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Gardening in Grow Bags: 5 Tips for Success

Gardening in grow bags is a simple way to begin gardening almost anywhere. Pick up a few bags, fill them with soil, and you’re ready to go. 

It’s easy to see why grow bag gardening is becoming a popular option for new gardeners and gardeners who are looking to add more space to their gardens.

Grow bag gardening

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Advantages of gardening in grow bags

Some of the advantages of grow bag gardening include

  • Grow bags are an inexpensive, easy way to add growing space. Look for good quality grow bags that will last many seasons.
  • Gardening in grow bags prevents overwatering. Excess water drains through the fabric and prevents soggy soil and roots. Look for good quality grow bags; they should have excellent drainage. 
  • Grow bags are easy to store when not in use. Clean them out by spraying off well, and then fold them up and let them dry. 
Why are grow bags healthy for plant's roots
  • Unlike most containers, grow bags allow plants’ roots to breathe. Happy roots mean a happy plant. This is one of the biggest advantages of grow bag gardening.
  • The ability to move grow bags easily to the best location. Look for a sunny spot in cool climates or give them shade in hot climates. 

Disadvantages of gardening in grow bags (and what to do about it)

Grow bags require more watering than traditional pots and the soil can dry out quickly. 

Larger grow bags can be hard to move when full of soil.

  • To make grow bags easier to move, choose good quality bags with heavy duty handles and get help. Be sure of the location before filling it. 

Grow bags require more frequent fertilization than raised beds or in ground beds. Similar to other containers, plants grown in grow bags require more frequent fertilization. 

  •  Use a half dose of a liquid fertilizer every few weeks during the growing season for most crops. 
Gardening in Grow bags: 5 Tips for SUCCESS
Gardener’s Best Potato Grow Bag from Gardener’s Supply

5 Tips for Successful Grow Bag Gardening


1. Choose the right plants to grow in grow bags

Grow Bag Gardening 5 Tips for Success

Because grow bags limit the size of the roots and available water, some plants are better suited to grow in grow bags than others.

When choosing which plants to grow in grow bags, look for “dwarf” varieties. These are smaller versions of full-size plants that do better in grow bags. Also, select “bush” or “compact” varieties rather than vining types.


Grow Bag Gardening 5 Tips for Success

Crops that grow well in grow bags include


Grow Bag Gardening 5 Tips for Success

Herbs that grow well in grow bags include


2. Use oyas or self-watering grow bags for thirsty plants

Because grow bags dry out more quickly, certain crops will do better if grown with an oya or in a self-watering type grow bagI use oyas from Growoya.

Self-watering grow bags have a self-watering reservoir in the base. You keep the reservoir full and there is a constant supply of moisture for the roots. This is the Titan Self-Watering Grow Bag & Trellis from Gardener’s Supply Company

Water reservoir at base of self-watering grow bag
Grow Bag Gardening 5 Tips for Success


3. Choose the correct size grow bag

Grow Bag Gardening 5 Tips for Success

Wondering which size of grow bag to choose? Look at plant spacing guidelines for the plants you would like to grow. The chart below gives general guidelines about which size of grow bag to choose for common vegetables, fruits, and herbs. 


Grow Bag Gardening 5 Tips for Success


Extra small grow bag (holds up to 2 gallons/7.5 liters of soil) is a good choice for many herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme, and basil

This size grow bag is also good for many vegetables such as kale, green onions, radishes, lettuce, chard, and arugula


Grow Bag Gardening 5 Tips for Success

Small grow bag (holds up to 3 gallons/11 liters of soil) is a good choice for many herbs like dill, cilantro, and parsley.

This size grow bag is also good for many fruits and vegetables such as kohlrabi, carrots, beets, strawberries, and celery


Grow Bag Gardening 5 Tips for Success

Medium grow bag (holds up to 5 gallons/19 liters of soil) is a good choice for many herbs like lemongrass, ginger, and turmeric.

This size grow bag is also good for many vegetables such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, okra, potatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, and peppers


Grow Bag Gardening 5 Tips for Success

Large grow bag (holds up to 10 gallons/38 liters of soil) is a good choice for tomatoes and sweet potatoes

Using a grow bag larger than 10 gallons? Great! They are well-suited to most types of vegetables and can often have several different types in the same bag. Read this article on companion planting for some ideas. 


4. Fill your grow bag with the best type of soil

Grow Bag Gardening 5 Tips for Success

Regular garden soil is too heavy for grow bags; it will become compacted. The best soil for grow bags is a combination of

Look for bagged potting soil that has a combination of these ingredients, or make your own. This blog post gives details about the best soil for raised beds which is what I use in grow bag gardening. 

When using this mix, the soil remains light and airy; it does not get crusted or compacted. Plants’ roots need oxygen as well as water, and roots love this mixture.

It is important to fill bags all the way up with soil to take advantage of the room inside the grow bag.


5. Put your grow bag in the best location

Grow Bag Gardening 5 Tips for Success

A major advantage of gardening in grow bags is the ability to put the bag in the best location based on the amount of sunlight it receives. 

Most plants grow best with at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Morning sun is preferred and a little afternoon shade is ideal, especially if you live in a hot climate. 

Grow Bag Gardening 5 Tips for Success

If you enjoyed this post about grow bag gardening, please share it:


Leslie Rifkind

Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

I recently sent a question regarding the plant bags. This will be my first attempt. Can you put small plants or just seeds.

Angela Judd

Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

Hi Leslie! You can start seeds or small plants in grow bags. Either one works well. Keep them well watered until seedlings emerge or the plant gets established and make sure you have good soil.

Leslie Rifkind

Monday 7th of February 2022

I am interested in growing herbs and vegetables in grow bags. Can you start small plants in a grow bag or only seeds? I live in Forest Hills, New York

Angela Judd

Monday 7th of February 2022

Hi. Yes, you can start by transplant in grow bags as well. Keep seedings well watered until they settle in.

THRISHUL

Friday 12th of November 2021

can we grow fig , lemon in grow bag?

Angela Judd

Tuesday 16th of November 2021

It would need to be a large grow bag. Keep it well watered in the summer.

Gale De La Torre

Friday 24th of September 2021

I like the grow bags featured on this page. Where can I buy them?

Angela Judd

Saturday 25th of September 2021

Gardener's Supply - If you click on the images of the grow bags it should take you to the type of grow bag pictured.

Karla Hamilton

Thursday 23rd of September 2021

Hi,

I live in Converse, TX. The heat out here is also pretty intense, would all of your great ideas/suggestions work for gardening in my area zone 8B ?

Angela Judd

Thursday 23rd of September 2021

Hi Karla, Some of the dates will be different, but the general principles will be the same.