Types of containers for growing autoflowering cannabis

Even though it may not seem like it, the type of pot you use can affect how your autos grow.
02 September 2020
7 min read
Types of containers for growing autoflowering cannabis

  • 1. What should you look for in a pot?
  • 2. Store-bought pots
  • 2. a. Plastic containers
  • 2. b. Clay containers
  • 2. c. Cement containers
  • 2. d. Smart pots
  • 2. e. Air pots
  • 3. Improvised pots
  • 3. a. Paint buckets
  • 3. b. Bottles
  • 3. c. Glass containers
  • 4. What should you have in mind when buying pots?
  • 5. Best pot for autoflowers
  • 6. In conclusion

Pots are widely available in all shapes, sizes, and materials, even though they may not seem that important, the roots grow in it and are shaped by their form.

When talking about autoflowers, it’s essential you choose a good pot that provides enough oxygen to the roots because autos have a limited life cycle, so you should try to make their growth go as smoothly as possible.

1. What should you look for in a pot?

Before buying anything, it’s important you know what the roots need to grow healthy and strong. Just like all other plants, cannabis roots need oxygen and water to thrive. 

One of the functions of the roots is to breathe, the roots contain tiny pores named stomata (just like the ones on fan leaves) which are responsible for the air exchange between the atmosphere and the air in the pots, absorbing oxygen and transport it to the rest of the plant.

Similar to the way roots absorb oxygen, they also absorb water by osmosis, root cells are adapted for taking up water and nutrients, that’s why they develop the way they do, by covering a large surface they can ultimately absorb more water.


Types of containers for growing autoflowers: what to look for

Good pots should provide drainage and oxygenation for the roots to thrive.

As you may know, these two elements are vital for plant growth but in excess can kill your plant.

Too much water either by overwatering or by lack of drainage can drown your plants and this applies to oxygen too, if the soil contains a lot of oxygen the roots will have problems absorbing water and may end up dead.

Choosing the best pot, which should have a balance of good drainage and aeration is essential when growing any kind of plant and especially when growing autos.


 How it's absorbedWhy it's neededHow it's used
OxygenRoots release CO2 and absorb oxygen through the stomata.Roots breathe for the plants' cells to produce energy and continue growing.Oxygen is used in the process of photosynthesis where CO2 to produce sugar.
WaterRoots absorb water by osmosis and the nutrients in it will travel to your plant.Minerals are needed to develop the leaves and fatten up the buds.Nutrients are used in photosynthesis along with oxygen to promote growth.

The importance and how oxygen and water are used by cannabis plants.

Have in mind that the amount of water your plant needs may vary from strain to strain and plant to plant but all plants (not only cannabis) need water and oxygen to be able to continue their processes which allows them to grow healthy.


2. Store-bought pots

Store-bought pots are all the pots that you can easily find in grow-shops or florists. There are innumerous types of pots that will fit well, depending on where and how you’re growing.

Plastic containers

Plastic containers are the standard you can find anywhere, they are usually very cheap and easy to use.

When using plastic containers you have to be careful because using a small pot can make the roots stick together and your autos can eventually become root-bound.

Make sure they provide enough drainage, your plastic containers should have holes in the bottom to allow the water to drain, if they don’t have them you can easily make them yourself, this will prevent avoid the roots from drowning.


Types of containers for growing autoflowers: plastic containers

Plastic container are cheap and effective, perfect for growers on a budget.

You can successfully grow your autos in 5-12L pots, depending on the specific strain and the space you have, usually, if you’re growing indoors it’s a good idea to have a small plate in the bottom to help catch the water that comes out of the pot when watering.

Clay containers

Clay (or ceramic) pots are also available widely but are usually found in bigger sizes and are relatively more expensive than plastic containers for example, although more expensive does not mean they're better, at least for growing cannabis.


Types of containers for growing autoflowers: clay pots

Clay containers absorb moisture so they can help you avoid overwatering.

Depending on where you live, clay pots can be a good idea because they help absorb the excess moisture while still keeping the medium damp but may not be the best choice for indoor growers.

Because they’re quite heavy, it can be difficult to move them around so if you’re planning on using clay pots it would be better to use other types of containers.

Cement containers

Cement pots are similar to clay pots but can be a bit cheaper, they are also a bit sturdier and can last for a long time but just like clay pots, cement pots are heavy by themselves and when you have your medium of choice and a plant in it, can be super heavy.


Types of containers for growing autoflowers: cement pots

Cement pots can last for years and years but are too heavy to move them easily, especially indoors.

We recommend cement pots if you have it readily available but it’s better to go for plastic containers if you can. Cement containers are usually recommended for plants that last years and years, that is not the case with cannabis plants.

Smart pots

Smart Pots are the latest product in the container world, smart pots are made out of fabric and provide a lot of oxygenation to the roots, which will help them grow better, ultimately resulting in a healthier plant. 

Unlike plastic containers, for example, you won’t have to worry about drainage, smart pots basically prevent the roots from becoming root-bound because if they outgrow the pot they can still grow outside of it, although this is not ideal.


Types of containers for growing autoflowers: smart pots

Smart pots are one of the best types of containers, they allow water to drain and proper air exchange.

The only disadvantage is that smart pots are made out of fabric so the water can get everywhere when watering, we recommend you place a tarp to avoid getting your tent wet or a saucer to catch the water if you’re growing indoors.

Air pots

Just like smart pots, air pots provide a lot of oxygen for the roots to breathe as much as they need to, the only downside which isn't a big problem at all is they don't have handles to facilitate handling which can be useful if you have to move your pots around.


Types of containers for growing autoflowers: air pots

Air pots are similar to smart pots, they allow proper drainage and oxygenation but can be a bit expensive.

Air pots are made out of plastic and have several holes along the sides so you won’t have to worry about drainage or oxygenation but the downside is they can be a bit more expensive than regular pots, also, when growing in air pots the medium can dry a little bit faster so make sure you adjust the quantity and water properly.


3. Improvised pots

Growers on a budget cannot spend unless it’s extremely necessary, cannabis plants can be grown in any kind of container as long as it provides proper drainage and oxygen. Have in mind that sunlight should not reach the roots so it’s vital the improvised pot is not white or clear. 

Paint buckets

Paint buckets are a good way to grow cannabis without spending too much because they can be found in almost any size, the only problem is that they do not contain holes for water drainage but you can easily make them yourself.


Types of containers for growing autoflowers: paint buckets

Paint buckets are a good alternative to plastic containers but it's highly recommended you drill drainage holes on the bottom.

Another problem is that sometimes paint can contain lead which can be harmful if your plant ends up absorbing them so you have to make sure you thoroughly wash the bucket and there are no signs of paint left.


Soda bottles can also be used for growing autos, although the size will have an influence on how tall they grow and sometimes can end up being root-bound. Make sure you also make small drainage holes so you don't drown your plants.


Types of containers for growing autoflowers: plastic bottles

We recommend being careful when growing in plastic bottles, even though it's possible, your plants can become root-bound.

Because bottles are clear you’ll have to paint it black or cover the bottle with a black tarp but this can end up increasing the temperature in the medium so if you’re trying this, it’s recommended you check closely your plants' growth.

Also, just like paint buckets, bottles don’t come with drainage holes so you will have to make them yourself.

Glass containers

Glass containers should be your last resource because it won’t be easy to make holes in it and there’s no easy way to paint them, even though autoflowers can be grown in glass vases we recommend staying away from them.

This type of container can be quite expensive when compared to plastic pots so unless you cannot find or afford plastic pots (which are super cheap) then go for it but it’s more likely you’ll have a hard time through the grow cycle if you’re not an experienced grower.


4. What should you have in mind when buying pots?

When choosing which pot to buy, you should first have an estimate on how tall your autoflowers will grow to, knowing what to expect will avoid any problems such as root-bound plants or extremely short ones.


Types of containers for growing autoflowers: what to have in mind

Oxygenation and water drainage are the main things you should have in mind when buying pots.

Another very important thing to remember is that autoflowers don’t do well when transplanted so you shouldn’t start in a smaller pot and then transplant it to a bigger one, we recommend starting in the final container so you avoid any possible problems.

You will see a huge difference between roots growing in a well-aerated damp medium and roots that are growing in a precarious medium.

Roots are the foundation to all plants, it’s essential to grow in pots with good drainage and proper oxygenation, don’t choose pots that dry fast or that will leave the roots swimming in water, you should aim for a damp medium.


5. Best pot for autoflowers

There isn’t such a thing as pots specially designed for autos, remember that even though automatic cannabis has the autoflowering trait, they’re still a plant and as long as your pot provides enough oxygen and drainage for the roots to grow properly, you’ll be fine growing any kind of plant, including autoflowering cannabis.

6. In conclusion

Even though it may seem like the least important thing when growing cannabis, the pot is where you put the medium that the roots will grow in so it’s actually quite important, the medium is the environment where roots grow in and when put this way, it’s just as important as the environment where your plants grow in.

If you have DIY containers or other tips you’d like to share with fellow growers, please leave a comment in the comment section below!

02 September 2020