Fabric Pots Vs Plastic Pots
Fabric pots are everywhere. But what is it that makes fabric pots better than plastic pots? How do you know which to choose? The science shows using a plastic pot can be worse for your plants than using a fabric pot. But you may still ask - why are fabric pots better than plastic pots? Here are 5 facts about fabric pots that can help put an end to the plastic pots vs. fabric pots debate once and for all.
#1: Air Root Pruning
The primary advantage of the fabric pot vs plastic pots or terracotta planters is air pruning capability, which results in healthier roots being able to provide more nutrients to the plant. With traditional plastic pots, the plant's roots will reach the edge of the container and be forced to circle the container in search of water. As these roots circle, minimal lateral branching will occur resulting in poor nutrient uptake and cause the roots to quickly become root bound.
What makes the fabric pot so unique is when the plant roots reach the container's edge its root tips are trapped by the porous fabric. When these root tips meet the air on the outside of the pot, they are naturally pruned. This pruning process forces lateral branching of roots and increases overall root mass throughout the media.
#2: Increased Yields
Among the benefits of fabric pots are an improvement in total crop yields when using them compared to plastic pots. Air-pruning is to thank for this, primarily. How? Well, it's so simple, we've made it our motto. More Roots = More Fruits. The more media that a plant's roots are in contact with, the more nutrients and water it can draw out, resulting in a happier, healthier, and higher yielding plant. Many users of fabric pots see an increase of 10-12% in yields, as well as a significant increase in stem width when using fabric pots.
#3: Aeration & Drainage
Porous fabric used in fabric pots allows air to enter the root zone from all surfaces of the container. This aeration provides a healthy environment for the roots as well as supports beneficial microorganisms and bacteria. This aeration provides oxygen to the roots, which is essential for the metabolic process in taking up minerals and nutrients. Oxygen is also necessary to diffuse carbon dioxide away from the roots caused by the respiration of root cells and microorganisms. Roots without adequate access to oxygen will result in weak plants that exhibit slow growth and are predisposed to pests and diseases.
A common problem with traditional plastic containers is poor drainage leading to anaerobic condition that result in soil borne diseases like Phytophthora and Pythium, responsible for devastating root rot. Because the fabric is porous in fabric pots, excess water can easily drain from the container keeping moisture at an ideal level for healthy plant growth. This makes fabric pots ideal for high-performance feeding programs for indoor crops as well, as they can dry out quicker for repetitive feeding. Porous fabric also allows for use universally in all types of growing systems, such as flood trays, drain to waste, and other hydroponic applications.
#4: Temperature Control
Fabric pots allow air to penetrate the sides of the container, keeping it cool when exposed to direct sun on hot summer days through the process of evaporative cooling. According to the study (linked above) done by Catherine A. Neal at the University of New Hampshire, Dept. of Plant Biology: "In comparison to standard black plastic nursery pots, above ground fabric containers reduce maximum root zone temperatures through evaporative cooling and reduced absorption of solar radiation.” As air passes through a moist growing medium thanks to the aeration of fabric pots, the rootzone is cooled thanks to the passage of air over the water.
#5: Reusability and Storage
One of the lesser known facts about fabric pots is that they are reusable - for quite a few years in fact! Products like GeoPot Fabric Pots can be easily vacuumed to remove dirt and then washed with a peroxide or oxidizing detergent, such as Oxi-Clean to disinfect. This allows growers to re-use their pots between growth cycles without running the risk of cross-contamination. Another benefit of using fabric pots is the amount of space required. One can easily fit over 50 fabric pots in a 20x20 inch space, something that would likely be very hard to do with traditional, bulky plastic pots. You can even seal your fabric pots in plastic bags to prevent any unwanted inhabitants like spiders or rodents from using them as shelter.
Not all Fabric Pots are created equal.
Buyer Beware! Many fabric pots available to consumers do not provide adequate support, longevity, or construction to deliver the results that customers need. In fact, the materials used to make them can tear or degrade after just a single use. When it comes to the standard in fabric pots, one need not look any further than GeoPot fabric pots. A family owned company started in a garage in Petaluma, California, GeoPot fabric pots feature quad stitched, self supporting edges, as well as industry leading fabric thickness and longevity. The stitching is made from a bonded Polyester fiber used in the sails of high-end sailing boats – this ensures that the material will hold up in high moisture, high salinity environments similar to those found in soil environments.
GeoPots are also available with velcro seams for easy transplanting without the potential for damage to the roots that other fabric pots can cause without the use of the velcro. GeoPots are even available with handles to ease movement of pots, even when full! Check out this photo of some full GeoPots being held up by a forklift!
For more information, or to purchase GeoPots, visit this link, or contact your local hydroponics retailer.