So, you’ve done the research and now you’re ready to try growing with an autoflower strain. It’s an exciting journey to take on! Or, maybe you’re not familiar with autoflower strains just yet and want to learn more.
We have a few other helpful guides you might read in addition to this one to get you on the right track. Today, though, we want to get into the specifics of growing an autoflower cannabis plant. In this guide, we want to dive into autoflower pot size and the effect that size has on yield.
The basics on pot size
Before diving in-depth on how to choose which pot to plant your germinated seed, there are some basics to consider. Firstly, all pots come in various styles, sizes, shapes, and materials. Deciding on which pot to choose from should be based on your desired height and the restrictions of your growing space if any.
Likewise, it doesn’t matter the pot size or type if you aren’t using the right soil. Be sure to browse through our blog on the best soil for autoflowers so that you have that knowledge, too.
When it comes to regular cannabis strains it’s typically easier to determine a pot size. With regular marijuana, there are simple guidelines to follow. Depending on the plant's life span, you can gauge how large it will grow.
Each strain is different, so be sure to research your specific strain and its typical range. For example, if your plant's growth cycle consists of 5 months in total, you will want to figure in one gallon per foot of growth. So for a 5-month plant, a 5-gallon (18.5-liter) pot should suffice.
However, autoflowering strains are a bit trickier to navigate. Autoflowers require a bit more forethought, such as:
- growth time
- life expectancy, as well as
- how big you aspire them to be
Unlike regular cannabis plants, growers with a limited grow space can still get the most from autoflowers.
Differences in Regulars Versus Autoflowers
When it comes to regular plants, you’re confined to their minimum and maximum capabilities. With autoflowers, you have the power to choose just how small or big you want it to grow. Due to their fast growth cycles though, this is when choosing a pot becomes more difficult.
A typical autoflower plant can grow anywhere from 17 to 50cm (6.5 - 20in). Pot size affects the height of any plant; the smaller the pot, the smaller the plant.
Take care to consider this, because some growers have reported growing out of something as small as a Dixie cup. Issues that can occur with this are slow growth rates and not much yield. This is because the plant becomes root bound too fast, causing stress to the plant.
Large plants vs Small plants
We’ve covered how important choosing the right pot is, and how much that choice can affect the growth of your plant. Even though autoflowering strains are known for their compact and discrete sizes, some grow substantially larger than others. Now it's time to decide on how large or small, and the number of plants you’re looking to grow.
There are growers who have chosen autoflowers because their plant count is low or their dedicated grow space is minimal. If that sounds like you, here’s what we would like to recommend.
In cases like these, growing 1-4 large plants would be best. Again, the size of the pot will determine the height of your plant. So if you’re looking to grow a few large-scale plants, your pot size should be between 10-15L (2.65-4 gallons).
Too large of a pot means that the medium will not be exploited fully. Anything bigger than the suggested sizes will be wasteful and not cost-effective.
On the other hand, you might find yourself with height restrictions but an abundance of floor space. Growing around 6 -10 smaller plants may be the way to go, and here’s why it could be beneficial to you.
Growing an autoflowering strain closely together with numerous plants can provide a grower with exceptional returns. This process is known as the Sea of Green setup and maximizes yield from homogenous strains.
With that being said, the Sea of Green technique is not an absolute necessity when growing multiple smaller plants. If you’re looking to grow various strains that are just smaller in size that’s totally reasonable. Pots that range from 6.5-8.5L (1.72-2.25 gallons) are acceptable for either situation.
Best pots for Autoflowers
Plastic pots with draining holes are among the more common choices for growers. And of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with going for tried and true tactics. Over time, though, there have been some improvements made by certain manufacturers that could potentially enhance your plant’s health.
The pots we’re about to mention have refined their overall use by improving their aeration and drainage. While the choice is entirely up to you, we highly recommend at least looking into these types of pots.
- Terracotta Pots
Terracotta pots are a more traditional option, and like in some cases, you just can’t beat tradition. What makes these pots a more desirable choice in comparison to basic plastic potting, is the science behind them.
Terracotta pots are absorbent. These pots soak up and reserve additional moisture allowing them to keep your plant cool and administer nutrients slowly. These methods have been proven to nurture healthy cannabis growth.
- Fabric Pots
While fabric containers are generally more expensive, the payout is immense! These types of pots are considered to be some of the best available on the market. And for eco-friendly growers, these are a great option in comparison to their plastic counterparts.
What sets these guys apart is that their design allows the roots of your plant room to breathe. This, in turn, increases overall growth and produces higher yields. Not only that, but because of the extra room, the plant is likely to grow secondary roots to absorb even more nutrients.
- Air Pots
Much like fabric pots, air pots have a lot of the same benefits to offer. One of the biggest differences, though, is that they’re made from plastic and consist of numerous perforations that cover the surface. However, they still have way more to offer than traditional plastic pots.
Their structure creates the same effect that comes with using a fabric pot. The perforations provide circulation and oxygen to the plant from all angles under the soil. This supplies the roots with the advantage of automatic pruning from the constant airflow. Thus, giving us healthier, more fruitful harvests.
What features make a pot ideal?
Alright, so you’ve decided on your pot and how many plants you’re going to grow. But what features should you focus on to ensure your plant and/or plants have the most optimal setup? Let’s take a look at some of the most pressing features you should pay attention to.
Space for superlative development
Of course, you want to increase your plants' potential yields, so this fact is definitely one to keep in mind. As we’ve learned today, the size of your pot is crucial to your autoflowers’ overall potential.
Without the proper sized pot, you are limiting your cannabis’ ability to flourish into a healthy and successful plant. Remember, you want to give your roots room to grow. The deeper they develop, the larger your end result.
Keeping the pot clean
Whether new or reused, a pot should always be cleaned before potting. With reused pots, there is potential to transfer disease-carrying pathogens to your new plant. This, in turn, can infect your plant and possibly cause premature death.
Since autoflowers grow at rapid rates, basic errors such as an unclean pot can result in disaster. And even if you don't lose the plant altogether, the likelihood of stunted growth and decreased yields is extremely likely.
One of the top priorities to maintain with your pot is drainage. Drainage plays a vital role in maintaining the soil’s quality -- and quality soil means efficient and healthy growth.
We’ve discussed the types of pots and how their structure provides airflow and helps with overall root production. Well, drainage plays a key role here, too. Having proper drainage allows the soil or growing medium to dry properly, which assists in the plant’s growth rate.
If you don’t supply your plant with the ability to drain correctly, it can become waterlogged. This diminishes the amount of oxygen taken in by the roots leading to stunted growth. A good way to tell if your pot has poor drainage is signs like brown or wilting leaves.
As you can see, there are many factors that go into choosing the right pot. If you’re not careful to pick the proper one for your setup, it can affect your yields. However, at the end of the day, there’s no such thing as a perfect pot.
Whether you’re a beginner and or you’re experienced, there’s always something to learn in this growing industry. With this guide by your side, we encourage you to take advantage of the knowledge you’ve learned today. Now, you can use it to effectively get the most out of your setup!