Unless you are growing directly in the ground or are using a hydroponic setup, you will need to select suitable containers.

The best approach is to keep small plants in small containers since they are easier to manage that way. As the plant gets older and larger, you will want to transplant them into larger containers. See the chapter on transplanting for more information on how and when to transplant.

What makes a good container?

There are lots of options out there for growing plants in, so let's look at the universal requirements for a suitable container:

  • Must drain excess water well, since cannabis plants don't like to sit in water.
  • Transplanting should be easy.
  • Should be inexpensive or durable.
Trade pots are readily available and make great starter pots

What kinds of containers are there?

Trade Pots & Solo Cups

Trade pots are the kinds of containers that plants are in when purchased from commercial nurseries. Typically black or dark green hard plastic, these basic round or square pots come in a variety of sizes from 2.5 ounces (0.07 Liters) to 20 gallons (~76 Liters).

Solo cups are a brand of plastic cup that happens to work very well during the seedling phase. They are a hard plastic cup that comes in a variety of sizes from 3 ounces (0.08 liters) to 16 ounces (~ .5 liters). Drainage holes aren't typical features on drinking cups, so you'll need to add those yourself.

Pros - These pots drain water well, are readily available online or at local stores, relatively inexpensive and durable enough to be reused multiple times
Cons - These pots are not the easiest to transplant out of and do not prevent overgrown plants from becoming root-bound.

Plastic drinking cups make great for seedlings if you cut drainage holes in the bottom

Plastic Grow Bags

Plastic grow bags are exactly what they sound like: plastic bags made for growing. They come in a variety of sizes, from 1 quart (~1 liter) up to 5 gallons. They are made from soft plastic in black or white (to help with reflection. They have excellent drainage, but the best part is that you can quickly cut them off the plant to simplify transplanting.

Pros - These bags drain water well, are easy to transplant out of, are relatively inexpensive and durable enough to be reused multiple times
Cons - These bags are generally only available online and do not prevent overgrown plants from becoming root-bound. Just like anyone who takes the garbage out can tell you: as plants grow heavy, you will need to be careful about picking the bag up or it will rip.

Plastic grow bags are a great option for plants of all sizes

Fabric Grow Pots

Cloth or fabric grow bags, also known as Smart Pots, are precisely what they sound like: cloth bags made for growing. They come in a variety of sizes, from 1 quart (~1 liter) up to 50+ gallons. They are made from soft fabric that is easily air and water permeable. They have excellent drainage, but the best part is that even overgrown plants won’t become rootbound due to 'air-shearing'. Air shearing is the process where roots shear off when they reach the air spaces at the edges of the bag, preventing them from becoming bound as they search for new soil.

Pros - These bags drain water very well and are durable enough to be reused multiple times. These are becoming common enough that you can even find them in local hardware stores now.
Cons - These bags are not as easy to transplant out of as plastic bags.

Fabric Shopping Bags

Working on the same principles as cloth grow bags, many cloth shopping bags can be repurposed as grow bags!

Pros - These bags drain water very well, are easy to transplant out of and are durable enough to be reused multiple times. These bags are very easy to find - the chances are that you already have some laying around.
Cons - These bags are not as easy to transplant out of as plastic bags.

These small autos will live their whole life as in common house plant containers.

Stuff You Already Have

Along with the idea that fabric shopping bags make a great option for growing cannabis, there are lots of other options for items you may already have and want to repurpose. A clean 5 gallon paint bucket with drainage holes cut in the bottom can make a perfect final container for a medium sized plant. Have some old household plant containers you want to reuse? Perfect, as long as they drain the water away from the plant, you should be fine.