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Watering Plants in Fabric Pots: How it should be done

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Fabric pots and planters are a good alternative to clay and plastic pots however, watering plants in these pots may become overwhelming if not done right. 

Fabric plant pots can be watered using any method, however, top watering is the most preferred as it allows the water to slowly percolate through the soil. When coupled with the Bottom watering method, it allows for the entire soil mass to be watered as water to move upwards by capillary movement. 

In this article, we explain the difference between watering methods and how they affect the soil moisture within fabric pots as well as which is best for optimal plant growth. 

What is the Best Way to Water Fabric Pots?

Watering Plant in fabric pots

The best way to water plants in fabric pots is by top watering, by using a watering can with a spout or a garden hose with a sprinkler attachment.

The types of plants grown using the fabric pots are plants primarily for domestic purposes and mostly are flowered in nature to provide an excellent aesthetic view to the environment. 

However, there are various ways in which the plants are watered.

These include:

1. Top watering method
This is pouring water on the top of a plant whereby you can use a watering can to push the spout into the leaves so that the water will not splash everywhere.

2. Bottom watering method
Here, you keep the pot in a tab a few inches in it to absorb water from the bottom. See our complete bottom watering guide.

3. Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation is a type of watering system that has the potential to save water and nutrients by allowing water to slowly drip onto the top of the soil and percolate downwards.

4. Misting
Misting is simply applying water to plants in the form of a mist. The water is absorbed into the plant through the leaves.

5. Self-watering Method
This is watering plants by using a cut plastic bottle, a wicking string with water, or a self-watering system.

These methods are advantageous and disadvantageous to plant growth.

For keeping my soil at the perfect moisture levels I use this soil moisture meter. It is both cost-effective and durable. Best of all, it also measures pH and light.

digital soil moisture meter

1. Top Watering Method

As stated above, this method entails watering the plants on the fabric pots by use of water. 

Plants in fabric pots can be watered by using a watering can which is slightly more efficient than a hose because it does not damage the leaves or flowers of the young seedling. 

This method has various advantages and disadvantages.

The Benefits of Top Watering:

  • Easy to start and apply
  • Time conserving. This method is always quick and convenient.
  • It is cost-effective
  • It can help wash away pests, their eggs, and larva.
  • It allows all parts of the soil to get water efficiently.
  • It also washes away the unwanted mineral deposits which are a result of fertilizing.

Disadvantages of Top Watering:

  • Can flood the soil if not carefully applied.
  • Is tiresome because it needs regular provision.
  • The topsoil can quickly become compacted.
  • Watering plants on the leaves can also attract fungi and rotting due to the moisture on the leaves.
  • If not careful, you can overwater plants without knowing.

2. Bottom Watering Method.

Bottom watering plants infographic

This method is where you water the plant from beneath the pot. It consists of placing the pot into 1 inch high of water within a small basin that can effectively water the plant.

The time taken to bottom water a fabric pot will depend on the quality and consistency of the soil within the pot.

Normally it takes between 15 to 20 minutes to bottom water plants with healthy soil but with harder or aged soils it may take up to 1 hour.

Additionally, Water can be applied to the top of the soil to ensure that the entire mass of soil gets moistened.


  • There will be no accidental pouring of water on the leaves, which causes rotting due to water sitting on the leaves or the plant stems.
  • Here, the topsoil is always dry, and as a result, no pests that can destroy the plant are attracted to it.
  • It encourages the plant roots to get stronger and spread out well for effectiveness.
  • Also, this type of watering is cost-effective.


  • Especially the grown plants, this method is not encouraged since it may take longer for the plant to absorb water and mineral salts from the roots to other parts of the plant.
  • This method is also time-consuming going around topping them up when the plant hasn?t had enough water. The same applies when emptying the basins after it has had enough. It is tiresome.
  • If you don?t water from above periodically, the mineral deposit may build up in the soil.

When applying water to my plants, I use a cost-effective and durable watering can that I got on Amazon, which makes watering fun and easy without any spillage. 

MyLifeUNIT Plastic Watering Can

How does Water Run Through Fabric Pots?

Fabric pots are designed in a way that allows water to pass through. 

Water flows from the top as it is poured and passes through the soil particles. It also transpires from the sides of the pot as time passes.

Excess water that goes to the bottom flows through the fabric and exits. 

Water runs down through the soil and percolates easily as the soil particles are fine and slightly large enough and allow water to pass through then dispatching to the soil. 

Using a loamy soil is best for water retention in fabric pots.

Most pots are fabricated in a way that makes them porous, and water can easily run through.

Do Fabric Pots Leak Water?

Yes. In case the water poured is in excess, the pots can leak water. 

If the fabric pot or grow bag is damaged, it will leak water easily, but it does not necessarily cause the water to run freely if it is in good condition. 

Water is a very dense substance, and it follows a course so water will leak on a fabric pot through the sides of the pot. 

It can also leak water through the evaporation process, and water is lost little by little.

Do Grow Bags Need Drainage Holes?

Grow bags do not need drainage holes as the bags are porous, allowing water to drain freely out from the bottom through the pores in the fabric material.

Additionally, it prevents evapotranspiration from taking place. 

Evapotranspiration is when water is lost from the surface of the leaves through the stomata to remove excess moisture in the plant. 

It is the same as sweating in human beings. Grow bags do not need drainage holes because the bags are made, so the water is self-cleansing and will be reabsorbed in case no water is provided. 

They are predominantly black; hence this enables the bags to absorb heat which will, in turn, be used when the plant is absorbing carbon dioxide and produce oxygen and sugars. 

Also, in the black bags, when heat is absorbed,  transpiration occurs on the plant; hence the excess water given out is reused later by the plant. 

These bags also provide sufficient aeration to the plant by allowing air to pass through its porous material and into the soil where it is needed.

Do Grow Bags Need Saucers?

Yes. Grow bags need saucers to contain drainage water from plants. 

Saucers are mostly placed to allow space for the grow bags, and also they provide a base for support and prevent any excess leakage from the bags.

By using saucers with fabric pots you can prevent staining your floor with water that drains from the pot.

The drainage water can also be reused as it may contain nutrients that were leached from the soil.

Do Fabric Pots Need Watering More often than Other Pots 

Yes, because they are prone to withering fast due to the absence of extra moisture in the soil.

Fabric pots are wider, and the rate at which the plant takes up the water is faster than any other pot hence making the water available to be depleted. 

Plants that grow on fabric pots need special attention because they have a tendency to leak more water than regular clay pots hence depriving the plant of enough water.

Water should be applied to the plants daily to ensure they do not face the effects of drought.

The water should not be allowed to pool up at the base of the plant and the top of the pot as it will damage the plants? roots and make the pot start wearing out faster. 

Water is an essential part of the food manufacturing process in plants.

As a result, when water is unavailable, the food processing and the uptake of mineral salts can be limited, causing the plant to wither or suffer discoloration of the leaves.

The fabric pots also need watering often to ensure the plant has enough moisture to sustain the weather changes day by day. 

Plants grown in fabric pots also grow healthier because there is regular watering.

You can use a watering can to water your pot every day and make sure you place it at an angle of 45 degrees elevation on top of the pot. 

This ensures that every drop of water falls on the plant entirely and reaches the bottom part of the pot. 

A watering can is mainly used because it does not damage the plant because of the flow velocity of water coming from it.

The plant is very delicate and should be watered with care. Flooding is avoided to protect the plant from any pests that might result from the soil being moist for too long.

Advantages of Planting in Fabric Bags

a) Due to spaces within the fabric, they make it easy for the plant roots to breathe.

b) They promote larger, healthy secondary roots for better nutrient uptake.

c) This type of pot is easy to move whenever you would like to relocate them.

d) They boost plant yields.

Disadvantages of Planting in Fabric Bags

a) They have low durability as the pots tear out too fast.

b) Not all fabric bags are eco-friendly. Some may harm the environment.

c) They are costly.  Since they tear out easily, you will be forced to replace them whenever this occurs. Therefore, you might spend a lot on replacing them.

d) They have a more extensive water consumption. As a result, they dry out easily, and you need to keep them moist more often.

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