Gardening in grow bags is an excellent solution for would-be green thumbs who don’t have enough garden space or who rent their home. Moreover, they are good for starting seeds indoors to transplant outside later. Grow bags also make a good alternative for gardeners who live in areas with poor soil quality. These garden helpers are planting pots made of fabric. Gardening in these “pots” minimizes the need to weed or use gardening tools.
Grow bags can be used to cultivate herbs, fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Because grow-bag plantings are grown above ground, their root systems get better air circulation than in-ground plants. The result is that plants raised in grow bags are often healthier and larger than those planted in the ground. Whether you’re looking for ways to expand your garden or you need lightweight pots that you can move easily, these top picks for the best grow bags will have you planting in no time.
- BEST OVERALL: VIVOSUN 5-Pack 3 Gallon Square Grow Bags
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: OPULENT SYSTEMS 5-Pack 5 Gallon Grow Bags
- UPGRADE PICK: Nicheo 3 Pcs 7 Gallon Grow Bags
- BEST SMALL: VIVOSUN 5-Pack 1 Gallon Grow Bags
- BEST IN BULK: JERIA 12-Pack 7 Gallon Vegetable/Flower/Plant Bags
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Grow Bag
Before shopping for the best grow bag, first consider what you plan to grow in them (the right soil and fertilizer are separate issues). The following are primary considerations when picking the right grow bag for your needs.
Most grow bags are made of nonwoven fabric, which is typically bonded by using heat or chemicals. Nonwoven fabric makes an ideal material for grow bag construction because it’s usually more breathable than woven fabric, and it allows plants to dry out between waterings and the soil to properly aerate. Proper air circulation helps inhibit mold growth. The best grow bags are made of a nonwoven material that’s breathable yet sturdy enough to support the weight of the soil and the plant.
Size is an essential consideration when shopping for the best grow bag. Grow bags vary in size from 1 gallon to more than 20 gallons. The grow bags on this list range up to 7 gallons in size, which is large enough to accommodate one pepper or tomato plant. The best grow bag for your needs depends on what you intend to plant. For example, a tomato plant needs at least 12 inches of soil, while radishes need only half that amount.
Aeration and Drainage
The best grow bag should drain water efficiently and allow the soil to aerate, which helps keep the roots healthy. In fact, one of the best things about grow bags is their ability to provide better air circulation and drainage than the same plant could receive in the ground.
The better a grow bag drains water and dries out, the more likely it is that the bag can be reused. Grow bags that don’t drain well are subject to bacteria and mold growth.
Some grow bags come with plastic “windows” so gardeners can see the roots of the plant to help determine if the plant is ready for harvest. These are primarily useful for root vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes. A window that opens can also make harvesting vegetables much easier. For flowers or herbs, however, a window isn’t usually necessary.
If growing plants or seeds in grow bags to transplant later, look for bags with a hook-and-loop closure on the side of the grow bag. Unfastening these closures is a much easier way to remove a plant than turning the bag sideways and wiggling the plant out of its container.
Container gardening is beneficial for any flower, herb, or vegetable that won’t survive the entire gardening season, as the plants can be removed easily to bring them indoors.
Portability is another important consideration. Many grow bags have handles to make them easier to carry and move. Don’t try to solve portability issues by buying grow bags that are too small for the flower or vegetable to be planted. Though smaller grow bags are lighter weight because they hold less soil, the size can make them less hospitable to some plants, such as indeterminate tomato plants.
Our Top Picks
Among the top picks for the best grow bags are bags with some of the “extras” described: reinforced handles, hook-and-loop closures for easy opening, and windows that allow gardeners to evaluate whether root veggies are ready to be harvested. Included are bags of various sizes to accommodate a variety of needs.
VIVOSUN’s 3-gallon grow bags are made from sturdy nonwoven fabric and have reinforced handles for easy portability. At 9 inches deep and a diameter of 9 inches, these grow bags can house spinach, radishes, peppers, and other vegetables. You can also use them to grow herbs and flowers.
Each bag includes four loops for inserting sticks or poles (not included) to support the plants as they grow. The bags’ nonwoven fabric allows for proper drainage and soil aeration, and this set is sold as a set of five bags.
- Made from sturdy, nonwoven fabric
- 9 inches by 9 inches holds variety of small vegetables
- Comes as set of five bags
- Drains and aerates well
- Might not hold shape without inserting stakes
- Too small for most tomatoes and larger vegetables
These five OPULENT SYSTEMS 5-gallon grow bags are made of nonwoven fabric for breathability and proper water drainage. They have reinforced handles to make transporting the bag easier. Measuring 10 inches deep with a 12-inch diameter, these bags are washable and reusable, and since they provide good soil aeration, they resist damage from moisture and mold. The 5-gallon size is useful for plants that don’t need a ton of space for their root systems, such as tomatoes, eggplants, and herbs.
- Five-pack of 5-gallon bags
- Thickened, nonwoven fabric
- Reinforced handles for easy transport
- Washable and reusable
- Might wear out from repeated use
- Can dry out quickly
These 7-gallon grow bags have a window through which gardeners can monitor the progress of their root vegetables. The window’s cover is secured with a hook-and-loop closure that opens to allow gardeners to harvest vegetables through the window’s opening. These grow bags are sold in packs of three, and the nonwoven fabric allows soil aeration.
The bags have reinforced handles on the sides, but the handles don’t protrude very far, which results in a seamless look. These bags come in three colors: black, brown, and green. Use Nicheo’s bags for a variety of plants and vegetables; the window makes them particularly suitable for root veggies.
- Comes in a pack of three growing bags
- Nonwoven fabric for airflow around roots
- Window flap opens to show root vegetables
- Reinforced, sturdy handles
- Thin; might not stand up to all plants
- At 7 gallons, they won’t hold a lot
These 1-gallon VIVOSUN bags are ideal for starting plants for outdoor transplanting or for growing smaller plants. They have a hook-and-loop closure on one side, which “unwraps” the bag and makes it easy to transplant flowers, herbs, and veggies. The bags’ material is BPA-free, offers ample drainage, and can be reused. However, they don’t have handles, which is inconvenient but not a dealbreaker because the bags are small. These bags are made of nonwoven fabric and measure almost 8 inches high and approximately 6 inches in diameter.
- Hook-and-loop closure opens for easy transplanting
- Includes five 1-gallon grow bags for herbs
- Excellent aeration for plants
- No handles on bags
- Quite small at only 6 by 6 by 8 inches
JERIA’s 7-gallon grow bags come with reinforced handles, and each bag measures 13 inches by 12 inches. The bags are made with nonwoven fabric so the soil can drain and aerate. Because the bags have handles and are made of sturdy material, they are relatively easy to move, even when filled with soil. This 12-pack of bags also comes with 12 plant tags for labeling the plants.
The bags are washable and can be reused. The 7-gallon size is ideal for plants that need a lot of root space, such as melons, indeterminate tomatoes, squash, and even smaller fruit trees.
- Includes 12 bags, enough to create a raised garden
- Each 7-gallon bag measures 13 by 13 by 12 inches
- Two reinforced handles on each bag
- Includes plant tags for labeling each bag’s contents
- May drain too easily, so use caution with placement
- 12 bags may be more than some gardeners need
Grow bags fill a void for many at-home growers of food in particular. When space is at a premium, these soft bags come out for the season and then fold and store away until needed again. The best grow bags let air in and water out through their nonwoven fabric, and the VIVOSUN 5-Pack of 3-Gallon Square Bags can help even new gardeners grow herbs, vegetables, or flowers. Those who want to “build” a temporary yard-to-table garden can grow a variety of edibles with the JERIA 12-Pack of 7-Gallon Plant Bags.
How We Chose the Best Grow Bags
For grow bags to do their job, they must come in a material that lets in air and lets out some moisture so water doesn’t pool at the roots. Of course, with these features, grow bags can be a little floppy, so we looked at bags that should be sturdy enough to support the weight of soil and plant. Portability can come into play for those who might need to move a plant in a grow bag. Most of the choices in this list include reinforced handles.
Size matters, and it really depends on plant preferences and space available. We noted whether a bag is too small for growing large vegetables, but big enough for transplants or annual herbs. As a bonus, some bags, like these 7-gallon bags from Nicheo, have a window. Although not a necessity, this is a great feature when growing root crops like potatoes and carrots so growers can see if they’re ready to harvest. It also can help keep kids interested in gardening; they can peek at what goes on beneath the soil.
FAQs About Grow Bags
While shopping for the best grow bags for your garden, you may have questions about what you can and cannot do with these garden marvels. Some of the most frequently-asked questions about grow bags appear below.
Q. Are grow bags suitable for all kinds of plants?
Unfortunately, no. Most grow bags aren’t suitable for plants like pumpkins, okra, and winter squash, all of which need a lot of root space.
Q. What can I grow in 3-gallon grow bags?
Plants with shallow roots—such as peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, peas, radishes, and some herbs—can be grown successfully in 3-gallon grow bags.
Q. What do you put under grow bags?
If your grow bags are being used outside, they may not need anything under them. However, if they’re inside or on a deck, place a saucer or plate underneath to catch the moisture that seeps through the fabric. Some gardeners put their grow bags on cinder blocks or wood stilts for better drainage.
Q. Do you need drainage holes in grow bags?
No, most grow bags drain properly, although you may need to move the grow bag to prevent moisture from building up around the base.
Q. How long do grow bags last?
With the right care, most grow bags can last for years.