Fabric Pots or plastic buckets?

Don’t know if this is right section for this or not. I figured since I’m growing autos I would try here

Planning my next sour diesel autoflower grow to start soon. I have been reading some about growing in fabric pots lately. Problem is everything I seem to find is contradictory. I am wondering if any grows or has grown with them in the past. What are pros and cons? Is it worth to switch from my family farm and home plastic buckets to fabric


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I tried fabric pots on a couple grows,i went back to plastic pots. I had to water more often and didnt really see a huge benifit but they do breath better.

@rsed809 I have used both and haven’t really noticed a significant difference in my grows. The fabric pots do breath more and I’ve noticed that you do water more like @c4stevo said. I chose the fabric simply because I could store the unused ones very easily.


I use fabric pots now. As mentioned, you will water more as air does go through fabric, but I have found once you make that adjustment the root structure responds better to fabric. At least for me.

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I use fabric and Plastic. I like watering more often and a greater amount of oxygen available for my plants. I also like that I can buy TAN fabric pots…in my hot climate, they work better at reflecting the heat from the desert sun…I use black in my tent. I use fabric in and out if the tent. In the yard, all my autos go in fabric…using 2/3 and 5 gal makes for easy moving in and out of the tent. My plastic pails…I had to paint them to reflect the heat - white and sky blue…they are 14 gal through 25…too big to move so they get photo period plants, who can grow larger. As for growth - they grow the same…that is due to care - nutrition, lights, soil, amendments, etc…When it comes time to pack them up, they wash so easily and pack away so compactly…another big plus


Use nursery pots they hold water longer, and as the roots grow they hit the fabric witch allways drys out first, last summer i had to keep wetting the sides of the pots as my plants gained size.

Thank you for the replies. I know I have a bad habit of getting too much water to my plants sometimes. I thought fabric might help me combat that. I’m getting better all the time at it. But still slip up once in awhile.

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Dont stess about it,like you said your only getting better!

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I use both kinds - plastic and fabric. Over the years - especially when trying my first couple of grows - I lost a few plants due to “drowning” - the drainage holes in the plastic pots got clogged due to roots growing into them, so there was little to no drainage available. Fabric pots - as everyone has mentioned - can both breathe and allow water to drain. Indoors I use primarily fabric, but with my first outdoor grows going, I’m testing plastic and fabric. So far it’s a toss up on those.

@rsed809 I use only fabric pots these days with the exception of my plastic dwc buckets.

Pros to fabric- more aeration and oxygen to the root zone, air root pruning and less risk of root binding and root rot/damping off, easier to punch holes for lst tie downs, you can grow larger plants in a smaller pot, and they make pest control and root expansion easier by allowing you to use the wicking (aka bottom feeding) method to water and feed.

Cons- they dry out much faster and you have to water more frequently, if not treated with preventatives they are prone to develop mold/mildew/algae if kept too moist, they tip easier when you have larger plants in them, they are more difficult to remove post harvest vs plastic or ceramic because they don’t slide right off and you have to roll them down and slowly work them off cutting back whatever roots have grown through the fabric.

I personally feel the pros far outweigh the cons so I use the fabric pots.


I prefer they dry faster, when my soil stays wet too long i always ended up with issues…


i assume its ok to rinse them out real well & re-use them,? i just finished my 1st fabric pot grow.


I feel I have made the complete conversion to to the fabric pots. When I’m done doing a run I just hand rinse all the soil in my creek out back. Then throw them in the wash machine with a little trisodium phosphate (oxyclean). They look brand new besides a few imbedded roots here or there.

Like MDbuds stated, wick watering from the bottom is a game changer. Especially adding nutrients or compost teas or water soluble amendments. I like to use a small kiddie pool for this. I flood it with 4-6 inches of water and just let em soak a while. When my creek gets real low late summer I just drop them in there like a reverse flood table. Either way you can see the water wick up the pots so you know when they are done.

One thing I’ve noticed with watering dry fabric pot. When the soil gets really dry you can have the water go to the outside edge of the fabric. Almost none wants to soak towards the middle. The soil gets hydrophobic it seems. Best way around this is to water with wicking method. I do love me some wicking fabric pots.

I asked for a large assortment of fabric pots last Christmas from the family. Now officially converted. I do save my old plastic pots though. They are useful for when I give away clones or plants to other people. I grow way more than cannabis, so lots of vegetable delights and orchard bench grafts go away in the old plastic pots too.


I agree completely…My plastics are much bigger than my cloth bags, 2, 3 even 5 times larger. I sometimes stack my cloths on and now, with the heat, I am burying them a little within the plastics. It gives more protection from the heat. When I did hydro and rockwool, we used to stack 4’s on 8s and 8s on 16’s of even flats. Roots will penetrate the cloth bag but much will dry off and form a better root ball. If enough roots grow, you only have to water the lower container, like wicking as the upper eventually becomes hydrophobic. All soil that is exposed to sun / heat, will eventually do that. I make layers…my upper layers are peat/perlite…moisture runs though very very easily and the second layer is a living soil which is on top of an organic soil. I use mulch on the top dressing. seems to work. Every year I recycle the whole mix


MDbuds, I wish I lived close to you. I would love to pick your brain for a couple of hours and compare grow stories. Over some shared buds of course.

I kind of feel that way about the whole grow community “getting it.” There is nothing worse than showing one of my no growing friends my new cross that knocked 2 weeks of my flower time and increased mold resistance and yield. When they reply blankly “neat”. Can we smoke now?

Same to you Mike in Vegas👍 Would love to trade grow stories w you too over buds.


Is there a thread about this wicking method? I’m sure it’s buried in my books somewhere, I’m just feeling the need to grow versus read right now. Please support my laziness. :rofl::v: Can someone help a sister out?

Kmac no more method than cleaning up spilled milk from the kids. The cloth (and soil) just soaks it up.

If you were dealing with bigger than 5 gallon pots it could be a problem. Heavy or awkward if the big plant is poking you in the face while moving the pots into the container to soak from. And having a container big enough to soak the pot in. I am blessed to have a shallow small creek on my lot i soak pots in all the time.

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For indoor: What if I set a 10 gal on a giant saucer (can’t think of the name right now), placed some rocks to fill the space, and set the pot on top of that? Do you think that would work if I watered the rocks?

I see your question now. The place you wick water is just a temporary space you put the pot. Only while it’s soaking (think shallow flood). Then you remove it so it can get nice and dry and have a lot of oxygen and airflow between waterings. Putting rocks or gravel on the bottom would just make it harder to do. It’s not a basin to catch overflow. It’s a purposeful short flood that soaks up into the roots and soil. One can easily do this with plastic pots too. Just plastic pots don’t tend to dry out as bad as the cloth ones. And you can see the waterline wick up the side of the cloth pot so you can see how far the water has reached… image

I don’t know why but all my photos seem to show up sideways when I post them. Anyway you can see the wick line I hope. It’s been in the water for about 20 minutes. I try to pull them out in 20 more minutes when the waters with close to the top. Splash a little on the surface soil if needed at the end.


That’s not going to work for me at this time, however. I sincerely appreciate your share because I will keep it for knowledge as it’s interesting to me. I’d definitely need to have my water and soil tested if I were to find such a place.