Plastic vs. Fabric: What’s The Better Option?

Root Pouch plant pots

Plastic pots have had tremendous staying power in our industry for a number of reasons, including those outlined in our November special report, “The Future Of Plastics.” In the report, we also explored a number of emerging biocontainers and whether or not any are a true challenger to plastics. We did not, however, explore non-woven fabric as an alternative container material, and it’s to this point that one reader issues a challenge.

“Fabric pots are being used around the world, from greenhouse propagation to the largest outdoor commercial tree growers,” says Jim Averna, one of the founders of Root Pouch. “Fabric pots are the preferred container in the hydroponic Industry, as well as the home hobbyist. The horticultural industry is quickly converting over now that the cost comparison in plastic versus fabric is comparable due to the rising petroleum cost.”

Averna points out that only two fabric companies–Root Pouch and Smart Pots–served the horticultural market here in the United States just two years ago. Now, Averna says there are 18 fabric companies serving the market.

“When you have 16 fabric companies emerging in two years and you don’t have a single new plastic company being formed, what does that say?” Averna asks.

“The fabric pot industry is huge and getting bigger every day. You would be hard pressed to find a grower in the United States that is not already using, testing it or is considering fabric containers. Every reputable agricultural university has tested it against plastic, all with reports of superior growing abilities and bigger plant yields.”

The fabric companies emerging are largely serving the growing hydroponic market, but Averna says fabric lends itself to growers of all kinds.

“The fabric prunes the plant,” he says. “It will allow the plant to breathe. It allows oxygen to come into the root structure. The number one benefit is that it allows air and moisture to flow through it.”

Have you tested fabric as a container in your greenhouse? Perhaps you’re already using fabric as a container material. If you have firsthand experience, share your story in the comments section below.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Plastic vs. Fabric: What’s The Better Option?

  1. I had a wonderful crop of potatoes from organic seeds. Used organic soil and boy could we taste the differece. They were so good! We were very successful with smart Pots last time but this time we are going to try some fabric pots from http://www.oxygenpotsystems.com . They have a line that looks nice as they are a little thicker then the smart pots but we shall see if thats a good or bad thing. Happy Growing! 🙂

Latest Stories
North Creek Nurseries lower trials

June 24, 2016

North Creek Nurseries Is A Finalist For 2016 Operation …

North Creek Nurseries in Landenberg, PA, is one of three finalists for Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Operation Of The Year award and winner of the Excellence In Sustainable Production award for 2016.

Read More
Cal Poly Logo

June 24, 2016

Cal Poly Ag College Hosting Alumni Reception At Cultiva…

Alumni and friends of The Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences are invited to a reception that will be held Sunday, July 10.

Read More
Stocking spring plants at Petitti Garden Center FEATURE

June 23, 2016

How Growers Can Help Retailers Sell More In Spring

Fresh from a busy spring season, retailers share their wish list of things growers can do to make spring generate even more sales.

Read More
Houwelings Tomatoes

June 23, 2016

Houweling’s Tomatoes Has A New Corporate Head Grower

Arie van der Giessen, who has led the horticultural operations for many successful regional and national greenhouse operators in North America, will start his new role in September.

Read More
Vic Frey, Kurt Weiss Greenhouses Feature

June 23, 2016

Vic Frey Named A Finalist For 2016 Head Grower Of The Y…

Vic Frey, a finalist for the 2016 Head Grower of the Year and recipient of the 2016 Excellence In Production award, was always willing to trial and experiment with the latest technology. He loved the constant change in this industry, and turned every opportunity into a teaching moment.

Read More

June 21, 2016

Sign Up For The First-Ever Flower Run At Cultivate’16

When you pack your bags for Cultivate’16 in Columbus, OH, July 9-12, don’t forget your running shoes! There are still three weeks left to train for the first annual Luxflora Flower Run, which will kick off the start of Cultivate’16 on Sunday morning, July 10. The Flower Run celebrates Luxflora‘s mission to develop a visionary, influential floriculture network in which women leaders can create, inspire, and flourish. The 5k event is an opportunity for all floriculture professionals to come together to network, build relationships, and to have some healthy fun. Running is not required – this event is walker-friendly, as well. If you opt to be an observer rather than run/walk, then join your friends at the finish line to help shower the participants with flowers. Register yourself or your company’s team today, to join in on the fun. Free Flower Run tshirts will be available to participants, while supplies […]

Read More
BASF Orkestra Intrinsic

June 21, 2016

New Mode Of Action From BASF Offers Deeper Disease Cont…

When it comes to disease control, you need all the help you can get. BASF recently hosted growers, Extension personnel, and trade media to present its newest fungicide with two active ingredients, offering dual modes of action.

Read More

June 20, 2016

7 Garden Retailers Announced Closings This Month

Several established garden stores announced they were closing at the end of the 2016 season. Most of these retailers are decades old, including one that is closing after 133 years in business.

Read More

June 20, 2016

Industry’s First Plant Pricing Survey Is Open

The green industry has almost no research on plant pricing. With an industry that struggles to survive on slim margins, that's a problem. This survey is designed to help address the need, and we invite everyone to participate.

Read More
IGC 2016 Valley Forge Casino Resort

June 20, 2016

Stuff You’ll Want To Check Out At EIGC

Planning on attending the Easter Show For IGCs? Here's a list of new and interesting things you'll want to do while at the Philadelphia show.

Read More
FleuroStar Award Ceremony

June 20, 2016

Begonia Hybrid ‘Miss Malibu’ Takes Home FleuroStar Awar…

The award from Fleuroselect was announced at the Green Inspiration Event in Amsterdam.

Read More
Caryopteris 'Beyond Midnight Bluebeard'

June 20, 2016

Keep The Sales Coming With 16 New Blooming Varieties Fo…

Plants that put on a show from first frost long into fall and offer the color options consumers want for their gardens go a long way toward extending sales further into the season and can help maintain your sales momentum going strong. Check out these 16 new blooming varieties, both traditional favorites and new alternatives, for your fall crop selection.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

June 19, 2016

Albert Grimm Named A Finalist For 2016 Head Grower Of T…

Grimm, winner of Greenhouse Grower's Excellence in Outreach and Leadership award, is always willing to listen, continuously learn, and improve. He is a role model and empowers his employees to strive for excellence.

Read More
'Osaka' Flowering Cabbage (Sakata Ornamentals)

June 18, 2016

Mark Your Calendar For Sakata Seed Trials In August

Sakata has set two dates for its California-based trials: Aug. 15-17 in Salinas, and Aug. 17-19 in Woodland.

Read More
Practical Software Grower Vertical

June 18, 2016

Practical Software Solutions Increases Accessibility, E…

Practical Software will demonstrate Grower Vertical, its customizable and scalable enterprise management system for the horticulture industry, at Cultivate’16 in July.

Read More
Ornamental kale field at Sunlet Nursery

June 17, 2016

Sunlet Nursery Named As Finalist For 2016 Operation Of …

Sunlet Nursery in Fallbrook, CA, is one of three finalists for Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Operation Of The Year award and winner of the Excellence In Community Leadership award for 2016.

Read More
Priva Tomato Deleafing Robot

June 16, 2016

Priva’s Tomato Deleafing Robot Nabs Innovation Award At…

GreenTech, the Netherlands-based horticulture technology trade show, opened with an award presentation for Priva’s deleafing robot, which accurately removes leaves from tomato plants without spreading viruses.

Read More
Lisa Ruggiers, National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association

June 15, 2016

Meet The New Executive Director Of The National Greenho…

Lisa Ruggiers has been active in NGMA for several years, and will work closely with the group’s officers and board of directors.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]