Before the 1950’s unglazed terracotta containers were the standard pot used in container gardening – these are able to insulate the plant’s root zone from temperature extremes as well as allow it to ‘breathe’ as a result of the small amount of air that is able to pass through the terracotta.
The downside of these pots compared to plastic is that they are expensive and heavy. Plastic pots therefore quickly took over.
We list some of the benefits of breathable pots compared to standard plastic pots below:
Increased oxygen uptake
Unlike traditional plastic pots, fabric pots allow water, air and nutrients to flow through its structure freely. This allows the plant to breathe efficiently to nourish the plant.
Improved insulation and ventilation
Especially in early spring and autumn, keeping your plants roots’ warm is important for keeping them healthy. The insulated fabric material of a breathable pot helps to keep out the winter cold. What’s more, in the hotter weather during summer, the breathable fabric allows your roots to stay cool as it provides ventilation!
Prevention of root circling
In plastic pots, a plant’s roots grow outward and eventually hit its impenetrable walls, leaving them with nowhere to go. They then travel downward and then hit the bottom of the pot. Again, with nowhere else to go, they begin to spiral around each other, choking each other out and becoming “root bound”. This leads to a stressed-out plant, stunted growth and ultimately a smaller harvest.
Improved root structure and mass
When roots become ‘air pruned’ by the fabric, the plant begins to shoot out new feeder roots. The increase in root mass provides more area of root matter that can uptake water and nutrients, allowing the plant to grow bigger and at an accelerated rate.
Lower risk of overwatering
The porous fabric of breathable pots provide excellent drainage on all sides, so the roots don’t get overwatered and drown from lack of oxygen. Overwatering is also one of the main causes of mould and pathogens, so sufficient drainage is crucial to preventing it.
Better for storage and mobility
The containers are flexible, so they are easy to fold up and store when not in use. They are also light and can also be moved to different locations if sunlight only reaches certain areas at different times of the day.
Importantly (for us at least), some breathable fabric pots are made from 100% post consumer plastic waste – this is the kind of closed loop recycling we love!
Some of our favourite breathable pots can be found from these guys or are easy to find on Amazon or Ebay.