Seeds in soil: Pots

I prefer to grow marijuana in soil, and that’s what I will write about here and in my book. The segment I’m writing now is on tools, and the first tools to consider are the pots you grow your plants in. After the jump is a first draft of information about choosing types and sizes of pots to grow marijuana indoors.

Like everything I write, this information is geared to new gardeners in Colorado, where home growing is now legal in certain amounts and in certain situations. This information does not apply in any state other than my own.

Pots and saucers

To grow any plant indoors, you need a container. To grow marijuana you will need containers of different sizes to hold the plants at different points in their lives. I recommend plastic pots, usually colored black or green. Most nurseries carry heavy-duty black plastic pots, the same kind they sell their own plants in. The pots are usually round and measured by diameter in inches. The most useful sizes will be four-inch, six-inch, and ten-inch for different growing phases, then for the final growth a pot which might range from 12 to 14 inches in diameter and holds roughly five or six gallons of soil. Once you’re used to growing you can skip some sizes. Nowadays I usually grow with only six- and twelve-inch pots, but to start you’ll probably have more success with a full set for each plant you plan to grow, so that you can carefully adjust the pot size to your plant’s root structure. Prices on these pots vary with size, but for ordinary nursery pots even the largest size should be under $10.

If you’re strapped for cash you can use other sorts of plastic containers to at least start your seeds in, as long as they are clean and you create your own drainage holes in them. I’ve had good luck using cream cheese tubs to start seeds. Make sure to wash them thoroughly and use a sharp knife to create some drainage holes in the bottom. You’ll still need the larger sizes as your plants grow.
Your pots must have drainage holes in the bottom. It is possible to grow plants successfully in pots without drainage holes, but I really don’t advise it for a new grower. Watering is a tricky business in any case, and when you start you want your system to be as forgiving as possible.

You’ll also want heavy plastic saucers to go underneath your pots. These come in different sizes, and my advice is to size them generously, so that the bottom of your pot sits easily in the saucer with some room to spare. I guarantee that at one time or another you will over-water your plants and if your saucers are not big enough to hold some extra water it will all end up on the floor of your room. This is really messy, but also dangerous. In keeping with our motto — Stay Safe! — remember that you are going to be using electrical lines near a regular source of water. Water and electricity don’t mix. In fact, they can kill you. One of your best investments in safety is providing large, high-quality saucers underneath your pots. By ‘high quality’ I mean a thick plastic that doesn’t bend and won’t crack easily. Thin plastic saucers will develop holes and leak eventually.

If you want to keep your grow more beautiful, you can use ceramic pots as well. All nurseries have a wide range of ceramic pots in many decorative shapes and colors. There are some things you should aware of with ceramic pots. First: ceramic pots are expensive, especially the big ones. They can be a serious investment if you buy them new. Second: make sure there is a good-sized drainage hole, preferably more than one. Third: be sure you use pots that are glazed. Unglazed ceramics lose water not only from the top of the soil but all over the pot, and unless you’re an unusually careful waterer, this can harm your plants. Fourth: big ceramic pots, once they are full of damp soil and growing plants, are really heavy. To Stay Safe!, you don’t want to drop a full ceramic pot on your fingers or toes or any other part of you. It hurts and you could break something. Even the large plastic pots are heavy when full, but ceramic much more so.

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