Fabric Garden Planters

Goals

Using qualitative and quantitative data from university studies, industry reports, etc., identify and detail the proven benefits of using fabric planters for gardening, as opposed to plastic or ceramic pots, for growing herbs and vegetables specifically. This information will be used to develop prominent product claims that will be used on packaging and in advertisements.

Early Findings

  • In 2005, the Department of Horticulture Sciences at Texas A&M University conducted a study to measure the growth of rose bushes in traditional plastic pots compared to Smart Pot fabric planters. After the study, scientists found that the roots of the flowers grew larger in fabric containers, but the rose buds themselves remained the same.
  • Scientists from the above study believe that this was partially due to differences in temperature around the roots because of the pot type. The temperature near the roots in plastic pots was found to be more than 30°F higher than in fabric pots, which resulted in higher water evaporation rates and thus less growth.
  • In a study conducted by the University of Tennessee's Institute of Agriculture in 2015, evidence showed that fabric pots are capable of increasing plant growth and survival, especially in plants that have a higher risk of root rot. This was found to be the case largely because of the porous walls of fabric planters, which permits better air flow and more stable evaporation rates for water, thus leading to stronger root growth.
  • In 2006, research from the Auburn University Department of Horticulture also found that temperatures in fabric pots were consistently lower than those in plastic points. From September to February, the highest temperatures ratios each month for fabric-to-plastic planters were approximately 92:120°F, 67:95°F, 68:94°F, 59:77°F, 52:62°F, and 55:80°F. These lower temperatures are truly what promote plant growth in fabric planters.

Proposed next steps:

You need to be the project owner to select a next step.
Initial research for hard data/statistics on the benefit of using fabric pots as opposed to plastic or ceramic ones indicates that no recent data is available. The studies that were located came from university agriculture/horticulture departments, but were from the mid-2000s up through 2015 at the latest. These studies do show that fabric pots do promote plant growth better than plastic ones, but much of the data is qualitative. In order to address your goals in full, we suggest moving forward with a case study analysis for which we will locate 2-3 case studies, as opposed to research studies/industry reports, that show the results of using fabric pots. Each case study analysis will include an overview of the experiment and a breakdown of the qualitative (and quantitative where available) data to show that fabric pots do have benefits. Additionally, we will describe in more detail the quantitative benefits that come with fabric pots as opposed to others.
Alternatively, we can continue to look for hard data/statistics that show why and how fabric planters are more beneficial to plant growth than plastic/ceramic pots. However, this would involve expanding the timeline to include sources that are more than 2 years old, as initial research does not appear to have more recent data currently available.
Another option would be to focus on the differences between fabric pots and decomposable pots, not plastic/ceramic ones. In this proposal, we could detail the pros/cons of using fabric pots instead of decomposable/biodegradable pots, as there was research available on this topic with some hard data to support, particularly from the University of Tennessee.