By Luke Sumpter

The difference between Smart Pots and Air-Pots for cannabis cultivation.

Cannabis growers are always looking for ways to improve their harvests. This curiosity and drive has led to countless innovations, from yield-boosting LEDs to streamlined nutrient formulas that bulk up flowers. Cultivators have also turned their attention to specialised growing containers, such as Smart Pots and Air-Pots, as a means of enhancing the growing process.

Sure, normal growing containers do the trick, but Air-Pots and Smart Pots offer so many benefits that it just makes sense to use them. These genius designs boost root system oxygenation, support optimal drainage, and even help prevent root diseases and decay.

Explore the differences between these two types of containers below, and find out why you should use them no matter how or where you choose to grow.

What Are Smart Pots and Air-Pots?

Growers cultivate good weed in normal plastic pots all the time. But growing top-tier cannabis involves tweaking and adjusting as many variables as possible—and growing containers are not exempt from this.

Smart Pots and Air-Pots differ from standard plant pots in several important ways. For a start, they feature many small holes that allow for optimal air exchange. In contrast, normal pots are typically made from continuous sheets of plastic with drainage holes only on the bottom.

These two types of containers also improve the conditions of the growing medium, making it harder to overwater plants and keeping the soil sufficiently drained without drying it out completely. Find out what makes Smart Pots and Air-Pots unique below.

  • Smart Pots

Smart Pots—also known by their generic name, fabric pots—solve a lot of the issues that normal growing containers pose. These vessels are constructed from a firm and sturdy fabric that securely houses the growing medium. The material possesses thousands of tiny pores that allow air to flow through and excess water to drain out.

Smart Pots come in a variety of different sizes and are suitable for small-scale home operations and large commercial grows alike.

Smart Pots

  • Air-Pots

Air-Pot is the brand name behind a series of strong plastic containers featuring hundreds of larger holes lining the sides and base. These containers expose much more of the root system to the open air, giving roots access to huge quantities of oxygen (which plays a vital role in plant physiology and photosynthesis).

Exposure to the open air also causes the roots to stop growing, a phenomenon known as air pruning. This helps to keep the root system tidy, organised, and unconstricted, which, in turn, supports root health while also boosting the population of beneficial aerobic microbes in the soil.


Benefits of Smart Pots for Growing Cannabis

Smart Pots come with a long list of benefits that make them a better choice than standard plastic, metal, and ceramic containers. Thousands of growers have made the switch to these innovative containers, and most of them never go back.

Easier to Manage Heat Stress

Cannabis plants thrive in temperatures between 20–30°C. Excessive heat can inflict stress upon plants, causing damage to their leaves, dehydrating them, and disrupting nutrient transportation. Typical plant containers—especially those made of black plastic—trap heat during the day and slowly release it at night. In particularly hot climates, containers can get seriously hot!

Smart Pots—living up to their name—don’t store heat in the same way. The many tiny holes in the fabric facilitate airflow and keep the growing medium ventilated all day long. This keeps both the roots and the microbial community happy and healthy.


You can reuse Smart Pots again and again. Unlike plastic and ceramic pots, they are super hard to break. They don’t chip, snap, or shatter, and you can fold them down and store them away during the off-season. When spring comes around, simply dust them off and they’ll be ready for action.

Suitable for Hydroponics

Smart Pots don’t just allow air to flow through; they accommodate water, too! You can place Smart Pots filled with soil into ebb and flow systems to automate your watering schedule. You can also fill them with a soilless growing medium like coco coir and use them in large hydroponic setups. The mesh fabric will allow the nutrient solution to flow through while keeping the growing medium secure and preventing potential clogs.

Suitable for Hydroponics

Large Sizes for Outdoor Cannabis Growing

Fabric pots are available in a wide variety of sizes. You’ll find small versions perfect for clandestine indoor cultivation and massive versions suitable for growing tree-sized sativas outdoors.

The largest versions of Smart Pots are popular among organic growers, effectively become small ecosystems. You’ll even have room to sow companion species next to your cannabis plants. Add a cover crop or mulch layer to increase moisture retention and root system health.

Improved Drainage

Root rot wreaks havoc on cannabis grows, ending the efforts of many beginner gardeners and remaining the Achilles heel of even advanced growers. Plastic and ceramic pots are a breeding ground for the fungal species that give rise to this disease. Even slight overwatering can cause pooling and the encouragement of detrimental anaerobic microbes.

The porous fabric used to construct fabric pots allows water to pass through effortlessly, preventing pooling at the bottom and allowing excess water to drain out of the sides. The growing medium remains adequately moist and the risk of root rot and nutrient lockout from overwatering is mitigated.

Benefits of Air-Pots for Growing Cannabis

Although similar to Smart Pots in many ways, Air-Pots offer their own distinct advantages when it comes to cultivating weed. Air-Pots are crafted from a different material altogether and possess much larger holes, exposing larger portions of the growing medium directly to the air.

Improved Oxygenation

Although cannabis roots spend their lives underground, they need oxygen to survive. Most of the time, small gaps in the soil facilitate access to air. However, compacted and flooded soil prevents them from uptaking this vital element.

Air-Pots provide the growing medium with a consistent supply of oxygen from every direction, immersing the roots in an oxygen-rich environment that allows them to breathe easily throughout the entire growing cycle.

Air Pruning

Exposure to oxygen does more than keep roots breathing; it prevents them from growing out of control. Have you ever transplanted one of your babies from a plastic or ceramic container? After budging the growing medium loose, you most likely laid eyes upon a dense and messy mass of roots. Although most plants recover well, many become rootbound when grown in conventional containers, causing the roots to become tangled and plant growth to stall.

Air-Pots prevent this issue by air pruning the roots. When roots become exposed to the air, the tips essentially become “cauterised”. Instead of growing into a curled mess, the entire root system forms an extremely neat and ordered structure—increasing air and nutrient uptake.

Benefits of Air-Pots for Growing Cannabis
Benefits of Air-Pots for Growing Cannabis

Sturdy Pot Design

Air-Pots are crafted from strong and sturdy material. If you drop them, they’ll bounce. Unlike cheap plastic containers, Air-Pots are more of a premium product. You’ll pay slightly more, but they’re built to last and will see you through many fruitful growing seasons.

Greater Flexibility

The holes in Air-Pots make them more flexible than standard plastic containers. This, in turn, makes them more suitable for storage, transport, and large growing operations where one needs to move gear quickly and doesn’t necessarily have time to be gentle.

Should You Use a Smart Pot or Air-Pot to Grow Cannabis?

Absolutely. We recommend trialling both Smart Pots and Air-Pots to see which one suits your growing style and setup the best. Of course, growers get great results when using standard containers all the time. But both Air-Pots and Smart Pots can help you avoid potential pitfalls and keep your root systems in great health. And, you don’t necessarily need to buy from the original Air-Pot and Smart Pot brands; plenty of other varieties with different names exist that fulfil the same purpose. Good luck, and happy growing!

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