Cheap/free pots?

I might be behind, but am learning that lining a solid container with landscape fabric (both woven and felt-like non-woven filtering type) may convert it to functioning like a fabric pot. Fabric pots are said to be equivalently larger, due to how they trap and increase root density, so that may be a way to have a tree think it’s in a larger container. I do like the root trapper II containers.

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I would stick with 9+ gallon sizes with fabric pots. I have some figs in 7 gal fabric pots, but they do dry out a bit too quickly for my liking. 10 gal has been the sweet spot for me. They are still a manageable size to move around (especially with a dolly/hand truck) and don’t dry out much more quickly compared to plastic pots. I especially like the wider 10gal ones that are 12"x18" rather than the more standard 12x16. I always check the dimensions as they do vary even if they all say 10gal.

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It depends. I started out using fabric pots before I ever used large plastic ones. I typically use a 5-1-1 pine bark/peat/perlite +lime mixture. If we’re talking indeterminate tomatoes 8 foot tall in 20 gal pots in the peak heat of an Ohio summer… I’ve adjusted it to be more peat heavy because they dry out really fast, daily watering almost isn’t enough. Things like pepper plants, eggplant, or herbs in 5 to 7 gallon pots, not as bad. I have 6’+ tall dwarf apple trees on G11 and G41 in 10-15 gallon fabric pots also. It affects the calculation if you have them on concrete versus the earth. The mix I use is light enough that I (female) can drag around a 20 gal fabric pot and my husband can lift them. If they’re slightly dried out then I can even pick them up myself.

It really is a YMMV situation. The TL;DR answer to your question is yes and yes and it may require some experimentation.

Do these look like a good choice?

Yep… 5x 3/16 holes in the bottom and they work awesome


@JesusisLordandChrist … the only thing I dont like about those is they do not stack for storing.

The regular planter pots are tapered… wider at the top and narrower at the bottom… so you can stack many together. That works much better for storage.

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You just identified a good marketing angle for a coffee company. stackable with drain hole push outs.{or easy to cut spots}

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That’s truth, but you can fit many coffee cans in a contractor sized trash bag.

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Good idea to use the kiddie pools to collect the pots. Maybe put some holes in them 1" above the bottom to make them self-watering (without drowning the plants if there is too much rain/watering)…


I was planning on sewing my own grow bags using landscape fabric. Like these: How to Sew a Grow Bag - Northern Homestead

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The ones I’ve used are Smart Pot (expensive), Vivosun, and some other brand from AM Leonard. The first two hold up equally. Vivosun are 300 gsm and it looks like the ones you linked also are so I’m guessing they’ll be decent. The handles on Vivosun are nicely stitched; I would check reviews for comments to see if anyone complains of breaking.

I just ordered 150 of the Ipower 3 gallon vinyl grow bags. We will see how that goes.

I’ve made a few, landscape fabric in a tube, fold up the bottom, staple edges. (I can’t sew) I’ve seen nicer ones from people who can sew.

Kitty litter buckets work too. ask anyone who’s got a couple cats if you can have the old buckets


Folks, I would like to draw your attention back to the size of the pots that the original poster was asking about. I hope that @Regenerative_Andrew has seen the posts in the thread that did mention pots around that size range. While I am not using the 12 gallon size buckets as pots at present I am using the 6.75 gallon ones as such (once drain holes were added).

Yes I put 1 hole about an inch up from the bottom, it works great. The little grafted trees cant be over watered them that way👍. I got the kiddie pools for $3.00 each, end of season clearance at the farm store. Sometime my ideas work out, other times not so much. The kiddie pool idea was a good one.

I’ve got a better idea if your landlord allows you to plant some of your trees. I did what you want to do and fruit trees specially don’t do much. I recommend you learn to graft and ask the landlord if you can plant some of your fruit trees in the ground. If you have to move just wait till its winter time and you can take most of your plants when dormant and the very big ones just take cuttings and graft them at your new place. you will have tons of figs as opposed to 8 fruit per year on a contorted root fig that once you take will be too late to fix unless you cut the roots and growth.

Where I live, there is an online forum called “Front Porch Forum” that is kind of like an online bulletin board. People post about missing cats, extra plants, furniture that they need or need to get rid of. It’s an amazingly handy and informative email that I look forward to each day. It is in many states. I tell you this because it is amazing what people get rid of and what people take! It’s usually by town, although you can have access to neighboring towns, too. I’ve gotten many canning jars, a bird bath and some other treasures; I’ve also gotten rid of stuff like old peanut butter jars, fabric scraps and books that I no longer have room for.
Another option would be to check in at a pool place. I save all of my 5 gallon buckets, but I bet a store who takes care of local pools would have quite a few, too.

Just noticed this on Burnt Ridge site…

10… 1 gal used pots… 2.50

I save pots like that, clean them and use them over and over again… until i wear them out.

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Check out local developers. I snagged a bunch of 25 gallon tree pots for near nothing. They were like new. Another option for large containers are the plastic blue 55 gallon water barrels. Get the ones with the solid lids. Cut in half and add holes for drainage. For starts and seeds I use plastic solo cups. They can be reused several times. Blown nursery pots are cheaper then molded ones. Check Ebay. Also if you have a large nursery in the area, they may sell you used pots ar a discount. Bagss work ok, but often won’t stand upright. Solve this by building 2x6 wood frames to hold the bag. Sometimes the big box stores have large round tubs or rectangular totes on sale. While not great for long term, they can be a low cost option.

Too bad you folks are so far away, have a bunch don’t need.

In the past when short of pots once found those kids beach bucket and shovel sets at the dollar store, made good pots, I’d guess between 1 and 1.5 gallon.

For the garden plants we’ve stopped using the hard pots. Flimsy plastic ones purchased on amazon are relatively cheap and last for years. Much easer to remove veg seedlings from than the hard ones.
Use the hard ones for tree seedlings only now.