Check out the smart pot if you are interested in container gardening’s newest fad.
The use of fabric grow bags for trees and shrubs has long been common among commercial producers. In the past few years, we’ve noticed an increasing trend among home gardeners to employ the smart pot in their container gardens.
I am a recent convert to using fabric pots in my own herb garden and have started to slowly transition away from using plastic containers. Using smart pots in my herb garden has taught me a lot, and I’m happy to share my findings with you.
What is a Smart Pot?
Smart pots are fabric containers that can be used to grow plants. The material is comparable to landscaping fabric in that it is lightweight and porous. To use in organic farming and food crops, the material is BPA-free.
A smart pot’s distinguishing characteristics from plastic or ceramic pots.
- Roots are kept cool by breathable fabric.
- Creates a well-functioning root network
- Anti-watering device
- Portable and convenient for storing
- Add spreader pockets with ease with this design feature.
Smart Pot Benefits – Why Plants Grow Better in Fabric Pots
Growing better plants is a common goal among gardeners. Instead of using ceramic or plastic containers, we looked at the advantages of using fabric pots and why they are so effective for growing potted herbs and other plants.
Let’s The Roots Breathe And Keeps Them Cool
Due to the fabric’s permeable nature, the roots will remain cooler. During the hottest months of the year, containers become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Because the smart pot allows your plants to breathe, this problem is solved.
A plant’s most natural habitat is the soil. Your plants’ roots are naturally kept cool by the ground. Using plastic pots to grow plants is a bad idea since they get too hot in the summer, resulting in an unhealthy environment for the plant.
Consider it in this light. In the heat of the summer, what do you hope to be wearing? Cotton t-shirt or raincoat made of polyethylene? All living things require oxygen to function properly.
Air Pruning Creates a Healthy Root Structure
Prevents container plants from becoming root-bound with air root trimming. A plant’s roots will begin to develop in a circle at the bottom of a plastic pot when it begins to outgrow its container.
Fabric pots, on the other hand, allow the air to naturally trim the roots, ensuring that they remain strong and healthy. This natural fibrous root ball forms when the root tip stops growing and branches out when it reaches the bottom or side of the pot. Water and nutrients can be more efficiently absorbed if the plant’s roots are not closely linked together.
Overwatering is a major problem while growing plants in containers. Wet feet are a particular problem for some herbs, like rosemary and thyme, which you’ll see mentioned a number of times.
In order to keep the plant from wilting in a waterlogged container, use a cloth container. In the absence of a water meter, estimating the volume at the bottom of a container might be challenging.
Alternatively, you might have to water the plant more frequently. Any time you move your plants inside, be sure to use saucers under each pot so water doesn’t end up all over the place.
Another advantage of the fabric is that heavier or richer soil can be used. Because we don’t want the container soil to become too compacted, we often use extremely light soil. You don’t have to worry about your plant being smothered by too much moist and compacted soil when you use fabric pots.
You can build your own pockets in the side of the smart pot like strawberry pots by utilizing a cloth container. Mint or thyme may be grown in this with ease.
Cut little Xs where you want an opening to be added to your smart pot to add pockets. Before or after filling the smart pot, this can be done. If you wish to hang the smart pot, you can cut a hole at the bottom.
Saves on Storage Space
Fabric pots are an excellent solution if you have a small garden shed or garage. When the growth season is through, the fabric’s light weight makes storage a breeze. Ten or twenty of these pots can be stacked in the same amount of area as a conventional container.
How I Use Smart Pots in the Garden
Many traditional pots remain in my garden since I haven’t completely eliminated plastic containers. So why do I keep my smart pots around? There are two reasons.
Temporary Container for Transplants
When it comes to transplanting, the smart pot is one of my favorite tools. If your plants are getting too crowded, it’s time to make some room and shift them to another part of the yard. The issue is that you don’t always have the ideal location in mind before you begin your search.
The smart pot is a terrific method to give your transplants a temporary home. Before putting them in the ground, move them around the garden a few times to see where they do best in terms of sunlight, water, and blending in with the rest of the plants.
In my garden, I prefer to use black garbage bags because they blend in so well with the rest of the landscape. In addition, they appear to be part of the landscape rather than a collection of individual pots.
For larger plants, the company offers a fabric bag that has a slit down one side. Even though it looks interesting, I haven’t yet tried it out myself.
Create a Plant Infirmary
Plants can be moved from the garden bed to a smart pot to be nursed back to health.
An old whiskey barrel has been transformed into a herb garden with rosemary, thyme, and sage. My rosemary, on the other hand, was rapidly deteriorating. I noticed the leaves were turning yellow, and I knew it needed some more TLC to keep it looking good.
Digging out the Rosemary alone and replanting it in a clever pot was my solution. I cut it back and restored the dirt in the garden. When I observed that the plant was drying up in the larger pot, I moved it to a less sunny area of the garden to ensure that it was getting enough water. As time went on, the rosemary began to sprout new leaves and become considerably greener.
This is something I’ve begun to do with any plants that appear to be in need of some help. I put them in a Smart Pot and relocate them to a secluded spot in the garden. Pests and illnesses will not be able to spread to your other plants as a result of this. Fortunately, I now have a small nursery where I can isolate and treat sick plants until they are strong enough for reintroduction into the main garden.
Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
How to Clean a Smart Pot
In order to clean a smart pot, there are two methods. Empty the bag, allow it to dry, and then brush out any remaining dirt. This is perfectly acceptable for the vast majority of applications.
It’s best to sanitize your smart pots after using them to house ill or ailing plants, like I did. Allow it to air dry after washing it with peroxide or OxyClean in a sink or bathtub.
What Size Smart Pot Do You Need?
The pot size you require will depend on the size of your plant when it has fully grown. To get you started, here’s a general road map.
Herbs, Salad Greens, and Radish: Smaller (1-5 gallons):
Small (5-10 gallons): Tomatoes, Strawberries
To see a complete listing of sizes, go to the Smart Pots Store.
How Long Do Smart Pots Last?
It’s more complicated than you think. They can last for up to six or seven years with the Smart pots. Because they do not break or freeze, a smart pot has a major benefit over stone, plastic, or clay pots.
What Can You Grow In A Smart Pot?
Everything with roots is fair game! In addition to herbs, I’ve used my smart pots to grow roses and other ornamentals in the past.
Vegetable farmers love these grow bags, as you can see on the company’s website. Many of their clients swear by this method of growing since they obtain superior yields.
Are You Ready to Try Smart Pots?
Container gardening’s newest fad is to use clever pots for plant growth. Make sure to give them a try if you enjoy growing plants in pots. It’s possible that you’ll never buy another container the same way again.
Are Smart Pots Reusable?
Smart Pots can be washed and re-used if proper care is taken during the growth season to prevent tears and damage to the fabric.
As a raised-bed garden, Smart Pots are an excellent option.
- Fruits and Vegetables (even root crops)
- Trees that provide fruit or produce attractive foliage
- Setting up shrubs
- Propagation of plants
I enjoy the fact that I can expand my Smart Pot collection by reusing current sizes and purchasing a few new ones each year, such as the wide-bed Smart Pot. This technique ensures that I always have the proper pot accessible for each type of plant I want to grow.
After discovering that the plants or soil inside a Smart Pot are infested with a pest or disease, many people wonder if it’s safe to reuse the Smart Pot. Smart Pots, on the other hand, allow you to disinfect and treat the cloth without damaging it. You don’t have to worry about introducing hazardous bacteria into a fresh crop because of this ability.
Because Smart Pots can be cleaned and recycled year after year without causing harm to our already overburdened landfills, this is a welcome relief for the environment.
How Long Do Smart Pots Last?
The inexpensive cost of Smart Pots leads many gardeners to believe that they are only good for a single usage, but with proper care, they should last three to five years.
It’s unclear whether the maker is referring to real years of use or to the assumption that you’ll only use it once every year.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be using your Smart Pot for several crops a year, so following the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions may not keep the bags in good shape for up to five years.
Avoid dragging the pots around when they’re full, as this could cause the cloth to tear or wear out. In addition to following the basic cleaning requirements, I also go a step further and thoroughly clean my home.
In order to get the most out of my pots, I make sure to use them carefully during the growing season and clean them according to the Smart Pot cleaning instructions found here. Smart Pots have lasted me seven or eight years, so the pots’ longevity is remarkable.
Check to make sure you’re getting the real deal and not a cheap knock-off that will only last one season before breaking down.
However, despite their aging appearance, my older Smart Pots are still in excellent working order and are worth the effort of maintaining them.
How To Clean Smart Pots
To ensure that your Smart Pots are safe to use again, follow these instructions.
Cleaning Empty Smart Pots
- Throw away any residual dirt and plant detritus. To get rid of any loose dirt, gently shake the pot upside down. Air dry the bag by letting it sit out in the sun. A low-humidity chamber can also be used to dry out the pot.
- Use a soft brush or your hand to carefully remove any remaining dirt or hair roots from the fabric once it has dried.
- Wash your Smart Pots by hand or machine using a solution of water and OxiClean or another non-chlorine bleach. If you want to avoid agitating the fabric, you can use a front-load washer, but I prefer hand washing. Since chlorine bleach degrades the fibers in the material, using non-chlorine bleach helps keep pots cleaner, longer.
- Make sure the bags are completely clean by giving them a good water rinse.
- Allow the open bags to air dry completely on a clean surface. When drying the Smart Pot bags, do not put them in the dryer, since the heat will weaken the material and distort the fibers, causing the Smart Pot to deform.
- The pots can be reused immediately or folded and stored in a closet, shed, or garage for the upcoming growing season after they are dry.
Cleaning Full Smart Pots
Steps for cleaning Smart Pots even if they’re already filled with plant material include removing any mineral deposits or moss that have built up on the pot’s exterior.
- Mix a half-gallon of water with a cup or two of baking soda.
- Gently scrub the pot’s exterior with a soft-bristle brush dipped in the solution, being careful not to damage the pot’s fabric fibers. Scrub again and again until the area is free of debris.
- To clean the pot’s outside, run it under water and scrub gently.
- The cloth should be allowed to air dry completely before re-watering the plants. Debris buildup will be less likely to occur if the fabric is allowed to dry.
Cleaning and reusing your Smart Pots is a great way to expand the size and production of your garden while also being kind to the environment.
Hopefully, this Smart Pot cleaning advice will help you keep your pots free of debris and bacteria so that they retain their form and integrity. Your Smart Pots will last a long time if you take care of them properly!