Many times, growers new to the industry will turn to containers that are readily available and often utilized for other horticulture markets. But while the selection might seem endless, not all available containers are suited for the unique growing conditions of cannabis. We’ve created a list of the most popular container choices and the pros and cons of each.Learn More
Growers know that cannabis root systems are fragile and finicky. Aeration is an important part of maintaining a healthy root structure as it allows for better water penetration, while introducing more oxygen into the soil. In short, the more drainage your container has the more aeration can take place.
Gravity naturally causes water to quickly make its way through a plants soil towards the bottom of the container. While bottom drainage does prevent root rot from overwatering, it also limits vital moisture and nutrients from being absorbed by the plant safely. Side wall drainage helps reduce the loss of water, nutrition and fertilization as the process for leaching out of the container is much slower due to the drainage location.
The main advantage of growing cannabis in square containers are plants can be grouped tightly together like building blocks – saving space and ultimately increasing yield. This tight grouping will also help to maximize the surface area of the plant for light penetration. However, square containers have limits as they are often only manufactured in small sizes not conducive to mature cannabis plants.
Round containers on the other hand come in a variety of sizes (some up to 65 gallons) which is ideal for growers transplanting cannabis plants which haven’t yet reached maturity. Round cannabis containers, which often have greater overall capacities, allow the root system to spread out naturally to eliminate root binding.
Many growers will utilize square containers during the propagation phase and transplant into larger round containers as their finish pot.
Injection containers are designed for strength and longevity over their blow mold and thermoform counterparts. This reality enables them to be reused multiple times, as well as the ability to withstand the environmental elements of growing outdoors for extended periods of time. They’re an ideal choice for growers who cultivate plants bound in resin containers (for some duration) exclusively outdoors such as ornamental trees and shrubs, and yes, outdoor cannabis growers. Injection containers are manufactured with thick walls and heavy bottom construction, featuring large drain holes ideal for outdoor irrigation. Injection containers are automation friendly as labor shortages continue to force growers to implement automated equipment to offset labor costs.
Bottom line – if you’re looking for a super strong, super durable resin container you can use outdoors again and again, injection containers are your choice.
Blow Mold Containers
Blow mold containers are the next step down in terms of strength and durability from injection containers. Many feature ribbed sides for additional strength, sturdy corners to avoid cracking and a wide base for additional stability when relocating plants in your operation. They feature side and bottom drainage – both high or low depending on your irrigation practices. While blow mold containers can be reused multiple times, their side rib construction makes them unsuitable for automated equipment due to denesting issues. However, if you’re looking for a large capacity, blow mold containers often come in sizes up to 65 gallons.
Bottom line – if you need middle-of-the-road strength in a larger size and aren’t concerned about automation limitations, blow mold containers are your choice.
Thermoform containers are an economical solution for those interested in many of the features and benefits of traditional injection containers. While they provide some strength and durability – including being automation compatible – they’re not manufactured for repeated use in growing operations. Thermoform containers are ideal for limited growing applications and brief cultivations where the plant is grown quickly in a temporary container and eventually extracted and transplanted directly into the ground or a larger container. Thermoform containers are a solid choice for propagation.
Bottom line – an economical and automation compatible growing solution often used as a starter pot.
Rims are an important characteristic for automated handling equipment such as fork systems, which enable a large group of containers to be picked up – all at the same time – then transported to another location quickly and easily by just one worker (which helps when combatting labor shortages).
If cannabis growers are considering implementing automated handling equipment, they will want to make sure the container rim protrudes far enough from the container body so it can securely rest on the tines. Many fork systems typically recommend rims that protrude 3/8 to a 1/2 inch.
For growers using larger round containers, handles provide incredible convenience, especially for those who rotate their crops for more even light and irrigation distribution. While not necessary on smaller containers which are easily retrieved with one hand, it can be challenging on larger containers if handles are not present.
Fiber containers provide an optimal solution for propagation, as the entire pot can be planted safely into a larger container without disturbing the root system. The composition of the container will decompose over time, allowing the roots to naturally expand in their new environment without any negative effects to the roots. Saves time on transplanting, is durable for hardy growing cycles and is available in numerous sizes and styles.Learn More
Rapid Stack™ is the next generation of plant technology, allowing for quick and easy transplanting with no root shock to the plant. When the plant outgrows its container, the bottom is easily and cleanly removed, exposing the roots. Then, simply stack it on top of another container (or in the ground). The roots will naturally grow down and out to fill the new space provided. With no stress put on the root system!