Plastic bags are an essential tool for today’s indoor gardeners. They are not only terrific plant sitters when you skip off for a winter weekend, they also help when your plant is not doing well.
You can keep houseplants without water for several weeks in a polyethylene plastic bag. That’s the common type most of us use as freezer or storage bags.
The day before you leave, or the hour before if you are not well-organized, water your plant thoroughly and allow any excess water to drain off. Then, put your plant, pot and all, into a clean, clear bag with no holes and close the top. Do not return your plant to full sunlight. Instead find a temporary location with indirect or artificial light because sunlight hitting the plastic will create high temperatures in the bag and may injure your plant.
The plastic bag works because air goes through the plastic but water won’t. As the water evaporates, it condenses in the plastic, runs down, and is reabsorbed by the plant. What you have is a miniature greenhouse!
It’s easy to see how plastic bags can help houseplants suffering from air that’s too dry. Humidity is an essential condition for the health of most plants yet today’s houses are often too dry for both people and plants. The best remedy is to lower your thermostat and increase your humidity by using a centralized automatic humidifier or a small one placed near your plants. But, sometimes even that isn’t enough. Misting during the day helps and placing potted plants on wet gravel in metal or fiberglass trays helps also.
However, if your plant has spindly growth and limp leaves, give it the plastic bag boost. Just cover it with a plastic bag that has a few small holes in it and close the bag around the pot rim with a rubber band. You should notice an improvement in a week or so.
A merry old plant: If you have a Christmas cactus as a holiday plant, you’ll be interested to know that the plant could outlive you. With proper care, a Christmas cactus can live for 80 to 100 years, and may grow to be 5 feet in diameter.
The Christmas cactus blooms when the temperature drops and the days get shorter and the nights longer. This habit goes back to the plant’s parent stock in South America. In today’s homes, the flowering cycle is upset if the family stays up late, exposing the cactus to a longer day. Artificial light, especially from incandescent bulbs, confuses the plant and it flowers late or not at all. Central heating can keep evening temperatures from dropping and delays flowering, although today’s higher energy costs have most consumers turning the thermostat back at night.
Plant scientists are helping solve this light and heat problem by breeding flowering cacti more resistant to light and more tolerant of changes in temperatures and humidity than earlier varieties.
To help your cactus live longer, avoid overwatering it. Drench the soil thoroughly and allow it to dry out completely before watering again. Use a fertile potting soil, never gravel. Your cactus may not live for 80 years, but following these suggestions will help you enjoy it for many years to come.
Shedding light on a fire hazard: Safety experts are finding that a leading cause of house fires may be as obvious as the lights on the wall.
Using the wrong light bulb in a fixture, or the wrong fixture in a building, frequently creates fire hazards. These errors can result in high temperatures that cause the fixture to fail or the insulation on a building’s electrical wiring can get damaged.
Reports indicate that some light fixtures become too hot for the building’s wiring. In some cases wires become hot enough for the plastic fixtures to melt and the glass globes over the bulbs to fall out and shatter.
Using the wrong bulbs in the wrong fixtures is of concern. Never install a bulb with greater wattage than recommended for the fixture. The bulb may produce greater heat output than the fixture can tolerate. Low-quality light bulbs provide less lighting and produce more heat than more-expensive name-brand bulbs.
Greg Solt is a Penn State Cooperative Extension Agent in Northampton County. Lawn and garden assistance is available from Penn State Master Gardeners, Northampton County Cooperative Extension, Greystone Building, Gracedale Complex, Nazareth, PA 18064-9212; 610-746-1970.
Watering houseplants when you’re away is always a problem. Even if you ask a friend or relative to water them for you, you’ll probably get home to find a plant or two either forgotten or overwatered. That’s unfortunate, because there is an incredibly easy method of watering houseplants while you’re absent, even when you’re gone for weeks or months!
Simply water the plant normally before you leave, draining any water remaining in the saucer. Remove any dead or dying leaves or fading flowers: anything that will be likely to fall off and rot while you are away (not that a bit of rotten plant tissue will do any harm per se, it’s just that you plant will look better when you return home). Now install the plant in a clear plastic bag: a dry-cleaning bag would be great for larger plants. You could also put several plants together in a large bag. Next, simply seal the bag with a twist-tie and move the plant to a moderately lit spot with no direct sun. The latter point is important: if you put a plant enclosed in plastic in a sunny spot, it will quite literally cook!
Inside a plastic bag, your plant will be able to survive for months without any water at all. This is because most of the water you normally apply to your plants is simply lost to transpiration and evaporation: inside a sealed bag, the humidity level will be essentially 100%. There will be no transpiration or evaporation and therefore your plant will use almost no water.
I can just hear you saying: “Yes, but how will my plant breathe if it’s sealed inside a bag?” I can assure you it will breathe perfectly. Remember that plants use carbon dioxide and give off oxygen during the day. Well, at night, they do exactly the opposite. Yes, that’s right: plants provide all the “air” they need for their own survival. They’re perfectly happy sealed in a plastic bag.
How long can you keep your plants sealed up like this? Easily 6 months, quite possibly up to a year. There are sealed terrariums that have never been opened in decades and the plants are still alive. Eventually, of course, your plant’s growth will be hampered because it will use some of the water and carbon dioxide for its growth, but that will take months or even years. Even if it does occur, your plant will still be in fine shape, just growing more slowly than usual.
Just think! A year of autonomy means you’ll have time to take a world cruise! The truly annoying thing, though, is that generally your plant will be in better condition when you get back than when you left!
One warning: most arid-climate plants (cacti and succulents) will not appreciate the high humidity present inside a plastic bag, but they’re even easier to care for while you’re away. Just water them well, move them back from a sunny window (to slow down their growth), and go off on your travels. They’ll be good for at least 6 months, although they may be looking a bit shrived when you get back.
- Grow Bags vs. Plastic Pots – Planting Containers
- Healthier Plant Roots
- Temperature Control
- Watering Considerations
- Advantages of Grow Bags
- Get Started Growing with Your Grow Bags
- 6 Benefits of Plastic Plant Bags
- Plastic Bag Crafts
- 2 Comments
- Plastic Bags are everywhere, you can recycle them easily with these 11 practical DIY uses of plastic bags in the garden!
- 2. Growing Potatoes in a Trash Bag
- 3. Self Watering Plastic Bag Containers
- 4. Plastic Bag Ghosts
- 5. Container Greenhouse
- 6. DIY Pom-Pom Lights from Trash
- 7. Grow Bag Vegetable Garden
- 8. Protect your Potted Plants in Winter
- 9. Cheap Way To Water Plants When Out
- 10. Keep Your Herbs Fresh
- 11. Fruit Protection
Grow Bags vs. Plastic Pots – Planting Containers
You may wonder, what are the benefits of grow bags versus pots? Sure, you can find pots online or create pots from just about anything you have lying around so why spend the money on grow bags?
Healthier Plant Roots
In pots, the roots of the plants tend to grow in circles entangling themselves. This increases the likelihood of having oxygenation or water stagnation issues, especially in larger pots that lack proper drainage. When the roots reach the edge of a plastic pot they continue growing in search more water and nutrients only to begin encircling the pot. This begins the process of structural damage to your plants. The roots become constricted leading to less water and nutrient intake. The stem of your plant will also become compressed which leads to tissue damage further restricting nutrient intake.
Grow bags help to alleviate this issue because as the roots come in contact with the edges of the fabric pot they sense the drier soil that is exposed to the air. At this point they know they have reached their growth limit. The roots become “air pruned” which is vital to growing healthy plants in containers. This prevents over growth of roots eliminating girdling roots (roots that damage the structure of the plant). You will also get many more fibrous roots when air pruned. A more fibrous root system (many small root tips) allows the plants to take in more nutrients and water. Plastic potted plants encourage a few large roots to dominate and encircle the pot which constricts nutrient uptake.
During the heat of summer and in direct sunlight plastic pots can get quite hot. Since they are not breathable they trap all the heat which can cook your plants. Grow bags regulate temperature due to their breathable quality. Excess heat is able to escape from all sides of the grow bag.
Since grow bags are porous they require more frequent watering. However, it is harder to over-water using a grow bag, as any excess moisture is allowed to wick out of the container. In contrast a traditional pot may need less watering but it is easy to over water. If you over-water a plant in a traditional pot they could drown and develop mold or fungus.
Where do you store the pots when not in use? Do they become empty eyesores on the back porch or stacked up in the shed in hopes they don’t get crushed or broken in the off season? Traditional pots will need to be stacked for storage in the off season. However grow bags can be folded up and stored with minimal space each season.
Grow bags are light weight and usually come with built in handles making them easy to move to different locations. They are popular among Rv’ers since the can be brought from inside to out with ease and they take up minimal space when storing. Grow bags can even be planted directly in the ground as they are biodegradable.
Advantages of Grow Bags
- Healthier Root System – Encourage root pruning rather than root circling
- Temperature Control – Shed excess heat through breathable fabric
- Prevents Over-watering – Excess water will percolate through the fabric material
- Easy Storage – Can we folded up and stored with minimal space
- Versatile – Can be easily moved or planted directly in the ground
Get Started Growing with Your Grow Bags
Want to grow individual plants or small bunches of herbs? Try these 5 Gallon Grow Bags. They are great for tomatoes, peppers, flowers, herbs, potatoes, small fruiting trees, stevia and many more plants.
If you like the idea of having a larger planting area similar to a raised bed you can also purchase these 100 gallon grow bags. This gives you plant of room to host many plants within a single grow bag.
Planting in plastic bags is cheaper than purchasing plastic or clay pots for your garden. Start seedlings in bags for transplanting, or grow vegetables directly in the bag until you are ready to harvest the plant. While bags of compost or potting soil are the simplest plastic bags to use, any sturdy bag is capable of being used as a planter–including heavy-duty trash bags.
Choose plastic bags for your plants. Pick heavy-duty bags that are the proper size for the amount of plants you plan to sow. A compost or potting soil bag holds approximately three adult plants, and a regular-size garbage bag holds five plants.
Fill the bag with rich growing mix. Make your own by mixing one part peat moss with one part compost and adding one or two handfuls of perlite. Tie the end of the bag closed securely once filled so the compost doesn’t leak out. Shake bag to loosen the mixture.
Lay the bag on the ground horizontally and move the compost inside until it is evenly distributed and the top of the bag is flat. Poke small holes every 2 inches around the bottom edge of the bag for drainage.
Cut out 3-by-3 inch squares from the top of the bag, spacing them 6 inches apart. Leave one edge of the square attached to the bag to form flaps, if planting from seed.
Sow a seed or seedling in each square according to the instructions on the seed envelope or plant stake. Water thoroughly but do not soak the soil.
Close the flap over the seeds to help speed germination, if applicable. Cut the flaps off once sprouts appear.
Keep the soil moist, but not soaking. Stick a finger in the soil before watering to check moisture levels. Soil should be damp, but not so wet it cakes onto your finger.
Things You Will Need
- Plastic bag
- Potting mix
- Fertilize with the proper feed monthly, as container-grown plants require more fertilization that garden grown varieties.
- For potatoes, fill a large garbage bag halfway with compost and fold the excess bag down. Plant the potato plant in the open bag. As the plant grows, fill in with more compost and roll the top of the bag up, as needed.
- Always label the bags so you can easily identify which plants are which.
- Stake large plants, such as tomatoes, to a trellis set behind the bag or the whole grow system may fall over and damage your plants.
- BBC Gardening
Source – Gardenguides.com
6 Benefits of Plastic Plant Bags
One of the most popular products we manufacture here at TDI is plastic plant bags. Our plant bags are made out of high-quality, FDA-approved polyethylene. Plant bags have actually become super popular among nurseries and greenhouses worldwide for tons of reasons. Here we’ll focus on the top 6 benefits of plastic plant bags.
1. Cost Savings
Plastic plant bags cost less to produce (and therefore cost less for you) than plastic or metal pots, or other rigid containers.
Plastic plant bags require less energy to produce than hard containers and they’re also recyclable. We recycle our leftover materials, and we encourage our customers to do the same.
Polyethylene nursery bags also conserve water by retaining moisture in the soil longer than other types of plant containers.
Plastic plant bags are stored flat and take up 40 times less storage space than rigid containers. (Don’t worry, they stand upright when filled with soil.) Also, nurseries and greenhouses can house more plants per square foot in plastic bags than in hard containers.
Polyethylene plant bags are incredibly durable. They can withstand being dropped or handled roughly, meaning less inventory loss for you. They’re also long-lasting. Polyethylene bags are known to last longer than any other plant bag on the market.
Plastic plant bags from TDI come in standard and custom shapes and sizes. Choose black for locations where heat retention in soil is desired or white with UV inhibitors, for locations where heat retention in soil should be minimized. We also manufacture tree sleeves, stock plant bags, and seed bags which are useful for Christmas trees, avocado trees, citrus trees, and more.
6. More Growth
Dr. Carl E. Whitcomb, Oklahoma State University Professor of Horticulture, made the following statement about plastic plant bags:
At the end of the growing season, plants in soft containers were five to 15 percent larger than plants in the same size rigid plastic container. This was surprising because the rigid containers were green and the soft containers were black and, therefore, had slightly higher soil temperatures.
However, the reason for the growth increase was highly visible when the containers were removed. Plants grown in soft containers had a more fibrous root system than plants in rigid containers. Counts of white root tips visible on the surface of the root ball were more than six times greater on plants grown in soft containers.
We are super proud of our polyethylene plant bags. They are incredibly high quality and adhere to high standards. Call today to learn more or get a free quote for plant bags for your nursery!
Plastic Bag Crafts
One-bag plastic flowers
Use these easy flowers to decorate gifts. Each flower requires only one plastic grocery bag.
1. Cut the handles and bottom off bag
2. Push pleats out and flatten out tube
3. Cut side seams
4. Fold both layers of plastic in half
5. Cut along fold
6. Fold four layers of plastic in half lengthwise
7. Cut along fold
8. Fan-fold eight layers of plastic
9. Trim both ends of folded plastic
10. Bend a short length of floral wire over center of folded plastic and twist to secure
11. Expand “fan” on either side
12. Peel each layer of plastic toward center, alternating from one side to the other
13. Continue peeling layers until all layers are separated
14. Fluff layers as needed to complete flower
View the slideshow below for examples of finished plastic bag flowers.
- Jelliebean4260 says:
October 1, 2011 at 10:41 pm
I Think your Flowers are VERY CREATIVE and they ROCK (like the kids say).I am always looking for creative things to try . I help out with a Kids after School group and they love making crafts.I think this would be great for Skits the kids do .Also was thinking The High School kids are always looking for new Ideas for their art class…
I Was even thinking this would be great for making decorating Cars or Truck or even Parade Float Flowers…
Keep up the good work . I L-O-V-E your Creations…
- Val says:
April 18, 2012 at 8:38 pm
These flowers have endless use. U can make floral table arrangements, decorate cars for just married couples, make small flowers to decorate hats and purses, make flower pins, make lais, on and on. Plarn is a wonderful idea!
Plastic Bags are everywhere, you can recycle them easily with these 11 practical DIY uses of plastic bags in the garden!
Learn how to use the potting soil plastic bag to grow plants, check out the tutorial video here. It can be a nice makeshift container.
2. Growing Potatoes in a Trash Bag
You can grow food anywhere, in the trash bag as well. Click here to find out!
3. Self Watering Plastic Bag Containers
Self-watering plastic bags containers for the balcony gardeners. Watch the DIY video here!
4. Plastic Bag Ghosts
Create some plastic bag ghosts to add oomph to your garden. The tutorial is here!
5. Container Greenhouse
Create a greenhouse for your container plants. Watch the video here!
6. DIY Pom-Pom Lights from Trash
Plastic shopping bags and dome lids are used to create this cheap but fantastic, DIY Pom-Pom Lights. Tutorial here!
7. Grow Bag Vegetable Garden
This is the similar idea like the first tutorial. Check it out here!
8. Protect your Potted Plants in Winter
Protect your precious potted plants in winter by wrapping them in the plastic shopping bags and then again in the burlap. Follow the instructions here!
9. Cheap Way To Water Plants When Out
Try this dirt cheap way here to supply water your houseplants when you’re out, using a plastic bag.
10. Keep Your Herbs Fresh
Place your herbs in a glass half-filled with water and drape the plastic bag over the herbs. Secure it by wrapping the rubber band and put the glass in the refrigerator. Your herbs will stay fresh for longer.
11. Fruit Protection
Protect your fruits from pests by wrapping them in the plastic bag. Find out more here!