Have a question about using a Smart Pot fabric container?
Smart Pot® FAQs
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about growing with the Smart Pot.
The smart pot is a container. In that way it works like any other container. You put good soil in along with your seed or plant and feed and water. The benefits of the Smart Pot are the aeration, water drainage and heat release. These three benefits will help you get a bigger better plant than what you have gotten in the past with the same size plastic or other container.
That’s all going to depend on what and how much you’re looking to grow! Check out our Soil Calculator for a quick and easy answer.
After using dump out the soil and let the bag dry. After a few days of being dry, the dust and small roots will easily brush off. For most people, this is good enough. At this point the container folds easily for storage. However, a lot of our customers will wash the bags in OxyClean or peroxide to sterilize. They use a washing machine or dip the container in a tub. Do not put Smart Pot fabric containers in a dryer.
Most likely what you are seeing is salt and minerals that build up over time from the nutrients and/or water being used in the Smart Pots. Salt and minerals can cause a ‘mildew’ appearance to your Smart Pot but it’s nothing to be concerned about. You can lightly scrub the sides of the Smart Pot while they are being used if you want to break up the salt and mineral build up.
We have many customers who will wash their Smart Pots after the growing season to get rid of the salt and mineral build up. Washing Smart Pots will increase the longevity of the pot itself but over time it will always make the fabric feel less ridged. So it’s completely up to the customer.
The colors are for your preference. There is no difference. Tan pots may be slightly cooler under intense sun exposure. But that fact has not been thoroughly studied.
Yes, you can use Smart Pot containers and grow organic. They are made of inert, porous, geo-textile fabric. As opposed to a few of our competitor containers, we are BPA-free. There is no meaningful chemical exchange with the surrounding environment. Many of our customers grow vegetables and other edibles in our containers.
Unlike a plastic pot, the fabric will not crack or break from frost or when dropped. Heat release gives you better control of slow release fertilizer. A fibrous root structure has fewer problems in cold or warm weather.
Gardeners are using virtually every potting mix in the Smart Pot. Because the Smart Pot aerates, heavier mixes can be used. Obviously, Smart Pots filled with lighter mixes that are less water retentive may need to be watered more often.
One of the most common questions we are asked is related to what size container is needed to grow tomatoes, or azaleas, sunflowers, or basil, etc. There are a number of factors to consider. Click here for a step by step guide to selecting your size.
Our products are proudly made in the USA and the quality is unmatched. Some of the competitors are so thin that the bag will rip on you in a very short time. Others are so thick that they do not air prune so you don’t get the best roots. If it is too thick, it also won’t drain well which causes root rot that can destroy your plant.
Smart Pot is the original fabric pot and we have innovated the design specifically to maximize the development of a healthy root system. Our fabric not only lasts longer – it drains, air prunes, and release heat better.
Feel the small fibers, or hairs, on the inside of a Smart Pot. These fibers catch a plant’s small, fibrous feeder roots and force them to branch and prune. Feel the inside of our competitor bags. There is a slick feel to most of them. Roots turn and circle on a slick surface. The growth pattern of roots traveling along a slick surface is not optimal. With the Smart Pot, roots stop at the side wall and branch.
Most of our competitors manufacture their products overseas. Our products are made in the USA. This allows us to maintain high quality standards, which ends up being less expensive because you have to replace the cheaper bags as they fall apart. Meanwhile, your Smart Pots will last longer than you could imagine. One of our customers is still using their original bags 8 years later.
Smart Pot containers are not designed to be composted nor do they biodegrade. The fabric can be recycled in the same way clothing is recycled but there are many ways to repurpose our pots.
Here are a few ideas for you;
- Use the fabric as a weed blocker on the ground.
- Cut the fabric in circles to place around potted plants to prevent unwanted weeds from growing. You can sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth or Sluggo Plus on the fabric to control pests naturally.
- Save water by cutting the fabric and placing around plants. This will reduce the amount of evaporation on the soil surface and keep the root zone cooler.
- Since our fabric is BPA & Lead Free, you don’t have to worry about heavy metals leaching into the soil.
No! Our fabric is a proprietary formulation of non-woven fibers. The microscopic holes will leech out water, when the medium on the other side is fully saturated. However, the soil medium stays neatly contained in the Smart Pot.
Over time, especially when using irrigation water with a high calcium content, calcium scale buildup may occur on the outside of the Smart Pot. This is natural, and generally doesn’t impact drainage.
For cleaning tips, please see our “Cleaning your Smart Pot” section on this page.
The answer is… just about any surface!
Smart Pot containers perform great on dirt, grass, cement, landscape fabric, wood, etc. Make sure there is some slight slope if you are putting your Smart Pot on a non-porous surface. Just enough so there is no standing water for extended periods.
If you have a treated wood deck, it might be wise to have your Smart Pot (and all potted plants) in a saucer. Many users combine bricks or stones to elevate the Smart Pot out of standing runoff water.
Users have placed, especially large Smart Pots, on wooden pallets, which increases drainage, aeration, and air-pruning of the roots. Because aeration is increased significantly, users may need to irrigate a bit more frequently.
The feedback that we’ve received is mixed. The majority of customers tell us that the gophers and other rodents are discouraged from tunneling up through the fabric. For aggressive rodents, this may not be enough, and users have told us they have placed their Smart Pot containers on top of metal grating. This is a nearly sure-fire prevention for tunneling rodents.
For rodents that like to burrow through the sides, again, a wire grating of some sort will do a long way towards keeping pests out of your root zone. A saucer below your container will also be an extra barrier from gophers, and is a great option for smaller containers.
Yes! Many of our competitor bags are made from recycled plastics in China. In the recycle process, plastics are melted down. Heavy metals do not dissolve in this process, but are left over to be formed into the next batch of fabric. Therefore, heavy metals can and do build up in many competitor bags. Lead and copper are the most common left over heavy metals, but it depends on what plastics are being recycled that week. Sometimes the batch is clean, sometimes not. The Smart Pot is made of clean, specified, virgin fabric so we avoid heavy metal buildup. We are mindful that the Smart Pot is used by growers who might ingest what they are growing.
Our fabric has been independently tested and is BPA free, lead free, and free from other harmful chemicals. Check out our MSDS for more details.