marijuana plant pots used outdoors

Aside from the actual growing space itself another very important aspect that should not be overlooked is pot size. When growing indoors it is vital that you choose the correct pot size for the plants that they will hold, plants can grow in any pot, but if you want to get big yields then you need equally large pots. If you were to grow a large yielding cannabis plant such as Big Bud or Critical in a small pot around 1-2 gallons in size then it will still grow perfectly fine for the first couple of months but will soon be root bound and its growth will come to a halt. 

There are a couple of things to bare in mind when deciding pot size and they are:

Plant size

Cannabis strains vary dramatically in size from small autos that will only yields as little as 200g per square meter, all the way up to large photoperiods that can yield over 700g per square meter, so it is important that you do the math on precisely how big your pots need to be for the strain you have chosen to grow.

Grow space

The space itself dictates how large the plant can grow and in a small area the plant can only grow as big as the walls and ceiling around it allow. If you are growing inside a cupboard or a small tent that is only 4 feet in height and a couple of feet wide then you don’t need the biggest yielding strain or the biggest pot 

  • Tip

1 Gallon = 1 month of growth

As a rule of thumb, we always advise that you should have roughly 1 gallon or pot for every month of growth. So, if you calculate that the plant will take 4 months from seedling to harvest then you should have a 4-gallon pot (18 litres).

Types of marijuana plant pots

When choosing pots of your cannabis plants another aspect you should consider is the type of pot. There are lots of different types of pots, you can get away with a garden plant pot however for optimal health I would advise using a cannabis plant pot that has been designed specially for that task.

Smart pots

Smart pots are made of a permeable sack-like material and are excellent for growing cannabis in because they stop your plant becoming rootbound which can stunt growth. The material that they are made from is breathable which allows air to circulate the plant roots preventing common issues such as root rot. Also because the material is not water tight like most plastic pots, smart pots prevent overwatering, if you pour in too much water, it will simply drain out, which makes it is nearly impossible to overwater. 

You can pick up a 12 litre smart pot for as little as $3, or if you are doing a bigger grow you can get great smart pots from amazon for $23 for a pack of 10. Their ability to prevent common mistakes like overwatering and their low cost make smart pots a great choice for any new grower. One thing to watch out for though, is although they prevent overwatering they do also drain water much faster than conventional pots, so you may need to water your plants more often. A simple feel of the top centimetre of soil should give you an indication of if your cannabis plants need watering.

The vast majority of smart pots are made of recyclable materials that are also washable, which means you can use them for multiple grows. This makes them by far the most environmentally friendly plant potting option.

Benefits of smart pots

  • Makes it almost impossible to overwater your plants.
  • Reduces the risk of root rot.
  • Increases airflow around the roots.
  • Cheap and convenient.
  • Environmentally friendly.
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Similar in principle to smart pots, Air-Pots are solid plastic containers with lots of small air holes covering the side of the pot. Despite looking like something from a sci-fi film they way that these pots work is simple, the air holes along the side of the pots allow air to circulate the roots of the plant, known as ‘air pruning’, this reduces the risk of root rot and overwatering. Similarly, with air pots because of the improved drainage you will need to water your plants more frequently to prevent them from drying out. However, I would not look at this is a negative because it is much easier to fix a plant that has been underwatered than one that has been overwatered.

One issue that should not be overlooked when using Air-Pots is the potential mess that they can create. As you can imagine a plant pot covered in holes will leak a fair amount of dirty water, so make sure you invest in a large tray to hold the pots unless you want your grow room to eventually become a pond.

What I preferred when compared with smart pots is that Air-Pots are much more solid and you feel like you are actually using a normal pot, albeit one with lots of holes in it. Their plastic frame makes them a lot sturdier; this makes them easier to mover around, which comes in handy when they are heavy and full of water.

Air-Pots are a little more pricy than smart pots, a 13.8 litre one on amazon will set you back around $25, however this size should easily be big enough for most grows.

Benefits of Air-pots

• Reduce the risk of over watering.
• Reduce the risk of root rot.
• Increases airflow around the roots.

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Hempy buckets

Hempy Buckets are usually made of plastic, although they can really be fashioned out of any other bucket or plant pot with a little creativity. Essentially a Hempy Bucket is a pot or bucket that has a drainage hole in its side a couple of inches above the bottom of the bucket. This clever innovation allows excess water to drain out of the side, while a shallow reservoir of water forms at the bottom of the bucket below the drainage hole. What this does is creates a moist humid environment for the plant’s roots giving them a constant source of water, almost like a manual version of hydroponics. Although this can be especially useful at preventing roots from drying out, the risk with hempy buckets is that the reservoir of water mixed with various nutrients can go stagnant over time causing damage to the health of your plant. To prevent this from happening some are created with an inbuilt air pump to provide air to the water reservoir at the bottom of the bucket. If you want to test the water with hydro growing before you splash out on an entire hydroponics system, these buckets from amazon are great at 2 for less than $100.

One especially important thing to do when you grow using hempy buckets is to use a tray or saucers to catch the runoff water, otherwise you will make a mess of your grow room. This can be quite a difficult task if your plants are big and heavy, and you are limited on working space. You can also use this as an opportunity to test your runoff PPM (parts per million) to ensure that your hempy buckets are not developing a nutrient build up in their reservoir.

Most commonly growers fill hempy buckets with a mix of vermiculite and perlite, however you can use clay pebbles or coco coir that work just as well.

Benefits of hempy buckets

• Reduce the risk of overwatering.
• Reduce the risk of drying out roots.
• Cheap and easy to get (they can be fashioned out of any plant pots or buckets)

Ordinary plant pots

If you are growing cannabis and do not want to splash out on any fancy new equipment you can simply use some of your old garden pots to keep your budget down. 

TIP – Create your own drainage holes?  If you are using standard plastic plant pots before you begin your grow make sure they have drainage holes in the bottom, otherwise you will end up over watering your plants. If they do not have any you can simply create some yourself by drilling 5-10 5mm wide holes in the bottom of the pot.

One benefit of using terracotta plant pots is that by soaking up a small amount of moisture they stay cooler that plastic pots in hot environments which can keep your roots nice and cool in summer.

The downsides to using terracotta pots is that they are heavy and when they are full they can be a nuisance to move around, and if you are not careful with them they can crack. If I am growing with standard plant pots I prefer Yangbaga pots from amazon, they come with a drip tray, they are incredibly durable and will last plenty of grows. 

Benefits to standard plant pots

• Convenient.
• Cheap and easy to use.


As a first time grower there is nothing wrong with using the pots that you already have lying around in your garden, just make sure you give them a thorough clean first. However I personally would recommend smart pots as the best all round pots to use, simply because they are incredibly cheap and come with the added advantages that air-pots have but for a fraction of the price.

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Joe Musgrave

An avid 420 enthusiast, grower, smoker and writer. Joe writes non stop, sharing his extensive knowledge in the field of cannabis with the wider online 420 community through blogs like ours at High Yield Strains.

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