When you first start out growing there are a few critical decisions to contemplate. What cannabis seeds, indoor or outdoor, hydro or organic, the list goes on. But, one factor often relegated to the end of said list is, what weed pots you will settle on planting those precious beans into. And, in this brave new world of legal cannabis, the options are almost never-ending.
Not to worry my friends, let’s take a look at every prospect, and break down why we think there’s really only one option you should consider when considering the best pots for growing cannabis.
The answer lies in what the containers hold – that is, the roots. Root health is up there with the most important factor when it comes to growing weed, and the plant pot you choose is integral in maintaining that.
Larger pots for smaller plants can lead to overwatered cannabis and, vice versa, smaller pots with bigger plants can easily lead to underwatering.
Overwatering can lead to issues like cannabis root rot.
The type of pot you settle on has a huge impact on the conditions in the root zone, so picking the right pots for growing weed is one of the easiest ways to take control of the below soil area. Roots need a couple of key things to be the best version of themselves possible –
If you have never grown anything before (like the vast majority of new growers), then may come as a slight surprise that roots flourish not in constantly wet conditions, but actually in an environment where that moisture has the opportunity to drain away completely.
The oxygenation of the root zone closely relates to the drainage capabilities of the pot itself and is an important part of keeping the roots healthy. If a pot (or the medium it holds) is too compact, leaving no room for air movement, the plant can essentially suffocate.
Nutrients are what the plants feed on, and if you have chosen the wrong pot, then the roots will struggle to deliver all those minerals and other goodies to the plant. If the cannabis nutrient solution is at the incorrect pH level, the plant will be unable to suck up the nutrients it needs, leaving you with unhappy plants and a lackluster yield, or worse.
Ok, we all know about the usual subjects. Cheap plastic pots, terracotta offerings, concrete monoliths. And while these options can work fine to grow cannabis, there are way better options now available. Scroll down a little further to see these, or stick around for a rundown of the more commonly seen but less frequently recommended cannabis grow pots.
While both these style pots may look great, they do come with some serious downsides for cannabis cultivation. First up, they usually only come with one single drainage hole, and without some specialized equipment it’s next to impossible to add more drainage holes, and they still break really easily. There usually not super expensive, but we wouldn’t consider them to be necessarily cheap either. They are also heavy and hard to move around, which is the last thing you want when growing weed.
Terracotta is better than concrete as it can absorb a little more of the moisture, and help keep the root area cooler on very hot days, and the heavyweight of both of them can help anchor larger plants, but for the overwhelming majority of growers, we do not recommend using either of these options.
Out of the three common household options mentioned, Plastic pots are actually the best for cannabis cultivation.
A few reasons actually, but for the most part, it’s because they’re really easy to modify. As mentioned above, drainage and oxygenation are both vital for the roots to flourish, but almost every “off the shelf” option just doesn’t provide adequate drainage options for cannabis plants. With plastic pots, it is extremely easy to grab any drill and smack a couple (or a lot) of extra drainage holes.
They’re also very wallet-friendly, lightweight, and usually surprisingly durable.
Unless you are starting a commercial growing operation, there is really no need to invest in such over-the-top containers. If you want to step up your game and give your plants the best foundation possible, then there are a bunch of other optional extras you should be thinking of checking out before wasting your cheddar on overly priced pots.
Also, if you’re on a tight budget, then a cheap plastic pot for growing cannabis can work just fine (with a few small alterations), but if you have the cash then you should definitely consider one of the following options.
Air pots are aptly named due to the fact they allow more air to the root zone, and this is due to their unique design. They are primarily made of industrial-grade plastic in a circular form, with the sides featuring rows of small dimples which each have a hole drilled out. This design promotes much higher oxygenation of the root zone, as well as encouraging fast and even drainage.
The airpots also have a few other benefits, such as being very lightweight and easy to move, and some have handles built in for easier transport. The dimpled design also helps keep the pots cooler in very hot temperatures and promotes air pruning of the root, which is ideal for cannabis cultivation.
What is air pruning?
Air pruning is a natural process that occurs when air is able to reach the outer root tips, causing them to dry out and become brittle and ultimately die. This might sound like the exact opposite of what we want, but this process actually forces the plant to constantly produce new and healthy branching roots. This effectively reduces the chance of the plant becoming pot-bound and possibly suffocating itself.
Fabric pots are the cream of the crop when it comes to cannabis grow containers. They are made from a breathable fabric material, usually a non-woven polypropylene material. This material is far superior to any plastic pot for cannabis growing and allows for excellent oxygenation of the roots, fast drainage, and an abundance of healthy microbes.
Furthermore, as the fabric material is breathable, it also allows for much better temperature regulation, important for when the weather starts to get hot, as well as aiding with root aeration. Another benefit of most fabric pots is they can be reused many times, but beware of cheap imitations (which have flooded the online market in recent years). They are also super lightweight and offer even better air pruning capabilities than airpots.
Ultimately, what we are trying to achieve is the healthiest crop possible, as that will offer us the chance of maxing out the yield capacity of the genetics of the strain, and also the potency. And for that, an effective grow container and smart selection of growing medium is the way forward.
So depending on your budget and what you are growing, make sure to consider all the options and select the best grow pots for your needs.
But, to be totally above board, the only real option we think all growers should be using in this day and age are high-quality fabric pots. We know that setting up an indoor grow room or tent can be an expensive undertaking, but why cut corners on one of the less glamorous aspects of the process? Think of them as an investment in your future satisfaction!
Besides, they really don’t cost that much.
There’s no standard, one size fits all answer here. It comes down to the height you want to grow your plant to,, and what genetics you are cultivating.
With autos, you should always start your plants in the pot you intend to finish them in.
This is because, thanks to their autoflowering superpowers, they just don’t have the time to bounce back from the shock that transplanting puts on a cannabis plant. It’s totally fine to transplant photoperiod plants, as you can just force them to stay in the vegetative growth stage for a few extra days to cover the stunt in growth, but the same can’t be said for autos. Autos should always be grown in a minimum of around a 12-ish liter pot (3 gallons) if you want them to hit their genetic peak.
For photos, you may want to go a little larger as you will be probably running them for longer, but you can grow a pretty big plant in a 3 to 5 gallon pot. If you want to grow absolute beasts, the pot size will have to increase to somewhere in the vicinity of 8 to 10 gallons.
Selecting the right container and medium to grow your cannabis in is an absolutely essential part of getting that amazing harvest. And although there are multiple options, we just can’t go past fabric smart pots. They offer all the best in oxygenation, drainage, air pruning, and are lightweight and easy to move around.
Good luck, and enjoy the ride…
Sam N. is a content writer with a passion for everything cannabis. After working multiple seasons on weed farms absorbing the ins and outs of cannabis cultivation and culture, he decided to transition into a role that would allow him to work from anywhere, anytime. Sam now writes for multiple weed publications. He has extensive experience with a wide range of canna-agriculture styles, from smaller artisanal farms to large-scale commercial operations, and is here to share his knowledge to give you all the best chance of cultivation success. About this Author