow bag, all you have to do is decide where you want to put it and place it there. The bags are lightweight and easy to carry, as most of them have handles on their sides. I

If you decide to wait until a specific season to place your grow bags, then they are also very easy to store. Empty fabric grow bags can be folded up and tucked away on any shelf until you’re ready to use them.

Cons of Fabric Grow Bags

Fabric grow bags are extremely useful, but they still have some disadvantages that should be considered. The main cons of fabric grow bags are that they can become expensive fast and they might not last as long as plastic containers or pots.

Fabric Grow Bags are Expensive

The average cost of a fabric grow bag ranges from $10 to $20. How much the bag costs usually depends on how big the bag is. Upfront that doesn’t seem like a lot, but it can rack up fast once you start buying more.

Fabric grow bags might need to be replaced with a new bag every two to three years, depending on wear and tear. If you use fabric grow bags as your main source to keep your garden healthy and replenished, the cost can stack up.

Fabric Grow Bags Need to be Replaced More Often

Even though the material that fabric grow bags are made from is durable and that can last for years, they don’t last as long as plastic containers do. As soon as the plant has reached full growth or the roots have made enough holes, the bag must be thrown away.

Some bags even biodegrade into the soil, making it even more apparent that the bags can’t be used again. How biodegradable the bags are depends on the material they are made of. For example, fabric grow bags that are made from pressed fabrics, such as felt, aren’t able to biodegrade and are one of the longer lasting types of fabric grow bags.

On the other hand, material’s that are organic or recycled are able to biodegrade into the soil. But once you plant them in the ground, you won’t be able to use them again.

Keep in mind that some fabric grow bags that must be thrown away can create a bigger environmental problem. The material they’re made from might not be able to break down or be recycled, so it ends up being another piece of plastic waste. If you want to maintain your garden in an environmentally friendly way, then some fabric grow bags that are not biodegradable may not be the best option for you. 

Which is Better: Fabric Grow Bags or Plastic Plant Pots?

Both options include things that make them great for growing plants. However, both options also have downsides that can make maintaining a garden more difficult. Plastic plant pots are better for beginner gardeners because they last longer and they’re less expensive.

For more experienced gardeners who want to reduce their carbon footprint, fabric grow bags are a great way to replenish your garden or plant a new plant species for the first time. But they rack up in cost fast and the non-biodegradable ones are not necessarily better than plastic pots when it comes to the environment.

Final Thoughts

Fabric grow bags are useful products that can help revive your garden. Plastic pots and containers are also useful and are effective at growing plants. Both products work; they just need to be implemented in the correct situations.

A plastic pot can’t revive an entire garden with fresh soil and new plants. On the other hand, a fabric grow bag wouldn’t withstand multiple uses. Each one is designed to be useful in different ways; you just have to decide which one is better suited for the task at hand.

Here are Some of my Favorite Gardening Products and Tools

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful for growing some new plants in your home or garden. Here are some products I like that I hope you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, and I am compensated for referring traffic. But in all honesty, these are the exact product that I use or recommend to everyone.

Soil: For high-quality soil, I really like Fox Farm Ocean Forest. I do all my growing in containers and this soil has worked great for me. I like how they use nutrient-rich contents like earthworm castings, bat guano, and composted crab and fish.

Fertilizer: Currently I am using a seaweed-based organic fertilizer call Neptunes Harvest. This is a great milder fertilizer option if you want to use something organic. If you want a more powerful fertilizer, I recommend Fox Farm Liquid Nutrient Trio, lots of people have had great growing success with this product.

Pruning Shears: Pruning shears are one of the most useful gardening tools to have because it’s important to prune your plants to keep them healthy. The pruning shears I recommend are the Gonicc 8’’ pruning shears. I like them because they are built sturdy and work both on bigger and smaller plants, so you don’t need to have multiple pruning shears.

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