potted green indoor plants

With the current outdoor growing season wrapping up, many cannabis growers are starting to think about bringing their operations indoors. Some will opt for hydroponic grows, while others prefer to stick with soil or coco coir combined with hand watering. For those who fall into the latter category, choosing the right pots is an essential decision.

It used to be the case that growers had few choices. They could use regular pots made out of ceramic, get creative and use other large plastic containers, or sit around and wait until it was time to start getting plants in the ground again come spring. These days, growers have far better options.

Smart pots and air pots are both relatively new inventions. These similar products come with some unique benefits that have converted many growers already. Anyone still using regular pots may want to read on to find out what they need to know about all three of the most popular types of pots for cannabis growing before they purchase supplies for their next indoor grows.

What Are Regular Pots?

Regular pots are containers, usually made from ceramic or plastic, that have holes at the bottom for drainage and saucers to catch the excess water. They’re easy to find at garden stores and great at keeping growing media from drying out. While plenty of growers still use regular pots, most of them only do so because they have yet to discover the many benefits of smart pots.

What Are Smart Pots?

Smart pots are plant containers made out of stiff fabric instead of ceramic or plastic. They’re wider and squatter than regular pots, which makes it possible to grow plants in shorter grow tents. Of course, the shape of the pots also means that each one takes up more space on the floor, which can be a problem in especially small grow rooms.

What’s great about smart pots is that they feature a wide base for improved stability, making it possible to grow very large plants. They also come in a wide range of sizes to accommodate all kinds of growers. Both indoor and outdoor growers have been making the switch to smart pots in droves these past few years.

Indoor growers usually purchase regular-sized smart pots, but outdoor growers can benefit substantially from planting out their cannabis in these huge 600+ gallon fabric containers. Using smart pots to grow outdoor plants affords growers far more control over soil quality, drainage, and other factors, helping them encourage increased growth and better yields.

What Are Air Pots?

Air pots work in much the same way as smart pots do, but they’re made from plastic instead of fabric and are shaped differently. Plastic air pots are taller and thinner than either regular containers or smart pots, which makes them ideal for small indoor grow rooms. Air pots allow growers to accommodate more plants in a smaller footprint.

While air pots are a great option for relatively short plants grown indoors, they’re not ideal for exceptionally tall strains or outdoor growing. The narrow base means that air pots are much less stable than smart pots, so the plants will be more likely to tip over. They’re best-suited to indoor grows where a small footprint is the biggest limitation.

The Benefits of Air Pots and Smart Pots

Since both air pots and smart pots share many of the same features, it makes sense to talk about what benefits they share before discussing their differences. Here’s what growers can expect when they make the switch to one of these more advanced types of pots:

·         Increased plant growth resulting from greater oxygen delivery to the roots.

Close to zero risk of plants becoming root-bound since both types of container air-prune roots from the sides.

Elimination of problems like root rot associated with overwatering.

Reduced need for transplanting.

The Drawbacks of Smart Pots and Air Pots

The only real drawback of smart pots and air pots is that they require more frequent watering than regular ceramic pots. As most growers know, that’s a small trade-off for improved soil drainage and reduced issues with root rot and other fungal diseases. 

To make up for the faster soil drying times, most growers purchase pots that are around twice as large as they would normally use. Purchasing larger smart pots or air pots also eliminates the need for transplanting since there will be plenty of soil to stabilize and feed the plants and the roots will air prune themselves when they reach the sides.

Aside from faster soil drying times, there are few drawbacks to using these more advanced pots. Just make sure to choose the right type based on how much space is available and how tall the plants will grow, and don’t forget to save some saucers from those old regular pots to catch excess water because neither brand includes them with their products.

Smart Pots vs. Air Pots: Which Is Better?

Given the many benefits and minimal drawbacks of making the switch to smart pots or air pots, it’s worth discounting regular pots right away. That still leaves growers with a pressing question: are smart pots or air pots a better alternative?

There’s no definitive answer here. Most growers prefer smart pots if they have the space because they’re more stable and can be used both indoors and outdoors to grow exceptionally tall plants. That said, indoor growers with minimal space may prefer plastic air pots because they have smaller footprints.

Make the Switch Today

Growers planning to start indoor operations for winter should invest in high-quality equipment now instead of waiting yet another year to up the ante and improve their yields. It’s worth buying smart pots or air pots to increase growth and improve plant health. Just make sure to buy them from a reputable vendor so that there won’t be any issues with quality. After one season using high-quality modern pots, few growers will go back to buying ceramic or plastic regular pots from garden centers ever again.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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