An increasing number of US states are implementing medical marijuana (MMJ) programs. Many of them allow MMJ cardholders to grow their own plants at home, particularly if you live far away from the nearest dispensary.
Growing at home is a great option; it can be cheap if you do it right, after the initial set-up costs, of course. Furthermore, you can choose which strain you want to grow and cultivate it to your tastes.
However, not everybody is blessed with a big garden or outdoor space. Plus, growing cannabis outside can attract unwanted attention when the plants omit the familiar smell of marijuana. As a result, many growers prefer to grow their cannabis inside.
Container gardening is the perfect solution for cultivators with limited space. In this guide, we go over the ins and outs of container gardening and how it works for cannabis plants. Read on to learn all about this method.
What Is Container Gardening?
As you may be able to guess, container gardening is a method of cultivating plants that involves a container. You simply fill the container with soil or your preferred growing medium, pot the seeds into the soil, and care for the plant until it flourishes.
It’s a simple method for indoor growers, as it doesn’t necessarily require you to set up an entire grow room. You will, however, need ample space to keep the containers and set up some lights. Plus, it’s vital to control the temperature when growing marijuana plants.
Make sure you check out our other growing guides here at WayofLeaf. Cultivating marijuana successfully can be complicated, but it’s possible if you have the required know-how. We have plenty of articles on lighting, nutrients, and more. Plus, we have guides for growing specific strains.
Is Container Gardening Appropriate for Cannabis Plants?
Yes! You can quite easily run a small growing operation using container gardening. There are lots of pots in many different sizes, allowing you to decide precisely how many plants you want to grow.
As a wild plant, many cannabis strains thrive best outside. However, this isn’t a practical option for many growers. Advanced growers can produce even higher yields than outdoor crops using indoor gardening methods, but this often requires an expensive set-up with intricate temperature and lighting control.
Novice growers can use container growing, too, but don’t expect your first crop to produce a record-breaking yield. You can produce a decent yield with essential methods and a standard set-up, especially if you only plan on growing a couple of plants.
How to Container Garden Cannabis Successfully
Container gardening isn’t an enormous difficulty. You can grow successfully with just a couple of tips and tricks. Below, we cover the essential things you need to know and provide a step-by-step guide to beginning your cannabis container garden.
Choose the Right Pot and Growing Medium
There are several types of plant pots, and selecting the right one is vital. Your choice will depend on the amount of space you have available and your budget, so make sure you take these things into consideration.
You also need to consider the pot shape. Taller, leaner plants are better suited to taller, narrower pots; think of a sativa. Indica species, meanwhile, can do with sturdier and broader containers.
Here are some of the most common types of container:
- Terracotta Containers: When you think of a traditional plant pot, you probably think of a terracotta, or ceramic, container. These provide excellent temperature control but may struggle with airflow and drainage. They’re also super heavy and can only contain one plant.
- Plastic Containers: A plastic plant pot is a much cheaper option. The holes in the bottom are perfect for drainage. However, you need to be wary of temperature fluctuations.
- Fabric Containers: A big fabric sack or bag works well as a container. These are huge containers that can contain multiple plants, and they provide excellent airflow and drainage. However, you need to monitor the plants carefully to ensure they don’t dry out. Plus, the flimsy structure can be a cause for concern.
There are also other types, but these are the most common. Growers these days tend to opt for plastic or fabric containers. The fabric option is a little better for a larger growing operation, but plastic plant pots are cheap and easy to find.
As far as growing medium goes, many growers opt for soil. Both regular soil and composted soil work fine. Other growers decide to use a soilless medium like coco coir, but this tends to be more advanced. Most novices begin with soil unless you’re looking to start a hydroponics grow. It’s a good idea to fill the bottom of the container with gravel or stones to improve drainage, too.
By the way, if growing a single plant in a pot indoors, you’ll need a way to catch water drainage. Keep the container on a tray or plate to catch the run-off.
Learn How to Pot and Transplant Correctly
Transplanting the plant correctly is vital to your plant’s health. When using container gardening, you will need to transplant your plant more than once.
At the start of the cannabis plant’s life as a seed, you will need to germinate it. Following this process, you must carefully transplant the germinated seed(s) without breaking the fragile taproot. Place the seed carefully in the soil using a pair of tweezers. At this stage, you should be using a small plant pot – or even a solo cup!
As the plant grows, you need to transplant it into exceedingly large containers. When the leaves reach the edge of the pot, it’s time to transplant again.
Become Skilled in Indoor Growing
Indoor growth requires some special know-how. You must know how to control the lighting and temperature so that your cannabis plant thrives, as well as delivering the right nutrients. We have tons of guides providing information on this, so check them out to better understand indoor growing.
At this point, you need to consider your budget again. Those with cash to burn might want to invest in a whole lighting set-up. Otherwise, you can make do with a small room or greenhouse, but you have to be willing to accept a smaller yield.
The Step-by-Step Guide to Container Growing Cannabis
- Germinate your cannabis seeds. Many cultivators prefer the paper towel method. When the taproot sprouts, it’s time to transplant.
- Take a small container – up to one gallon – and add some stones or gravel to the bottom. Fill the rest with your growing medium, then place the container on top of a tray or plate to catch water run-off.
- Make a small dent in the soil and transplant the seed with tweezers, without damaging the taproot.
- Cover the seed with soil and add some water. At first, add a tiny bit of water in a circle around the seed, not directly on top of it. Water until you see some run-off into the tray,
- Check the soil regularly. Water the plant when the top inch (up to your first knuckle) is dry to the touch.
- When the plant sprouts and develops a healthy root system, you can water the entire container rather than the circles around the plant. Keep watering until there is run-off out of the container.
- When the leaves sprout outward toward the edge of the container, it’s time to transplant. Be careful not to damage the root system as you move the plant to a larger container.
- Water the plant whenever the soil is dry up to one inch from the top. Trim your cannabis and engage in regular growing practices until your bud begins to flower, and it’s time to harvest.
Container gardening isn’t rocket science, so even novice growers can get started with this technique. As long as you have the right equipment, you can nurture a cannabis plant using indoor growing methods.
Some Final Top Tips on Container Gardening Cannabis
Here are some pro tips we have acquired from expert growers:
- Sterilize Your Pots before Re-Use: Before you start over again with a new crop, always clean your containers my rinsing and draining them. A bleach solution with a 1:9 ratio of bleach to water can get the job done.
- Clean Your Gardening Tools: The same applies to your gardening tools. The trichomes on marijuana can get sticky and jam up your shears, so make sure you’re cleaning all your tools regularly.
- Don’t Re-Use Potting Soil: Although you might think you’re recycling by using your potting mix again, it’s not a good idea. First of all, all the nutrients from the soil are gone because they have been used. Secondly, plant pathogens can lurk in the soil, damaging your new crop.
- Remember that Your Pots Are Portable! One of the beauties of container gardening is that you can move the pots around; they don’t have to stay on the windowsill forever. If parts of your house get different temperatures and drafts than others, consider moving the containers around once in a while to increase your final yield.
Final Thoughts on Cannabis Container Gardening
So, there you have it. Container gardening is a good method of growing cannabis for cultivators lacking space and those who are completely new to the activity. It isn’t remarkably challenging to run a container garden, but you know what they say: Practice makes perfect!
The more experience you have, the more successful your garden will be. It might take a bit of trial and error to hit the nail on the head, but a few mistakes here and there will eventually lead you to a great harvest.
Make sure you check out our other cannabis growing guides to learn how to care for your strain, and you’ll be cultivating high yields in no time.