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Fabric vs Plastic Plant Pots

Fabric vs plastic plant pots

Every gardening season, you look for new ways to improve upon last year’s display and yield. One easy adjustment to start making this year is to consider switching to fabric pots, instead of only using plastic pots.

Pull out one of your plants that is currently in a plastic pot. See how it is root bound? Roots actually seek oxygen, just as much as they seek water. Most novice gardeners don’t realize the importance of both in healthy plant growth. In a plastic pot. the only oxygen near the root system are the holes punched into the bottom. The primary roots of the plant grow to the very edge of the pot, instead of evenly throughout the middle of the soil, as they seek the air. They keep swirling around the outside of the pot, growing longer and longer. The more that they twist and grow, the less healthy they become. Some may even start to turn brown and to die off.

When you use a fabric pot, roots have continuous and even exposure to the oxygen that they require. Natural air pruning occurs, which allows for the necessary secondary roots to grow, instead of just one really long root. The roots do grow toward the edge of the pot and sometimes into the pot as they seek the oxygen. Natural air pruning occurs. Roots sense the change in air as they hit the edge of the pot and only those exposed edges die and naturally break off. At the same time, secondary roots grow behind them. Secondary roots start to grow behind this dried out section, thus increasing the root mass. Stronger roots that continue to grow within the pot help to prevent root rot. These healthy roots are also more likely to do their job of feeding the plant, thus giving you a healthier plant and a better yield.

Plastic pots also were popular for a while because they provided better drainage than traditional clay pots. They have holes punched into the bottom, whereas clay ones require something like rocks or pebbles to be placed in the bottom. Clay can’t drain if too much water gets into them. Water naturally goes straight for the holes in plastic pots. Fabric pots, though, allow for the water to evenly distribute throughout the entire root area, as the water can drain from all areas. This also contributes to better plant growth.

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