Can You Use Grow Bags Indoors? (Just Don’t Ruin Your Floors)


Grow bags are a great way to create portable plantings outdoors.  However, many gardeners wonder if they can use grow bags indoors, and if so, how they should go about it.

So, can you use grow bags indoors?  Yes, you can use grow bags indoors.  You will need to choose a location with enough light, make sure there are drainage holes in the grow bag, and put a container underneath to catch excess water.  You will also need to use the right type of soil for your plants, and find a way to water them.

Once you take care of these steps, you will be well on your way to growing indoors!

Can You Use Grow Bags Indoors?

You can use grow bags indoors, but there are several considerations before you get started.  First, you will want to choose the right size grow bag, and then choose a good location with plenty of sunlight.

jute bag
You have some prep work to do before filling your grow bag with soil and planting your crops!

You will also want to make sure there are enough drainage holes in your grow bag, and put something underneath the bag to catch and store excess water.

In addition, you will need to use the right type of soil for growing, depending on which plant you put in your grow bag.

Finally, you will need to find a way to water your plants and a way to support certain plants, such as with small stakes or tomato cages.

What Size Grow Bag For Vegetables?

Grow bags come in sizes from 1 gallon to 100 gallons.  The size you need will depend on the plant you want to grow.

Generally, you won’t be able to grow large plants indoors, due to space constraints and the fact that your ceiling height will only accommodate shorter plants.

cherry tomatoes
Indoor grow bags are better for holding smaller plants, such as miniature cherry tomato varieties.

Check out the table below to find out which size grow bag you should use by plant type.

Note: the bag should be deep enough to accommodate roots (for carrots, this is most of the plant!)

PlantRecommended Size
Of Grow Bag
Basil1 gallon
Carrot3 to 5 gallons
(6+ inches deep)
Lettuce2 to 3 gallons
Onion1 to 2 gallons
Pepper2 to 3 gallons (jalapeno)
5 to 7 gallons (mini bell)
Radish2 to 3 gallons
Tomato2 to 3 gallons (miniature)
5 to 10 gallons (determinate)

For more information, check out this article from Thrifty Fun on container sizes for vegetables.

Of course, you can use larger containers and grow a few plants in each container. Just make sure to give them enough space to avoid overcrowding and competition between plants!

Choosing A Location For Your Indoor Grow Bag

Before you fill up your grow bag with soil, you will want to put it in the right location, so you don’t have to move a heavy bag too far.

Find a location near a window or skylight that will get plenty of sunlight during the day, especially if you are growing in the winter when the days are shorter.  A south-facing window is your best bet, especially for plants like tomatoes that need full sun.

Put your grow bags near a sunny window to get the most out of your plants!

Also, be sure to avoid locations that have drafts, since your plants won’t like shocks of hot or cold air from HVAC systems.

Finally, remember that dark colored grow bags absorb more energy from sunlight and get warmer during the day.  If you keep your house cool, a darker grow bag will help your plants to stay a few extra degrees warmer.

Should You Put Drainage Holes In Grow Bags?

Yes, you should put drainage holes in your grow bags.  Even though the grow bag material may allow water to seep out, it will happen more quickly with drainage holes.

Some grow bags already have drainage holes in the sides or bottom.  If not, you can use scissors or a knife to create drainage holes yourself.

Make sure to do this before you put soil in the grow bag, to make your life much easier!

What Do You Put Under Grow Bags?

As you can guess, any excess water that drains out of the bottom or sides of a grow bag needs to be caught, or else it will end up all over your floor.

You can put a grow bag on a saucer of the appropriate size, similar to what you would use for a plastic or clay pot of the same size.

You can also set your grow bag right inside a metal catering tray.  These trays are meant to hold liquid and remain sturdy, and they can be reused many times over the years without breaking down.

If you have multiple grow bags, you can put them all inside a plastic bin, which can catch and hold the water from all of your grow bags.

plastic container
A plastic container can hold the water that drains out of a grow bag.

Remember that you don’t want to leave too much water sitting inside these containers.  Either use a cup to recycle the water for your plants after the soil dries out a bit, or transport the water outside using a bucket.

Adding Soil To Your Indoor Grow Bag

The soil you use in your grow bag will depend on what you are trying to grow.  Many plant varieties will do fine with a potting soil mix from a local garden center.

On the other hand, carrots prefer loose, sandy soil.  They will fork and grow deformed when they run into rocks or soil clumps.

carrots
You need loose, sandy soil to grow straight carrots that are not forked or deformed.

Your best bet for carrots is to sift rocks out of your soil, break up any soil clumps, and add some sand to make the mixture smoother.

When putting soil in your grow bag, don’t fill it all the way to the top, or else you won’t have a place to put your plant, and the soil will spill out when you water the plant.

Instead, put some soil in the grow bag, leaving enough space for your plant and its roots.  Then, put your plant in the grow bag, and cover the roots with some more soil.

Leave the soil level a few inches below the top of the grow bag.  If the soil settles down later, you can always add a little more to the bag.

Plants To Grow Indoors Using Grow Bags

To grow plants indoors, you will want to choose shallow rooted plants that will not grow too tall or wide.  This means growing miniature varieties of tomatoes, lettuce, and other common crops.

Microgreens

Microgreen are simply the seedlings of plants that are harvested before they grow to maturity.  Microgreens are packed with vitamins and minerals, and also have interesting flavors that you can enjoy.

microgreens
Microgreens are a nutritious crop to grow indoors, and they don’t take much time before they are ready for harvest.

You can grow microgreens from the seeds of sunflowers, beets, broccoli, lettuce, or peas, among many others.  For microgreens, the grow bag does not need to be very deep, but you will get more microgreens from a wider bag.

Lettuce

Lettuce is a fast-growing plant, and there are some compact varieties that would do well in smaller grow bags indoors.

lettuce
Lettuce is another great choice for growing indoors in a grow bag.

Here are a couple small lettuce varieties you can try:

  • Tom Thumb Butterhead Lettuce – this is a Bibb type lettuce that produces small, compact heads that are about the size of a tennis ball.  One head will make salad for two people!  This variety matures in 50 to 70 days, so if you have 7 to 10 small pots (sow a seed every 7 to 10 days), you will soon have a head of lettuce for salad every week!  These seeds germinate in 7 to 10 days.  For more information, check out Tom Thumb Butterhead Lettuce on the Urban Farmer Seeds website.
  • Little Gem Lettuce – this is a miniature green Romaine lettuce that produces tender leaves.  The heads are about 4 inches across.  At 30 to 50 days to maturity, you can have heads of lettuce a month or two after planting!  These seeds germinate in 7 to 10 days.  For more information, check out Little Gem Lettuce on the Urban Farmer Seeds website.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the most popular plants to grow in vegetable gardens.  Somehow, it would not feel right to exclude them from a list of plants for indoor grow bags.

tomato seedling
Tomatoes are a garden classic, and smaller varieties can be grown indoors in grow bags.

Here are some smaller tomato varieties for an indoor grow bag:

  • Sweet ‘n’ Neat Cherry Tomato – this compact tomato variety is perfect for balconies or window sills in dorm rooms.  The fruits are small (0.75 to 1 ounce) and grow in clusters like grapes.  The fruit matures in 48 days, so you can have tomatoes 7 weeks after planting!  The plant is a compact determinate, only growing 10 inches tall and 8 inches wide.  For more information, check out the Sweet ‘n’ Neat Cherry Tomato on the Bonnie Plants website.
  • Tiny Tim Cherry Tomato – this tiny tomato variety is also great for the limited space in dorm rooms.  The fruits are small (1 inch in diameter), but you will get plenty of them from a single plant!  The plants are determinate, only growing to a height of 8 to 16 inches and a width of 6.5 inches.  The fruit matures in 60 days, meaning that you can have tomatoes about 90 weeks after planting.  For more information, check out the Tiny Tim Cherry Tomato on the West Coast Seeds website.

Remember that determinate tomato plants will produce fruit once and then die off. You can ensure a supply of fruit throughout the season if you stagger plantings every 1 or 2 weeks.

Basil

Basil is great because you can simply pick off a leaf here or there as needed, and the plant will continue to grow.  Together with tomatoes and lettuce, you can make a decent salad just from your indoor grow bag garden!

basil in pot
Basil is one versatile herb that you can grow indoors in a small grow bag.

Here are some basil varieties you can grow in your indoor grow bags:

  • Cinnamon Basil – this variety is smaller than sweet basil, with a darker color and a spicy cinnamon flavor.  This plant will grow 18 to 30 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide.  For more information, check out Cinnamon Basil on the Bonnie Plants website.
  • Thai Basil – this variety has a stronger flavor than sweet basil, with a hint of licorice.  The leaves are also smaller than those of sweet basil, and they have purple stems, giving them a nice decorative appearance in dishes.  This plant will grow 1 to 2 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide.  For more information, check out Thai Basil on the Bonnie Plants website.

Other Plants For Indoor Grow Bags

You can also grow carrots, radishes, or onions using indoor grow bags, since these plants will not get too large and the roots will not grow too deep.

See the table at the beginning of this article for more information on which size grow bag to choose for these plants.

How To Water Plants In A Grow Bag Indoors

You can certainly water your indoor grow bag manually, especially if you have a saucer or container underneath to catch any excess water.  However, you can also try the water bottle method to water your grow bag plants automatically.

water bottles
With the proper setup, a plastic water bottle will automatically do your watering for you!

To do this, take a plastic water bottle and poke holes in the bottom (more holes for faster water release).  Then, put the water bottle into the soil, with the bottom of the bottle down (so the holes are under the soil).

Finally, fill the bottle with water.  It will slowly drain out into the soil, keeping the plant watered if you are away on vacation or have too many plants to water manually.

Simply refill the bottle every so often to keep the plant supplied with water.

How To Support Plants In A Grow Bag Indoors

Some plants, such as tomatoes, always like to have some support as they grow.  A small tomato cage can help tomato plants to stay upright instead of crawling up and over the edges of the grow bag.

pepper in cage
A tomato cage is one way to provide support for indoor plants in grow bags.

For more information, check out my article on tomato cages.

Conclusion

By now, you know that you can use grow bags indoors.  You also have an idea of how to get started, and what you will need to consider when deciding on the details of growing in grow bags indoors.

For more information, check out my article on how long grow bags last, and my article on the pros and cons of grow bags.

I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone who can use the information.  If you have any questions about using grow bags indoors, please leave a comment below.

Want more information on grow bags? Check out my article on how long grow bags last, and my article on what to plant in grow bags.

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jonathon. I’m the gardening guy (not guru!) who is encouraging everyone to spend more time in the garden. I try to help solve common gardening problems so that you can get the best harvest every year!

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