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The age-old question of pots versus grow bags is an old argument amongst gardeners. Some will swear by grow bags, others will only use pots, and some like to use a combination of both, depending on their gardening needs. What both sides can certainly agree upon is that both pots and grow bags have their advantages and disadvantages and, depending on your situation, one will work better than the other.
Of course, this hasn’t stopped gardeners from arguing about it, and it cannot be easy to get a clear answer on which will work better. So, to make it easier for you, the grow bags vs. pots pros and cons.
Grow Bags vs. Pots: Pros and Cons
First off, what exactly is a grow bag? Simply put, a grow bag is a bag you use to grow plants in, and they are usually made from felt or other non-woven, pressed fabrics. Plastic is never a good choice for a grow bag.
In gardening, they are used the same way as a pot, and you can buy them at the local convenience store. You get a wide range of grow bags, and some gardeners even like to make their own, which saves a lot of money. But in short, it’s a bag you can use instead of a pot for your plant.
- Lighter in weight
Probably one of the biggest pros of a grow bag is how light it is. It’s not difficult to move around, and you can plant bigger plants in the pack and have no fear of struggling to move it if need be. Just make sure the bag is strong enough to hold the plant’s weight; otherwise, it will tear, and you’ll have a bigger problem on your hands.
- Good drainage and breathable
One of the significant problems with pots is they don’t always offer good drainage, and they can quickly suffocate a plant, especially if you’re using plastic pots – but buying ceramic is not always cheap. The good thing about grow bags is they are far more breathable, and a more expensive grow bag won’t make it impossible to move around.
This always makes it very difficult to overwater your plants.
- Better root growth
Bags are more flexible, and they can give a lot more space to your plants. The pots can make your poor roots grown in circles and eventually wrap around each other, causing stunted growth.
- Takes up less space
What is excellent about grow bags is they don’t take up as much space, and if you’re using them for practical reasons and now aesthetic reasons, you can quickly put them on the back porch, all in neat little rows. This is especially handy when you want to start a veggie garden, but you don’t have space in the park.
- Not pretty
Let’s face it, no matter how many smiley faces you stick on or how prettily you’ve dyed it, grow bags don’t look as lovely as pots. They get frayed and stained and torn, and before you know it, your bag makes your garden look like an eyesore.
- The bags wear out
The other problem with these bags is they aren’t well suited for the outdoors. After a few seasons, anything between 1 – 6, they begin to wear out, and you’ll have to get or make new ones, which can up the price tags on these bags. You can buy more full bags that will last longer, but they’re more expensive, pushing the expenses of using these bags even higher.
- Water more frequently
Because they drain so well, they can easily up the water intake, and so you’ll have to water them a lot more than with a bot. A pot, ceramic in particular, will drain much slower and keep moisture inside the pot for a more extended period. Whereas the bag can drain almost instantly and tomorrow morning you’ll have to water again.
Pots come in either plastic or ceramic, the two most common types. They both have drawbacks and cons, so we’ll be looking at both as we move forward.
One of the best features of pots is their durability; the longer something can last, the less expensive it will be in the long run.
- They look nice
Pots look better. A bag might have many excellent features, but nothing can beat a pretty spot in a garden or sitting on a windowsill. A bag can seriously take away from the beauty of a flower or other plant.
- You don’t have to water as much
The pots retain water far better than the bag. Although this can lead to root rot, particularly with the plastic pots, this will save a lot of water over time.
Oh boy, do these weigh a lot. Be careful when buying a ceramic pot, and think well about placing it. Once you’ve bought one of those big pots, moving it around is going to be a hassle. Planning is essential for a ceramic pot, which is why so many people buy plastic; they come with a whole other slew of problems.
- Rootbound can become a problem
Because the pots are so restrictive, your plant can quickly become rootbound. This is a serious hazard, especially for plants that multiply in the first year or so.
Combining pots with grow bags
You can, quite easily, try combining grow bags with pots.
Some gardeners, for example, will start their plants in grow bags and eventually move them over to the large ceramic pots. This ensures the plant is happy in its current spot, and it won’t outgrow its home too quickly. So when you plant it over into the new pot, you know that the place you picked is perfect, and you won’t have to move it for some time.
Other gardeners prefer to use grow bags for vegetables only. This would work well, as a vegetable patch is not developed for aesthetics but rather for practical purposes. Having a bunch of grow bags for your vegetables will be perfect! Plants like potatoes are well-suited for grow bags.
Finding the proper potting method for your plant hinges on what you want to do and what space you have. Some will find great joy in using grow bags; others will find them unappealing and impractical. But whatever you do, make sure you do what is suitable for your plants, because in the end, if your plant is happy, you will be too, no matter what container you’re using.