A grow bag or fabric pot is a large-sized normal bag. If you’re an urban gardener or small-space gardener, you must have heard of using grow bags to grow plants and vegetables. 

Gardeners who lack outdoor space can easily produce a variety of plants such as tomatoes, salad greens, peppers, herbs, and other similar vegetables in a fabric bag. To put it simply, you can successfully cultivate any plant in a grow bag that doesn’t have deep roots.

On the other hand, plastic pots (aka plant pots, nursery pots) are lightweight, strong, and pliable pots. Like a grow bag, you can fill the plastic pot with growing medium to grow plants. Traditional plastic pots are quite cheap and widely available. 

Now the question that many gardeners ask is between a fabric grow bag and a plastic pot which is better for plants? This blog will compare grow bags vs plastic pots so that plant lovers can choose the right planter for their adorable plants.

Comparison Table Between Grow Bags Vs Plastic Pots 

Whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, this comparison table regarding grow bags and plastic pots will assist you in getting a quick insight.  

AspectGrow BagsPlastic Pots
CostTypically, less expensiveGenerally, more costly
WeightLightweight and portableHeavier and less mobile
Root HealthProvides better aerationLimited aeration
DrainageGood drainages propertiesDrainage holes required
InsulationModerately InsulatedLimited Insulation
Size OptionsVarious sizes availableOnly standard sizes are available
ReusabilityFabric pot is reusable for many years if you clean and store them properly every year. On average, it can last up to 10 years.Plastic plant pots are reusable for many years as well.
PortabilityEasy to move aroundLess portable
Temperature controlModerate soil temperatureNursery pots may become too hot or cold.
Water AbsorptionAbsorb more water which may inhibit excess moisture and encourage the growth of fungi.Plastic pots don’t absorb water and discourage moisture build-up and fungus growth.

In essence, grow bags are great for cost-effective, lightweight, and portable gardening with good aeration and drainage benefits. 

On the contrary, plastic plant pots (aka nursery pots) may not provide the same level of benefits as fabric bags. However, plastic garden pot is highly durable, and it is not water-absorbent. So, there is less probability of the growth of fungi and rot.    


Contrasting Between Fabric Pots and Plastic Pots

Fabric pots (aka grow bags, fabric bags) and plastic pots are both different from each other in many ways. The advantages plants receive from fabric grow bags aren’t similar to plastic pots. In most cases, fabric bags are more efficient compared to plastic pots. 

Here we’ve compiled a list of contrasting aspects of grow bags and plastic pots. We’ll discuss this below in detail so that plant parents can choose the right planter for a successful gardening practice: 

  • Material Composition 
  • Breathability and Aeration
  • Temperature regulation 
  • Root Pruning and Air pruning  
  • Portability and Ease of Use 
  • Indoor Gardening
  • Environmental Considerations
  • Cost 

Material Composition

Grow bags are normally made of different types of fabric or jute. That’s why they are also known as fabric pots. The finest material for grow bags is landscape fabric which is made from polypropylene or burlap.  

Another common material for fabric bags is polyethylene. Polyethylene or poly bags are made of thin plastic and are typically recycled plastic bottles. Gardeners should use potting soil or grow media such as coco coir, perlite, vermiculite, etc. 

Also, potting soil may contain peat moss, but many growers are using coconut fibers for growing plants. However, plant parents don’t need to use new soil every year unless there is growth of soil-borne diseases in a fabric plant pot.  

On the other hand, making plastic pots involves four types of resins. These are high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP), and high-impact polystyrene (PS). Plastic pots are rigid and durable. But there is little chance of breathability as grow bags. 

Breathability and Aeration

Grow bags have a better drainage system. It provides aeration and root ventilation. Improved aeration stimulates stronger root growth and root system and prevents root suffocation.    

On the other hand, plastic pots don’t have any drainage holes, Also they are solid and non-porous which may result in overwatering, less air circulation in the plant roots, and a potential risk of root rot.  

In short, grow bags are more breathable and good for aeration because they are made from fabric or woven materials. 

Temperature Regulation

You need to maintain an optimal temperature range between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit for potted plants. Frequent sunlight and hot air can be trapped inside as potted plants aren’t very breathable. 

Using grow bags can help regulate garden soil temperature which is vital for root development and plant growth. In contrast, plastic pots can become excessively hot when exposed to sunlight. Plastic doesn’t conduct heat, but it can absorb a great amount of heat which may potentially harm plant roots. 

Root Pruning and Air Pruning

Root pruning or root trimming is done deliberately to encourage new root growth and manage the size of the root mass. Air pruning occurs naturally when plant roots encounter air, typically at the edges of containers. 

Grow bags are made from porous materials. So, when the plant’s root grows and reaches the side of the grow bag, it is exposed to air and promotes air pruning. Also, when seedlings begin developing thicker roots, they won't be constrained by the bag but rather just grow through it.  

Conversely, plastic pots don’t allow air pruning. When a plant’s root reaches the edge of a rigid plastic pot with no room, they have no choice but to circle around the interior. This is referred to as round-bout. It may make the root system less effective at absorbing water and nutrients.  

Portability and Ease of Use

Plants that are grown in grow bags are lightweight and easy to move. This makes it convenient for gardeners to transport. Whether you need to relocate your plants for better sun exposure or to protect them from adverse weather conditions, grow bags can be easily picked up and moved without much effort.

On the other hand, plastic pots are heavier and less convenient to relocate. This is especially true for larger plants which can become heavy when filled with potting soil or grow media. 

Indoor Gardening

The question that may arise for gardeners is which is better for indoor gardening, grow bags or plastic pots? Certainly, grow bags are a suitable choice due to the benefits of their breathability, aeration, and moisture control. Plants grown in fabric bags can fight against overwatering and reduce the risk of root rot.  

Conversely, plastic pots can be used for indoor gardening, but they may need extra attention and care compared to grow bag plants. For instance, they may require plastic plant saucers or trays to catch excess water.

Plants that grow in plastic pots may face overheating issues during summertime. That’s why it definitely needs additional monitoring for productive gardening.

So, the straightforward answer is that you should choose “grow bags” over “plant pots” for a streamlined cultivation process.  

However, the type of plant you want to grow can also influence this decision. For instance, grow bags are suitable for growing vegetables. Herbs, and annual plants. Also, ornamentals and flowers, small trees, and shrubs can grow well in a grow bag. On the other hand, large trees and perennials, cacti, and succulents are appropriate to cultivate in plastic pots.  

Environmental Considerations

If grow bags are made from biodegradable materials such as jute, hemp fabric, or coir, then they are eco-friendly and sustainable. Besides, grow bags don’t leave any environmental footprint because they can be reused for many years. However, if you choose grow bags that are made from polypropylene, they won’t be considered sustainable.  
On the other hand, plastic pots are durable and long-lasting. Also, they are made from non-biodegradable materials like polyethylene. It means they can contribute to plastic waste and take many years to break down in landfills. But there are some plastic pots that can be recycled which is a more sustainable option.

For eco-friendly gardening practices, choose grow bags or plastic pots that are made from recycled materials, or recycled fabric. 


Grow bags are more affordable compared to high-quality plastics. So, gardeners on a tight budget should look for budget-friendly grow bags. The cost of grow bags may vary depending on the size and materials they are made of. For instance, 12 packed heavy-duty 7 gallon bags can cost gardeners 20 to 25 dollars. 

On the other hand, high-quality plastic pots are more expensive compared to fabric bags. Also, plastic pots made from polypropylene are not sustainable too. A 12-inch single gallon pot or nursery pot can cost growers around 12 dollars. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here we’ve answered the queries asked by searchers regarding indoor grow bags vs plastic pots.  

Q. Are grow bags better than plastic pots?

Grow bags offer several advantages that make them a better option for plant growth. From improved root aeration to mobility and eco-friendliness, grow bags provide a conducive environment that maintains healthy plant development. So, if you're looking to enhance your gardening experience, consider giving grow bags a try! 

Q. Can you put grow bags in pots?

Yes, you can certainly place a grow bag inside a pot. In fact, if you wish to have a decorative and structured container for your plants, then you can put a grow bag in a plant pot. This is a better decision in terms of the benefits of grow bags. Grow bags can provide better drainage and aeration. To put a grow bag into a plant pot, choose a grow bag that is slightly larger in diameter and depth than a grow bag. Then slide the grow bags into the pot to ensure they fit comfortably. Also, make sure that there are drainage holes. You can also use saucers or trays under plants to catch excess water.  

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, now you know which one to choose between grow bags and plastic pots. Surely, grow bags are a better option when it comes to improved breathability and drainage. Also, Grow bags are biodegradable which makes them more sustainable than plastic pots. On the other hand, plastic pots are a better option for growing large trees, perennials, or cacti. However, plastic-made nursery pots aren’t eco-friendly since they are made from non-biodegradable materials. For sustainable gardening, choose pots made from recycled materials.