A Guide to Plant Containers

Indoor grow room container gardening.It can be incredibly rewarding having your very own garden of fruits, vegetables, and other plants. At the same time, growing directly in the soil outside can be a bit unpredictable. This is due to the fact that you don’t know exactly what’s in the ground. Your plants could fall victim to everything from pests to soil-borne diseases to weeds. That means more work for you and a potentially ruined harvest.

Thankfully, there are plenty of containers and pots for plants that give you full control over your grow. Grow pots for indoor gardening — whether you’re using a grow room or grow tent — are a great, efficient option when it comes to your plants.

If you’ve never grown plants in containers and want to give it a try, or if you’re curious about the benefits of container gardening, look no further. We’ve outlined everything you need to know about plant containers — what they are, the different kinds that are out there, the benefits to growing with containers, and how to use pots for growing plants.

Table of Contents

  1. The Benefits of Using Grow Pots for Plants
  2. Choosing the Right Size
  3. Types of Grow Pots and Indoor Plant Containers
    1. Grow Bags
    2. Plastic Growing Pots
    3. Air Prune Pots — Fabric Prune Pots and Plastic Prune Pots
  4. Mediums to Use with Grow Pots
    1. Coco Coir
    2. Soil
  5. Which Type of Grow Pot to Choose
  6. Plant Pots and Containers Are Great for Growing

We'll start by talking about why exactly you should consider container gardening.

The Benefits of Using Grow Pots for Plants

Plants in plastic grow pot containers.Growing your plants in a container or grow pot is one alternative to planting them directly in the ground. Whether you call them containers, planters, or grow pots, it all means the same thing: a small, portable item for your plants to be displayed and grow in.

Using containers for gardening purposes has several advantages:

  • You know exactly what your plants are growing in. Whether you’re using soil, coco coir, or a combination of grow mediums, you’ll know the quantity and quality of what your plants are being cultivated in.
  • It’s easier to avoid soil-borne problems. Pests, diseases, weeds, and deadly fungi can have a negative effect on your plants. If you’re growing outdoors, you have little control over these natural soil-borne conditions. If you’re using pots for your plants, though, you’ll be able to regulate your growing medium more effectively.
  • Indoor grow room with multiple plants in containers.You have full control over the light and conditions your plants are exposed to. Whether you’re growing outdoors or in a grow room, using plant containers lets you control what your plants are exposed to. Outside, you can move them so they get the sunlight they need. If you’re using an indoor grow kit, you can adjust your grow lights and control the temperature as necessary. Potting your plants is also great if you live in an area where the soil or climate aren’t ideal for gardening.
  • Convenience. When it comes to houseplants, using pots is the obvious choice. It’s also beneficial if you live in an apartment complex and don’t have access to a yard — because you shouldn’t let that stop you from gardening! A container garden right on your balcony is always an option.
  • Container gardening can be aesthetically pleasing. Beautiful pots can serve as decor, whether it’s to brighten up the interior of your home or add some flair to your garden or grow room.

Choosing the Right Size

Multiple plants in large fabric pots in a large grow tent.The amount of sizes that grow pots come in can seem overwhelming. How do you know which pot to pick for which plant? The key is to think about the roots that will be growing from your plant and to make sure they have room to grow and develop, or your plant may be stunted. A larger pot is always a better option than one that could end up being too small.

When repotting your plants, try to choose a pot that is 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter than the current one. If the current pot is less than 10 inches in diameter, though, switch to a new pot that’s 2 to 3 inches larger. A lot of room means more opportunity for your plant to grow healthily and flourish, given it receives the right amount of nutrients and is grown in the proper environment.

That being said, here’s a quick guide for some plants that would thrive in various pot sizes:

  • 1 Gallon Pots — These small pots are great for tiny plants like succulents and herbs, as well as a starting point for some of your other plants that will eventually grow larger.
  • 3 Gallon Pots — A 3 gallon pot is just about the perfect size for herbs or other similarly sized plants, as it provides enough room for the plant to grow. This size is also good for some fruit and vegetable plants, like small tomato plants, carrot plants, leaf lettuce, turnips, beets, and strawberries. It works for certain flowers too, such as marigolds and zinnias.
  • Tomato plants growing out of fabric prune pots in a container garden. 5 Gallon Pots — 5 gallon pots are perfect for one standard-sized tomato plant and are also a great starting point for full-sized flowering plants. This would also work for many ornamental plants, like roses.
  • 10 Gallon to 15 Gallon Pots — This size range is great for small trees — especially if you’re going to need to move them indoors during the winter — because it’s small enough to be easily transported. In addition, 15 gallon pots will also work well for large vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, pepper, broccoli, and large tomato plants. Berries, shrubs, and cacti can also thrive in these pots.
  • 20 Gallon to 30 Gallon Pots — Large houseplants, trees, and any large plant with a pretty extensive root system should be potted within this size range. It’ll leave enough room for the roots when it comes to trees, as their roots need lots of room to grow downward. A lot of fruit trees — like apple, pear, and dwarf peach trees — will work well in a 30 gallon pot.
  • 45 Gallon Pots — This is the size you’ll want to use as a nursery pot for trees you’re going to plant in the ground in the future.

Larger sized pots are ideal for planting and repotting trees as they grow larger. It’s usually ideal to plant full-sized trees directly into the ground. That said, the soil where you live may not provide the best nutrients in order for your trees to grow properly, so potting will be your best option. You may want to start with a 75 gallon to 150 gallon pot, but they come as large as 300 gallons and even up to 400 gallons, so you’ll be set no matter what.

Types of Grow Pots and Indoor Plant Containers

Grow pots are traditionally made of terracotta, but these days there are tons of different types of grow pots made from virtually any material you can imagine. You’ll find pots made with metal, plastic, and resin — there are even pots that are actually bags of fabric.

Grow Bags

PVC grow bag for plants.Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene (PE) grow bags are a great planting option that provide mobility for your plants so you can transplant them easily. All you need to do is prep the new grow pot and slide the bag around your grow medium. That’s it!

Grow bags are super convenient to use. They’ll save a lot of room if you only have a small area to work with for your indoor garden, making them the ideal choice for growers with limited growing space.

In addition, PVC and PE grow bags provide you with flexibility for growing, as they can be used both above and below ground. Their drainage holes, located at the bottom of the bags, allow you to leave the bags above ground so that they drain into the dirt, or keep them on a tray to saturate the roots.

PVC and PE grow bags are an especially good option if you’re growing small flowers or plants like herbs. They’re also a great starting point for any plants you’ll end up putting in a larger medium eventually.

Grow Bag Perks:

  • Easy to move your plants around.
  • Perfect for smaller grow rooms.
  • Can be used above and below ground.
  • Great for smaller plants, flowers, and herbs.

Recommended Grow Bags:

Plastic Growing Pots

Wide plastic grow pot for plants.Plastic grow pots are a great option for temporary storage and growth. They’re cost-effective, durable, and typically available in packs, so they’re good if you plan on growing a lot of plants that will eventually be moved to a bigger pot.

Plastic thermoformed pots are especially durable, because they’re made with a single sheet of plastic. This allows them to hold up better than your typical plastic pots. Thermoformed pots are definitely a good option to go with if you’re planning on using solid plastic pots.

Note: Plastic grow pots should only be used for about 6 months before it’s time to replace them. As such, they’re really best for temporary use.

Plastic Grow Pot Perks:

  • Highly durable.
  • Affordable.
  • Great for temporary use before moving your plants to larger pots.

Recommended Growing Pots:

Air Prune Pots — Fabric Prune Pots and Plastic Prune Pots

Fabric prune pot and plastic prune pot.Over time, you might notice that the roots of your plants are starting to grow down or around their pots. When a plant’s roots grow in a circle around the pot, it can strangle the roots and lead to poor nutrient intake. This will put a lot of stress on the plant.

Luckily, air pruning is a great way to avoid this issue, as air prune pots dry out the roots of your plants in order to prune them as they grow. When plants are growing in prune pots, their roots will be able to poke through the pots’ fabric and grow outward rather than down. This dehydrates the roots and forces the plant to grow secondary branch roots.

This air pruning cycle then continues as these new roots also dehydrate and create even more roots. All of the roots coming from your plant will improve its nutrient intake greatly, leading to complex root systems and good, large yields.

Another advantage of using air prune pots is that they can be used to grow plants either in grow rooms or outside in gardens. Indoors, you can just leave the pot on a tray or a bucket and collect the water that seeps from the fabric when you water your plants. Outdoors, you can plant the pot directly into a hole you’ve dug into the ground, or simply place the pot on top of the dirt.

Air Prune Pot Perks:

  • Reusable.
  • Allows your plants’ roots to grow properly.
  • Air pruning promotes complex root systems for optimal yields.

Recommended Pruning Pots:

Mediums to Use with Grow Pots

Aside from your plant containers, you’re also going to need a grow medium for your plants. Thankfully, this is as simple as choosing the medium you like best and using it in your grow room.

Coco Coir

Plants growing in coco coir in a container garden.

As far as grow mediums go, growing with coco coir is a great and versatile option for your grow room. A byproduct of coconut fiber, coco coir is an alternative to traditional soil. Coco coir comes in multiple forms:

  • Coco peat is great at retaining water and nutrients. This could be a downside if you want your plants’ roots to dehydrate, but it’s great if you want maximum nutrient intake for your plants.
  • Simple coco fibers are stringy and allow for great airflow.
  • Coco chips have good water retention and air pockets.
  • You can also use any mixture of these, or add perlite to the mix, to create the ideal grow medium for your plants.

As an added bonus, coco coir is good for the environment because it’s reusable and durable. It also protects your plants and keeps them healthy by minimizing pathogens and warding off pests. Plus, all the room it leaves for your plants’ root systems will lead to quick, large yields. Overall, it’s a really good option to use when you’re growing plants in grow pots.

Recommended Coco Coir:

Soil

Using soil grow medium in a container garden.You can’t go wrong with filling your grow pots with good soil. One major benefit to planting your plants in soil is that it often already comes with nutrients in it. These nutrients will help your plants grow healthily — and you could potentially save money that would’ve gone to buying nutrients separately.

Soil also has great water retention, which means you wouldn’t need to water your plants as much as if you were growing them in other mediums. You should keep in mind, however, that this can lead to overwatering or swamped plants, so you’ll have to be mindful of that.

Coco coir typically requires more attention and tending to. As such, soil is a good option if you have less time to keep up with your garden.

Recommended Soil:

Which Type of Grow Pot to Choose

Strawberry plant growing in a plastic grow pot container.

PVC pots, PE pots, plastic pots, and air prune pots all have their own unique benefits when it comes to both outdoor and indoor gardening.

If you know you’re going to be transferring your plants to the ground or another pot frequently, you should go with PVC pots or PE pots. They’re the best grow pots for this, and they’ll also help your plants grow fairly quickly.

Plastic pots are a great, simple way to go if you only need temporary storage for your plants. Keep in mind, though, that if you use plastic pots, they’ll need to be switched out after 6 months. As such, these types of pots aren’t the best option for long-term growing.

Air prune pots are the best choice in terms of airflow, and they’ll help your plants grow super quickly. They’re also reusable, which is always a plus since you won’t have to worry about spending a lot of money on buying new pots frequently. Not to mention, reusing pots is good for the environment.

Plant Pots and Containers Are Great for Growing

Potted tomato plants in a container garden.

Using grow pots for your plants is a great alternative to growing them directly in the ground — this is especially true if you don’t have a lot of garden space. In some cases, container gardening is an even better option because you don’t know what pests or bacteria could be living in the soil outside. Plus, you’ll have more control over how your plants grow.

There are a lot of different grow pots out there that can fit whatever purpose you need them for, as well as address any problems in your grow that you may need to solve. From increased airflow to quick and plentiful growth, there are grow pots out there that will give you exactly what you and your plants need.

Go ahead and give this method a try to see how you and your plants benefit from it. You might be surprised to find some of the best results yet!

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