How to Use a Plastic Bag As a Plant Container


There is no need for a pot or planting bed when starting a garden. You can start seedlings in plastic sandwich bags or even grow mature plants in heavy-duty plastic garbage bags. While the arrangement may not be as attractive as a traditional planter, if you wish to grow a container vegetable garden with little cost, plastic bags offer a viable alternative. The main concern with plastic bags is they tend to hold moisture in, so careful attention must be paid when watering the plants.

Seedling Bags

Step 1

Fill a self-sealing, sandwich-sized plastic bag 3/4 full with a moist potting mix. Shift the soil around in the bottom of the bag until it is able to sit upright.

Step 2

Sow two to three seeds in each plastic bag. Plant the seeds to a depth twice that of their width, or sow particularly small seeds on the soil surface and cover with 1/8-inch of potting mix.

Step 3

Mist the soil surface with water, using a spray bottle. Seal the bag closed, and place it in a warm room to germinate.

Step 4

Open the bag once sprouts appear, and relocate it to a warm, sunny window. Poke two or three small holes in the bottom of the bag so excess moisture drains from the soil. The seedlings can grow in the plastic bag until they are ready for transplanting.

Mature Plants

Step 1

Fill a heavy-duty plastic garbage bag with a moist potting mixture. Add soil until it reaches a 10- to 12-inch depth, then fold over the excess bag so the soil level is 1 to 2 inches beneath the top edge of the bag.

Step 2

Poke four to six holes in the bottom of the soil-filled bag. This allows excess water to drain out so the soil doesn't become waterlogged.

Step 3

Plant the transplant in the bag at the same depth it was growing at in its nursery pot or seedling bag. Firm the soil around the stem of the plant.

Step 4

Water when the soil in the bag begins to dry. Stick your finger into the soil, and if the top 1 to 2 inches are beginning to dry, water until the excess moisture drips from the bottom of the bag.

Tips and Warnings

  • Plastic bags only last one growing season before they begin to break down.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandwich bags
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds
  • Spray bottle
  • Garbage bag
  • Seedlings


  • University of Illinois Extension: Growing Lettuce Indoors
  • University of Florida Extension: Minigardening
Keywords: growing in plastic bags, container gardening, seed starting

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.