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Best Grow Bags

Updated December 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 22 Models Considered
  • 8 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 103 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best grow bags

    Last Updated December 2018

    Grow bags are a great alternative to pots for starting plants inside a greenhouse or for the gardener who is short on space. These flexible containers are popular for growing potatoes, but they work well for everything from tomatoes to trees.

    Grow bags flatten for easy storage during the winter months and serve as a useful tool for those who lack a permanent garden area.

    The BestReviews team has put together this buying guide to grow bags to help you select the best product for your gardening needs. Our guide covers the main features to consider, the price you can expect to pay, and a helpful section of frequently asked question.

    If you’re ready to buy some grow bags, the product list at the top of the page showcases our favorite options.

    A quality grow bag should be sturdy enough to stand up on its own even unfilled.

    Grow bag features

    Grow bag benefits

    Most gardening pots and containers made of ceramic or other hard materials don’t provide enough aeration and drainage for plants. Grow bags offer many benefits over pots.

    • Allow plant roots to breathe

    • Provide better drainage

    • Use cheaper, denser soil mixes

    • Are lighter and more portable; easier to position for maximum sun exposure

    • Require little planning

    • Easy to empty and store for winter

    • Excellent for areas with poor soil quality.

    Grow bag drawbacks

    • Not the most elegant container option

    • Not an aesthetic every gardener appreciates

    • Not as durable as ceramic or other hard materials

    Size

    Typical grow bags range from 1 to 30 gallons in size. Small containers are used for growing seedlings and large ones for trees and other big plants. Use only the size you need. Growing one head of lettuce in a container that’s too large wastes water and soil.

    The root depth of your plants will dictate which size grow bag you choose. Depth matters much more than container diameter for plants with complex root systems. A grow bag that’s too small can stunt your plant’s growth by causing it to become root-bound.

    • Plants like lettuce have shallow roots and are capable of thriving in smaller grow bags.

    • Tomatoes and peppers have deeper roots that require a deeper, larger grow bag.

    • Trees have very deep root systems and need large grow bags in order to flourish.

    Biodegradable grow bags can leach chemicals into your soil. Avoid these bags if you’re growing edible plants.

    Material

    When choosing a grow bag, opt for one with thick walls. A thicker grow bag will last longer and won’t fall apart if you need to move it around your garden.

    • Fabric: Sturdy fabric won’t crack or break with sun exposure. Many fabric grow bags are made of natural fibers, which some gardeners prefer over synthetic plastic. Fabric is breathable, drains water exceptionally well, and promotes air pruning of plant roots. Air pruning prevents the root circling and tangling that can happen in ceramic and other hard pots and promotes very healthy plant growth.

    • Plastic: Budget-priced plastic grow bags are a good temporary option for starting plants, but they won’t last longer than a season. Thin plastic could also rip easily under the weight of the soil. The best available plastic grow bags are made of thick, breathable, UV-protected polymers. They can be reused each year and won’t fade or degrade with sun exposure. Compared to fabric bags, these grow bags don’t drain as well and aren’t always as breathable, but plastic does retain heat better.

    Handles

    Some grow bags have sturdy handles for easy transport. Bags with handles are a good choice if you are starting your plants indoors. These bags are easy to move outside once the weather warms. For areas with spotty sunlight exposure, handles enable you to move the grow bags to the sunniest part of your deck or patio as the day goes on.

    Colors

    Colorful bags are a great way to spice up a balcony garden. Dark-colored containers retain heat better than light-colored ones.

    EXPERT TIP

    Color code your grow bags to help you keep track of what you planted where. For example, use red containers for tomatoes and green ones for peppers.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Grow bag prices

    In general, the larger the size, the pricier the grow bag.

    • $5 to $10

    Grow bags in this price range are usually intended to last a single season and must be thrown out post-harvest, but you’ll also find some smaller grow bags of better quality at this price point.

    • $20 and up

    At this price, you’ll find sturdier grow bags that you can reuse year after year.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    Water your plants in the morning or evening to avoid leaf burn and evaporation.

    Tips

    One of the most popular vegetables to grow in grow bags is the humble potato. In a garden bed, potato plants can gobble up a lot of precious real estate. Grow bags are a convenient alternative for spawning spuds from seed potatoes you can purchase from a local nursery or seed distributor.

    • Choose a grow bag with sides that can be folded down; don’t immediately fill it completely with soil.

    • Pick a sunny area (potatoes need a lot of sunlight).

    • For a 12-gallon grow bag, plant three to five seed potatoes; plant up to ten in a 30-gallon container.

    • Add more soil as your potato plants grow.

    • Water the plants frequently.

    • Do not disturb the soil. (Resist the temptation to see what’s going on under the dirt since doing so can damage the plant roots.)

    • When the plant dries and falls over, it’s time to dig up the potatoes. Digging up potatoes can be a fun family activity – like a fall-themed Easter egg hunt!

    You can save money by purchasing grow bags in packs of three or more.

    FAQ

    Q. I have a shaded deck, can I still grow plants in grow bags?

    A. Absolutely. But when growing plants in a shady area, you’ll need to temper your expectations. Plants that require a lot of sun may produce low yields or look stunted if grown in the shade. For a better harvest, plant vegetables that need less sunlight. Leafy greens are a good option for the vegetable gardener. There are also plenty of flowers and nonedible plants that flourish in low-light conditions. Check seed packets for growing information or ask an expert at your local nursery.

    Q. Can I reuse the soil in my grow bags next year?

    A. Absolutely, but people who don’t have much space may find it easier to store empty grow bags. An ideal place for that dirt is the compost pile.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Kyle
      Kyle
      Writer
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer
    • Steph
      Steph
      Writer

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