Smart Pots vs Air Pots vs Regular Pots
Have you seen fabric pots (also known as “Smart Pots”) or “Air Pots” in a local gardening store or online in cannabis growing pictures? Wondering if smart pots and air pots are good for growing marijuana?
Smart pots and air pots provide extra oxygen at the roots, which is a good thing. In fact, that’s a big part of what makes hydro so effective at increasing cannabis growth rates, and smart pots capture some of that power. Growing cannabis in smart pots or air pots gives you some of the advantages of growing hydro, while allowing you to still hand-water your plants in soil or coco coir.
Smart Pots & Air Pots Make Cannabis Grow Faster!
(plastic containers with holes on the sides like Swiss cheese)
However, there’s no one size fits all when it comes to growing weed. All types of containers have their strengths and weaknesses for growing weed, which I’ll outline for you quickly:
Quick Review: Regular Containers vs Smart Pots & Air Pots
- Cannabis plants grow faster in smart pots or air pots (especially in the vegetative stage), in part because plant roots get plenty of access to oxygen
- Cannabis plants in smart pots or air pots can’t really become root-bound, which is when roots wrap around the edges of the container and “choke” the plant. In a smart pot or air pot, it’s very difficult for the plant to get rootbound since it’s always receiving air from the sides which “air prunes” away any roots trying to wrap around the edges.
- Cannabis plants are protected from becoming overwatered in air pots or smart pots. The air from the side helps make sure your plant always has plenty of oxygen so your plants don’t get “wet feet.”
- However, in air pots or smart pots, plants need to be watered about twice as often as regular containers since the grow medium is constantly drying out from the sides.
Complete Cannabis Container Breakdown
Regular Pots vs Smart Pots vs Air Pots
Regular Pots for Growing Cannabis
This is a container with a hole at the bottom for drainage, plus a saucer to catch the water.
Tried and true method
Easy to find at any gardening store
Saucer captures runoff water for easy disposal
Helps keep growing medium from drying out too fast
Usually made out of ceramic or plastic
Smart Pots for Growing Cannabis
A smart pot is a plant container that has been made completely out of a stiff fabric
The shape is usually wider/more squat than a regular container, so it may be possible to grow plants in a slightly shorter space, especially compared to an air pot which is tall/thin. However, they take up more width than any of the other containers, so you may be able to fit less containers in a particular space.
Indoors, you need an extra large saucer or a tray to capture runoff water since smart pots don’t come with a saucer or tray and they seep out water from the sides. So in addition to the container taking up extra room, so will the saucer.
The wide base of a smart pot makes them well suited to growing really large plants, which is why smart pots come in huge sizes in addition to standard plant container sizes. Even giant plants won’t tip over in a smart pot. Many outdoor cannabis growers plant their cannabis in big (600+ gallon) smart pots since they help outdoor plants grow faster than just putting them straight in the ground.
More oxygen is delivered to the roots than a regular pot
Smart pots help prevent your cannabis from becoming root-bound and needing to be transplanted to a new container. This is accomplished by “air-pruning” roots from the sides, which stops your roots from wrapping around the edges of your container and “choking” your plant.
Smart pots make it difficult to over-water your plants, but that also means you will end up watering more often
Because smart pots dry out faster than regular cannabis containers, you should get double the size as you normally would, and it’s recommended your final size should be at least a 5-gallon container (anything smaller than that dries out in just a day or two!). So if you would normally get a 2-gallon container for your plants, you’d want to get at least a 5-gallon smart pot to make sure you’re not having to water your plants all the time.
If you’re going to go big, go with smart pots – your plants won’t by tippy
Air Pots for Growing Cannabis
An air pot is a plastic container with holes on the sides
The shape is taller and thinner than a regular container, so it may be possible to put more plants in a smaller space as long as you have the height
The narrow base means plants tend to be less stable on the ground in an air pot, especially if they’re tall, which means large plants can be easy to tip over.
Although water seeps out the sides when watering, air pots are tall and thin so you can use a regular sized saucer for each container (if it’s a 5-gallon container, you can use a regular 5-gallon saucer).
More oxygen is delivered to the roots than a regular pot, though about the same as a smart pot
Air pots help prevent plants from becoming root-bound and needing to be transplanted. This is accomplished by “air-pruning” roots from the sides, which prevents your roots from wrapping around the edges of your container and “choking” your plant.
Air pots make it more difficult to over-water your cannabis plants, but that also means you will end up watering more often
Because air pots dry out faster than regular cannabis containers, you should get double the size as you normally would, and it’s recommended your final size should be at least a 5-gallon container (anything smaller than that dries out in just a day or two!). So if you would normally get a 2-gallon container for your plants, you’d want to get at least a 5-gallon air pot to make sure you’re not having to water your plants all the time.
The Blue Velvet cannabis plant on the left reacted beautifully to growing in an air pot! On the right is what your cannabis roots look like after growing up in an air pot – all of the roots are reaching to get oxygen from the sides, and absolutely no signs of wrapping like with a rootbound plant!
cannabis root pic by coco coir expert roll_it_large
Which one is the best for growing cannabis? Is it Smart Pots, Air Pots, or regular plant pots?
The truth is these containers are each good in different ways. Some are better suited to some grow setups than others. So let me share my personal opinion…
A Regular Plant Pot is Tried and True
As a general rule a regular plant pot tends to take slightly less maintenance than the others because the growing medium dries out more slowly. Since you can use smaller pots for the same effect, you may be able to fit more plants in a small space.
At the same time, it’s a lot easier to overwater your plant in a regular pot, and you may find your plants quickly become rootbound if you keep them in a too-small container. When a plant is suffering nutrient deficiencies and droopiness from being rootbound, there’s not much you can do to fix it besides transplanting the plant to a bigger container and that can be tough, especially if your plant is already in the flowering stage. I like that you never have to worry about plants becoming rootbound with smart pots or air pots.
Air Pots & Smart Pots Make Cannabis Grow Faster
I’ve tried them both and air pots and smart pots both work amazingly well at increasing cannabis plant growth. A few years ago I even did a side-by-side grow with a regular pot for comparison. From my experience, I don’t think either air pots or smart pots are inherently better than the other. They are both very effective at increasing the vegetative growth rates of your cannabis plants, and they work by doing essentially the same thing – bringing in air from the sides.
As far as I can tell, the major differences between the two is mostly physical. Air pots are taller/thinner and made of plastic, while smart pots are wider/shorter and are made of fabric.
If you’re trying to stuff a bunch of plants in a small space, you might want an air pot since they’re thinner, however plants become tippy if they get tall.
If you have a shorter space, you may opt for a smart pot to save a few extra inches of height, and a smart pot is less tippy so it’s more suited to growing outdoors, or any time you’re growing a big plant.
Personally, I like smart pots better, but mostly just because I prefer fabric over plastic. (Check out my last grow journal using smart pots)
Full disclosure: I currently have switched to hydro (you just can’t beat those cannabis yields!) but if I was going to do another hand-watered cannabis grow, I would never use a regular pot again! At least for me, the increased cannabis growth from a smart pot or air pot makes it worth a little extra watering! It’s like capturing a little bit of that hydro power, while keeping the hand-watered experience.Do smart pots and air pots really make your cannabis plants grow faster? The answer may surprise you!
How Long Do Smart Pots Last And What To Expect
It’s reasonable to do your research on how long do smart pots last before purchasing them, but you’ll be happy that they take up to five years of service. One can conclude that smart pots are worthy investments for the greenhouse or garden. These fabric containers will suit you if you’re the type of gardener who wants to be productive year-round, yearly.
A productive year-round garden is doable in the greenhouse in combination with smart pots as containers. This is because you can grow early in the greenhouse and use the pots to elongate your season . Both the greenhouse and containers will last long, but you’ll be the one responsible for their maintenance to achieve a reasonable life expectancy from them.
How Long Do Smart Pots Last And How To Care For Them
Smart pots last for three to five years, and the company prides itself on having strict quality control in the US. This gives you the confidence that the plants’ quality will be consistent for a long time, ideal for gardeners who want to reuse them. It took more than 30 years to test and prove the quality of smart pots, and the states in the US and other countries noted professional-grade results in using them.
What are smart pots?
Smart pots are fabric containers that originated in Oklahoma from High Caliper Growing of Oklahoma City. It’s safe to say that the flagship “Smart Pot” is the most popular fabric container in the market, making the label synonymous with any fabric pot. And best of all, these pots can last up to five years or more.
What makes smart pots better?
Temperature and moisture control
You can substitute regular pots with smart pots and take advantage of better heat release and moisture control. These keep the roots healthy and prevent problems with lack or saturation of moisture in the medium. Using these containers with the greenhouse also makes it manageable to control your plants’ temperature due to their breathable fabric and consistent condition indoors.
Better surface area for stronger roots
Have you heard of root pruning? The company mentioned that these pots could root prune for better distribution and spacing of the roots inside. The pot stops the root tip once it reaches the container’s side so that the plant starts side branching.
This provides a better surface area for the roots and facilitates mineral and water absorption optimally. The healthy fibrous growth will then be beneficial for your plants and their productivity . Remember that strong roots make vigorous plants.
If you intend to have an all-natural garden, you might even like that these pots have no BPA, chemicals, and dyes, so you know your soil is free of them. You don’t want the plant roots to absorb dangerous chemicals and potentially affect what you eat. The risk of chemicals leaching onto your soil is not existent with smart pots.
Regardless if you’re growing outdoors or indoors, smart pots will be perfect for multiple seasons. However, you can take advantage of the cool season better if you use a greenhouse. Crops like lettuce and carrots will grow well in these pots inside the greenhouse for the winter or plant garlic in fall for harvest next summer.
Additionally, you can use the pots and greenhouse to move warm-season plants indoors. You can adjust the greenhouse temperature and light to ensure that the moved potted plants will survive until their transfer outdoors.
Caring For Smart Pots
For your smart pots to last longer than five years, you need to know how to clean and maintain them. If you plan on reusing your smart pots for the next season, you can leave them at the end of the growing season to save storage space. You can even keep the larger ones outdoors, and they will survive year-round as long as you cover them with mulch for the winter.
For primary care, remove the pots’ contents and let them dry out so that it will be easy to remove residues and excess soil and roots. You can then fold the containers and store them in a cool dry place for the next season. Depending on your assessment, it’s possible to reuse the soil from the pots as an addition to compost.
Over time, you’ll notice algae growth or salt build-up, which is common in containers. If you can’t remove the contents yet, gently scrub the outside of the pots with a solution of baking soda and water. This should address stains and build-up on the exterior, but remember to let the containers air-dry afterward.
Other cleaning options for build-up and dirt are OxiClean or non-chlorine bleach as they help sterilize the pots for safe reuse. You can wash them by hand or soak in a bucket, but you can save time using a washing machine. Rinse the containers thoroughly to get rid of residues and skip the dryer to maintain the pots’ shape.
Year-round and consistent productivity of plants is possible with smart pots and greenhouses. But do you know how long do smart pots last? These containers make excellent investments because they can last for five years or more.
They also offer several advantages such as temperature and moisture control, better surface area for stronger plant roots, and extended growing season. Using these pots in the greenhouse ensures healthy growth and productivity of the plants. The only thing left for you is the responsible maintenance and care of them.How Long Do Smart Pots Last And What To Expect It’s reasonable to do your research on how long do smart pots last before purchasing them, but you’ll be happy that they take up to five years of ]]>