Cactuses are fun and low maintenance, and with proper care, they can live for decades. But growing a cactus from seed can be a daunting experience since it’s hard to be sure what types of cactuses will grow in your region and what types of soil are best.
Fortunately, you can buy a cactus in just about any shape or size you want, but it won’t look anything like the actual plant it’s supposed to be.
However, if you have a cactus you want to start from seed, there are a few tricks you can use to make it as real looking as possible:
Grow bags are becoming more and more popular for all kinds of plants, so it is only natural to wonder if they can be used for cacti as well. They seem to be more convenient and flexible than pots, but are they really worth it?
Table of Contents
What Is A Grow Bag?
The term grow bag is as self-explanatory as it gets. Grow bags are large bags that you can grow plants in.
They contain soil, fertilizer, and other nutrients needed to grow healthy plants. The bags are made with breathable fabric and come in various shapes and sizes, making them quite versatile.
Grow bags can also be stacked up, shortened, and shaped according to your needs. Once the plant has outgrown the bag, you can also place it into a pot or another bag as required.
How Long Do Grow Bags Last?
Grow bags are very versatile and can be made of a variety of different materials. Depending on what material the bag is made of it can last anywhere from 1-10 years.
If you have made a DIY grow bag with breathable fabric and cardboard, it will likely not last for longer than a year since the moisture content in the soil will make the bag wither away.
However, these bags may last slightly longer when you plant a cactus in them since the soil used for cacti is generally drier than the soil used for other plants.
Grow bags are also often made of recycled, breathable plastic or fabric. Good quality recycled grow bags can easily last for five or more years.
This is because these materials do not experience moisture damage and are resilient enough not to be damaged by the cactus’s roots.
Biodegradable bags are also resilient and can easily last for around 3-5 years before they start to decompose.
As with pots and other materials, the more you care for the bag, the more it will last. In fact, you can keep reusing the same grow bag for different plants till it withers away.
How To Make Grow Bags?
You can easily buy a grow bag at the store and use it to grow cacti. However, you can also make your own grow bags at home! Many DIY-savvy people make their own grow bags since it is a sustainable practice, and they don’t need to buy a new one every time it wears off.
You should have landscape fabric to make the grow bag since it is breathable, lightweight, and inexpensive. You can easily sew any size of grow bag using the fabric.
Thin landscape fabric is excellent to let the water drain out while still allowing the soil to breathe. Thin landscape fabric is ideal for cacti as well since the water drainage can prevent the soil from being too moist, which can harm the cactus.
You will also need polyester or any other heavy-duty thread to hold the bag together for a long time.
You can sew together 5 rectangular pieces of landscape fabric with the thread to make a bag of any size.
The landscape fabric can also be used to make handles to carry the grow bag whenever necessary easily. Once you add soil to the bag, it will hold its shape.
Interestingly enough, you can even make your own grow bag by recycling old canvas totes you may have lying around.
Remove the handles from the bag and poke holes in the material to drain water easily. Sew the bag’s handles to opposite sides instead to make it easy to carry the plant wherever you want.
You can add some cardboard planks to give shape to the bag, or you can simply add the soil mixture to give the bag some shape.
Other than that, you can even use cardboard to make your own grow bag. Simply take an old cardboard box, add soil, mulch, and compost to it, and start planting! Cardboard grows bags can also be put directly into the soil and give plants the grounding that they need.
They are lightweight, so if you attach handles to a cardboard box, you will find it easy to carry around wherever you want!
Perfect Gallon Of Grow Bags For Cactus/Succulent
The reason why grow bags can work wonderfully for cacti is that they are incredibly versatile. Cacti come in various sizes, and you need a different pot for their different growing phases.
Cacti don’t have very deep-reaching roots, so the bag you use to grow a cactus should approximately be the same size as the cactus itself.
Short-grow bags are perfect for cacti because of their smaller roots. A deep bag will take up too much space, will be harder to maintain, and won’t be able to nurture the cactus as well, either.
In deep bags, there will be a lot of soil the cactus won’t be able to reach, and it will damage the plant.
Therefore the perfect grow bag capacity for a cactus is anywhere between 0.5 gallons to 1 gallon. You can also easily make containers with this much capacity at home! Alternatively, these sizes are easily available in the market as well.
Grow Bags vs. Pots
In recent years, the trend of using grow bags over pots has increased. But is it just a trend, or are grow bags better than hard-edged pots? Let’s find out:
The most significant difference between the use of grow bags vs. that of pots is the development of the root system.
It has been ensured that grow bags make for a more well-developed root system than pots. This is especially true for cacti with long roots and other plants with longer roots since the roots can get tangled up in the pot and make for stunted growth and overcrowding.
Overcrowding can also cause suffocation of the roots, which can ultimately kill the cactus.
Grow bags can give more space for the roots to grow compared to pots. So the roots can go as deep or be as spread out as possible, ensuring healthy growth and breathability of the plant.
The roots also become well-adjusted to the soil, making for stronger cacti in the bad than in pots.
While both grow bags and pots can come in similar sizes, grow bags can allow for more or less space, depending on the plant’s needs.
On the other hand, Pots are quite rigid with how much space they are offering since it cannot be altered.
Grow bags are more versatile than pots as well. This is because they are lightweight and can be carried anywhere easily, so you can use them for indoor and outdoor plants, including cacti.
Other than that, you can use the handles of the grow bag to hang them from places too. They are not as heavy as pots, so it will not be as risky!
Once a plant is out of a grow bag, you can fold it up and store it in a closet or your shed. It no longer takes up much space. Pots still take up space after the plant has been removed from them.
Grow bags are more manageable than pots since you can keep them anywhere inside or outside the house. Grow bags are also easy to store compared to pots. You can also plant a grow bag directly into the ground too.
Grow bags and pots have similar durability. Clay and terracotta pots can break and once they do, salvaging the plant is a difficult task.
If a grow bag begins to wither or tear, it is still easy to transplant the plant into a different bag or a pot without compromising its integrity.
Grow bags are lighter than pots, making them easy to carry from one place to another. You can easily transport your cactus inside and outside the house, depending on what it needs at the time.
Grow bags are porous, so they offer better drainage than pots. Plastic pots are very easy to over-water, rotting the cacti or infesting them with fungus gnats.
Clay pots offer slightly better drainage, but the drainage holes in the grow bag help immensely with the drainage. It keeps the cactus strong and sturdy and prevents it from rotting.
However, plants in grow bags need to be watered more often than plants in pots. This is because of grow bags’ porous fabric, which prevents water from staying in the soil. While this is okay for cacti, it can disadvantage some plants.
Grow bags are better for cacti in very hot seasons since they allow the plants to stay cool. They have porous fabric that can help keep the plant well-ventilated compared to pots that can store a lot of heat.
Pots can easily get overheated and can damage plants because of this as well. Plastic pots can also lose their structure when it’s too hot outside as well.
However, pots are better for cold climates. Grow bags cannot retain heat, so even if it is sunny in the daylight, as soon as it gets cold and the sun is out, the plants no longer have any heat.
In very cold areas, grow bags can also make plants susceptible to frost.
Do Grow Bags Need Drainage Holes?
Yes, grow bags do need drainage holes.
Most fabric used to make grow bags already have pores, so there is no need to poke extra holes for drainage. However, if the bag is made of recycled plastic or other smooth material, you will need to add drainage holes.
Remember to add drainage holes to a grow bag if you are making it as well. If you aren’t using breathable fabric, you should manually add holes to it to make drainage easier as well.
Drainage holes are important to prevent waterlogging in the soil, which can cause fungus and insect infestations on your cacti.
Cacti also grow in drier soil than other plants, so a lack of drainage holes in the grow bag will make it difficult for the cactus to hold up because it will always have more water than necessary.
Clay pots are naturally porous and have been the vessel of choice for most plants, so grow bags need to replicate that texture to ensure that plants grow easily in them.
Are Grow Bags Reusable?
Yes, you can easily reuse grow bags for several crops.
Grow bags are generally long-lasting, and a good quality one can easily last you for ten years. In ten years, you can easily have ten different crops! You can plant something new in the bag as soon as you have harvested the old crop.
Similarly, grow bags are excellent for annuals as well. You can reuse a grow bag multiple times a year for seasonal plants as well.
To reuse your grow bag for a different plant, you must clean it first. Follow these simple steps to clean your grow bag:
- Remove all the soil and other material from the bag
- Let it dry under the sun for at least a day
- Wash the bag with high-pressure water or a garden hose to ensure no remaining debris from the previous crop.
- Use dish soap and baking soda to wash the bag thoroughly to eliminate any bacteria and other microorganisms. These microorganisms can create unfavorable conditions for your next crop in the bag if they are not removed promptly.
- If your previous plant had a fungal infestation, you would need to wash it thoroughly by adding hydrogen peroxide and other strong cleaning agents. Failure to thoroughly disinfect your grow bag can hamper the growth of the new plant.
- Scrub the bags using a soft-bristled brush and remove any remaining stains and debris that you see.
- Wash the bag underwater and let it air dry for 24-48 hours. It would help if you did not put the grow bag in the dryer since it can weaken the fabric and make it difficult to use again. Drying the bag in a dryer can also reduce its lifespan.
After this, your bag will be as good as new, and you can use it again for a new plant!
What Are The Benefits Of Using Grow Bags?
Grow bags are as popular as they are because they have quite a few advantages. Some of them include:
Healthy Root System
Some cacti have a complex root system and need ample space to be able to develop those roots. Grow bags allow for that space and prevent overcrowding of the roots.
This keeps the roots well-aerated since more of their surface area is exposed to the aerated soil, and the roots are not bunched up. This makes for the healthy growth of the cactus and keeps it growing strong.
Can Be Used In All Conditions
Grow bags can be easily transported anywhere because they are lightweight and have handles to carry them around. They can also be used in areas with bad soil.
This is because the bag will have a soil mixture of its own and will not have to be confined to the ground soil only.
Grow bags consist of drainage holes that help keep excess water and moisture out of the bag. This is especially good for cacti since they grow in relatively dry soil and are very easy to overwater.
Bags Are Breathable
Grow bags consist of holes that make them breathable. These holes are good for drainage, but they can also help to aerate the soil.
This improves the oxygenation in the roots, making them stronger and keeping the cactus well-nutritioned.
Plants that stay in excess moisture are prone to fungus and fungus gnats. Keeping them in grow bags will prevent them from waterlogging, keeping fungus and fungus gnats away.
The breathability of these bags can also prevent infestation by other common cactus pests.
Can Keep The Ground Soil Intact
If the soil in your ground is not suitable for cactus growth, you can simply plant the cactus in a grow bag instead.
This way, you will be able to keep the grow bag in the yard with all your other plants without compromising on the current conditions of the soil.
What Are The Disadvantages of Grow Bags?
Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages to using a grow bag, which means they may not be perfect every time. Some of these disadvantages include:
They Need To Be Watered More
While drainage is one of the strongest points of a grow bag, the drainage also requires the plant to be watered more.
This makes the bag very water-consumptive, and you will need to take out a lot of time to water plants. Even cacti will need to be watered more frequently when they are planted in a grow bag.
Not Very Aesthetic
Many grow bags are made from either recycled material or plain fabric. This can compromise the aesthetics of the garden.
While there are many attractive options available nowadays for grow bags, and you can decorate them on your own, pots ultimately look better in a garden than bags do.
All Are Not Biodegradable
Not all types of grow bags we use are biodegradable. Some grow bags are made from recycled plastic and other inorganic materials.
We cannot plant these bags directly into the ground either since they will not decompose.
Not Great For Cold Weather
The breathability of grow bags makes it harder for them to survive in cold weather. They can become prone to frost, and their inability to retain heat like clay pots can also freeze the plants. Some plants may require cold conditions and may still thrive in a grow bag, including many cacti species as well.
However, many cacti also need heat retention and could die if grown in a grow bag in a cold area.
Big Bags Are Not Portable
Grow bags can come in capacities of over 10 gallons sometimes. You can use these bags to grow huge cacti! However, these bigger bags are not as portable as the smaller ones.
In fact, it is easy to transport pots than a 10-gallon bag! So once you plant something that huge, it will likely stay where it is.
Why I Prefer To Grow Bags To Plant Cactus
It’s been a while since I switched to using grow bags for all my cacti. The biggest reason is that I like to move the cacti around from one place to another.
Sometimes they are on my windowsill, sometimes they are in the garden, and I keep changing their location depending on the weather outside.
Some of my cacti smell absolutely divine in the flowering season, so I like to keep them near me during this time, and hanging them from their grow bag is easier than keeping them in a clay pot!
Also, I have personally noticed that the cacti I have grown in a bag are stronger than those I have planted in a pot. They do not get as many infestations or mold and have a strong root network.
I have made it a point to either make my own grow bags or only buy biodegradable ones from the market. I never use plastic pots because they are quite unsustainable and really irk the environmental nerd in me!
I also enjoy painting from time to time, so I painted all my plain bags in fun patterns, so they look perfect around the house.
Lastly, grow bags are just much simpler and more manageable than clay and plastic pots. I don’t have to worry about them breaking or waterlogging, and I can move my cacti around easily.
All in all, switching to grow bags for my cacti has been quite a blessing so far!
In conclusion, the Grow Bags for Cactus are easy to use. Simply set the bag on your cactus and fill the reservoir with water. Then change the wicks like instructions tell you to.
These Grow Bags for Cactus provide enough water for your plant to survive. The Grow Bags for Cactus are an excellent tool for novice and experienced gardeners.
Grow bags are slowly becoming more common, and planting cacti in them is growing as a practice.
Taking good care of a bag will ensure it lasts for a long time and you can plant many crops in it every year!