July 18, 2017

Smart Pots Vs. Air Pots Vs. Spring Pots | Which is Better?

You have probably seen Spring Pots, Air Pots and Smart Pots in your local horticulture store. But did you ever wonder, what is the difference between these three options? And more importantly, which is the best option for growing cannabis? All three options provide extra oxygen to the roots, which is a great selling point because that can help extend cannabis growth rates. But producing cannabis in Spring Pots, Air Pots or Smart Pots is very different, and we will help you understand why. While these three pots have a lot in common, Spring Pots combine the benefits of both Air Pots and Smart Pots – making it our top choice for growing cannabis.

No one size fits all when growing cannabis. All containers have their weaknesses and strengths. So it’s important to understand the key differences when comparing them. One thing that is the same between these options is that cannabis plants grow quicker in these three types of pots (specifically in the vegetative period), because plant roots obtain plenty of oxygen.

In these pots, cannabis plants will not become “root-bound”, which is when roots cover the ends of the container and “choke” the plant. It is a very big problem for any plant to become root bound, but in these, that doesn’t happen since the plant will receive plenty of air, which will lead to the plant naturally “air pruning” itself, and forgoing the roots wrapping around the container edges.

Because the air comes in from all sides in all three pots, your plant will receive a lot of oxygen, and thereby avoid getting “wet feet” from overwatering. When water sits in your pot for too long, it can lead to root rot and other diseases that put your crop at risk. Because of such consistent air-filtration, all three pots will have to be irrigated more frequently because the soil will continually dry out from the exposure. Still your plants will ultimately be protected from over watering and the problems that arise from it.

Smart Pots for Growing Cannabis

The Most Common commercial fabric pot

A Smart Pot is a type of plant container that is made out of a floppy felt-like fabric. The shape is wider to provide more lift when compared to a regular container. They might have the most brand recognition because they have been around for some time and they are easily accessible.

Smart Pots don’t have a saucer, and they seep water through the sides. So when using Smart Pots indoors, unless you are using a tray, you will require extra large saucers or holders to fully capture runoff water. Because these dry out so easily, you can’t over-water your plants, but that means you will be watering them more often also.

You should get double the size as you would normally order. Because of the fast drying time it’s advised your final size should be at least a 5-gallon container to ensure you do not need to water your plants all the time.

The large bottom of a Smart Pot makes them suitable for growing huge plants, which explains why Smart Pot containers can be found in large sizes compared to regular plant containers. Giant indoor plants won’t topple over in a good Smart Pot. A large number of outdoor cannabis growers plant their cannabis in large (600+ gallon) Smart Pots since they support outdoor growing better than simply planting them into the ground.

One big downside of Smart Pots is that are incredibly floppy and have no handles, which makes transportation difficult. It is easy to spill soil or accidentally damage the root structure during moves, which can stress the plant. This lack of rigidity can also cause problems with folding over during watering or filling pots.

Air Pots for Growing Cannabis

A Plastic Solution For Air-Pruning

An Air Pot is a plastic container with holes around the sides. One of its best features is its rigid design, which makes it easier and less dangerous to move around than a Smart Pot. The size is taller and slimmer when compared to a regular growing container and that may make it possible to place more plants in a smaller space. The thin base of an Air Pot means plants have a tendency to be much less stable on the floor, particularly if they’re placed up high, and huge plants could simply tip over.

Air Pot containers assist in preventing plants from getting root-bound and always having to be transplanted. That is achieved by “air-pruning” roots on the sides, which usually prevents your roots from wrapping about the edges of your container and “choking” the plant.

Air Pots make it more challenging to overwater your cannabis, but that also means that you can need to water more often. Although water seeps out the holes when watering, Air Pots are high and slim so that you can make use of a normal size saucer for every container, if you aren’t using a tray. As Air Pots dry out quicker than regular cannabis growing containers, and even faster than Smart Pots or Spring Pots, you should get twice the size container as you would normally purchase, and it’s recommended your last containers size be at least 5-gallons (anything smaller in size can dry out in only a day!).

A big con with Air Pots is the mostly hard plastic design, which doesn’t allow as much oxygen to flow to the root zone. The main access to oxygen comes from large holes in the plastic shell, but these can allow soil to spill out the sides. When you are watering your plants in these pots, you may need to use low impact watering techniques like a drip line, to prevent a strong flow of water pushing soil out the sides of the pot. Losing soil or other media from your pot during the grow cycle can disrupt the rootzone and leave your plant without enough soil in the right places.

Spring Pots Fabric Pots

The Best Of Both Worlds

Spring Pots combine the best of both worlds. They look very similar to Smart Pots, although they come with colored stitching around the rims to help differentiate between the sizes. Their fabric design is similar to Smart Pots, in that it is made from fabric which allows maximum airflow to the root zone. But unlike Smart Pots, Spring Pots have added rigidity in their structure, and handles to make things even easier.

This rigidity means that they more like Air Pots when it comes to easily moving your pots around. But they are preferable to Air Pots in that they allow for more airflow, don’t try out as quickly, and don’t loose soil through holes in the structure.

The patent pending rigid shape reduces damage to plants and roots during transportation. The rigidity also prevents Spring Pots from folding over during filling or watering. So Spring Pots outcompetes Smart Pots as well, claiming it’s best features without any of its downsides.

Smart Pots vs Air Pots vs Smart Pots, Which Grows Cannabis Better?

The Most Common Question We Get

In the article you’ve learned about the many features of these three pots for cannabis growers. While there are pros and cons with each type of container, there is a clear winner when it comes to growing cannabis. Spring Pots allow for better transportation, easier watering, increased airflow, decreased risk and a much less stressful grow season. For these reasons and more, we vote for a Spring Pot grow, every time.

We have written this article as objectively as we possibly could. The Smart Pot, Air Pot, Spring Pot question is perhaps the most common question we get so we wanted to make a complete analysis of air pruning pots for cannabis growth. The truth is, Dan (Spring Pot founder) is a 2nd generation grow expert and has a degree in Plant and Molecular Cellular Biology from UC Berkeley. He specifically designed Spring Pots to out-perform all the other air pruning pots on the market while keeping the price as low as possible.

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