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Fabric Pots vs Plastic Pots: What’s the Difference?

By Kent Gruetzmacher
Published: March 7, 2022
Presented by AC Infinity Inc.
Key Takeaways

Each part of the cannabis plant deserves its own attention. Whether it be topping stems for the best structure, or trimming excess fan leaves to stimulate growth, there are established best practices for ensuring bountiful cannabis harvests.

Taking notes from growers, hydroponic equipment companies have devised products that deal with specific parts of cannabis plant physiology. Today, there is a near endless array of container products on the market that not only support cannabis plants, put also react with the root zone in specific ways.

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As the root zone is one of the most critical elements of cannabis physiology, it’s very important to understand how different containers might affect plant growth. An important debate in the cannabis industry today is whether fabric pots or plastic pots work better for growing plants.

To help clarify the fabric pots vs plastic pots discussion, the following talking points should be considered:

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Soil Moisture Levels

When it comes to growing cannabis, understanding the ideal moisture content of a cultivation medium is a learned art. That being said, perhaps no problem plagues beginner growers as much as overwatering.

While every grower must understand moisture levels in different cultivation mediums to be successful, the type of container used will also greatly impact how well the soil or substrate retains water.

Fabric Pots: Because fabric pots are extremely porous, they dry out far quicker than plastic pots. This fast-drying time often keeps novice growers from overwatering, which reduces issues with pathogens like root rot.

Plastic Pots: Some cultivators enjoy the fact that plastic pots don’t dry out quickly. This slow drying rate reduces the number of times they must water. Not only do plastic pots help conserve water and nutrients, but they also reduce the overall labor needed for irrigation.

cannabis plant rootsRoots tend to wrap themselves around the bottom of plastic pots.

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Root Growth Patterns

Healthy roots are critical to the overall productivity of a cannabis crop. Unfortunately, problems at the root zone often go unnoticed until they manifest in the leaves. At this point, deadly issues like fusarium wilt are already deeply set into your plants.

To properly care for and troubleshoot your cannabis garden, it’s critical you know how both fabric pots and plastic pots affect overall root growth patterns.

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Fabric: Because they are extremely breathable, containers such as AC Infinity Heavy Duty Fabric Pots allow air to pass freely into the root zone of cannabis plants. Once roots make contact with the air, they stop growing before actually touching the sides of pots. By keeping main roots from growing too long, “air pruning” stimulates the even growth of smaller roots. In turn, a greater number of roots offer more avenues for water and nutrient uptake.

Plastic: When planted in plastic pots, cannabis tends to produce fewer offshoots of roots that grow extremely long. When they aren’t air-pruned, cannabis roots tend to wrap themselves around the bottom of plastic pots. The only real plus to this idea is that plants grown in plastic are often easier to transplant than those grown in fabric.


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Aeration of the Root Zone

Many growers often fail to appreciate the fact that fresh air is critical to maintaining living organisms within soil. If you are interested in cultivating organic cannabis in soil, you must pay careful attention to what it takes to keep vital microorganisms alive.

Fabric: Because fabric pots are breathable, they provide immense aeration for the root zone of cannabis plants. With living soil, this airflow is critical for maintaining the health of bacteria and fungi that, in turn, aid roots in better absorbing nutrients.

Plastic: Plastic pots only allow air to penetrate the root zone from the open top and drain holes on the bottom. While this breathability is not great, plastic pots protect microorganisms in another way. Importantly, bacteria and fungi in living soil can die when soil totally dries out. Because plastic pots don’t dry quickly, they provide a bigger buffer for moisture content in protecting living organisms.

cannabis plants in plastic potsIf you are interested in cultivating organic cannabis in soil, you must pay careful attention to what it takes to keep vital microorganisms alive.

Overhead Cost & Ease of Use

Aside from direct influences on the growth patterns of cannabis plants, other considerations to make when deciding between fabric pots and plastic pots are related to overhead cost and ease of use. In the end, if you can’t afford a certain pot or they don’t work with your overall infrastructure, they really aren’t worth considering anyway.

Fabric: Many cultivators would agree that fabric pots are easier to use than plastic on several fronts. Models such as AC Infinity Heavy Duty Fabric Pots feature handles so they are extremely easy to move around the growroom. Even more, because they are collapsible, fabric pots can be easily stored away in a small space when not in use.

Plastic: Plastic pots are much less expensive than fabric pots. Especially for new growers that face exuberant overhead costs, this price difference can be the most important deciding factor. Growers also enjoy the fact that plastic pots are easy to clean of built-up nutrients and excess salts.

Summary: Fabric or Plastic Pots —What’s Best for Me?

Looking at the above information, one can’t help but conclude fabric pots are likely better for overall plant health than plastic pots. Yet, to truly maximize the benefits of such concepts as air-pruning, you must be a master at understanding moisture levels in cultivation mediums. This notion is particularly important if you are growing organic cannabis in living soil.

All things considered, fabric pots seem like the best choice for experienced cultivators focused on organic, living soil.

Plastic pots are a great choice for novice growers on tight budgets. However, these individuals must be able to keep overwatering problems in check. A good workaround for the overwatering problem with plastic pots would be using a fast-dying medium like coco-coir.

Weighing the above criteria, plastic pots seem like the best choice for newbie growers who aren’t focused on soil growing.

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AC Infinity is the foremost name in air delivery systems, designing and developing the latest innovations in cooling and ventilation technology. They offer a suite of quiet inline fans that automate the growing progress and track key metrics. Visit acinfinity.com or contact [email protected] to learn more.



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Presented By

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Written by Kent Gruetzmacher | Writer, Owner of KCG Content

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Kent Gruetzmacher MFA is a Colorado-based writer and owner of the writing and marketing firm KCG Content. Kent has been working in the cannabis and hydroponics space for over a decade. Beginning in California in 2009, he has held positions in cultivation, operations, marketing, and business development. Looking specifically to writing, Kent has worked with many of the leading publications and marketing agencies in the cannabis space. His writing has been recognized by such icons as Steve D’Angelo and Rick Simpson.

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