Are Grow Bags Good for Low Desert Gardening?

“I live in the low desert of southern Arizona. The sun and heat are brutal in the summer, which is 6 months long. What are the pros and cons of using grow bag containers in this environment? Doesn’t the black fabric increase the heat in the root zone?” Jacqueline of Casa Grande, Arizona

Answer: I agree that black fabric grow bags would be a poor choice for low-desert gardening. The bags would heat up and lose water in a snap, even if filled with good soil that holds water. If you’re interested in gardening in containers, opt for very thick, light-colored ceramic pots. Light, reflective pottery, or stone, containers will help keep roots cool and hold water in. You might also consider creating raised beds or gardens made with hefty natural stone. Stone holds water very well and stays cool underneath–helping to protect plant roots. Using top-quality water-holding potting soil is also recommending. Both Black Gold Waterhold Cocoblend and Black Gold Natural & Organic Ultra Coir potting soils get top marks for water-holding ability.

If you are interested in vegetable gardening, I suggest that you read our blog about high desert vegetable gardening by Maureen Gilmer. She uses straw bales to protect her vegetables from the high desert heat and drying winds. The method works wonders for her.

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Here some more of our blogs for western gardeners.

What Are the Best Hanging Basket Flowers For the High Desert?

5 Big, Beautiful Wildflowers for Dry Western Gardens


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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