Soil Container size?

Discussion in 'Indoor Growing' started by lampost, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. lampost

    lampost Registered+

    Hey y'all. I'm trying to maximize yield on an indoor soil grow and I was told to use 5-gallon pots rather than 3-gallon.

    I went to the hydro store and the lady pointed out the "5-gallon" pots. After looking at them I realized they weren't actually capable of holding 5 gallons so I asked her. She said the "5-gallon" term is just a trade name and it doesn't really mean 5 gallons. It looked to me like it held maybe 3 gallons when comparing it to a typical 5-gallon bucket.

    So, are these what people are using? Or do I need a true 5-gallon bucket type container? I'm doing probably a 3 week veg... just long enough to FIM once and recover then flower. Will these be adequate to maximize yield?
  2. mainegrown

    mainegrown Registered+

    short answer.. no

    long answer is if you want to veg for any length of time then you are gonna need every bit of dirt that you can get under your gurls..

    a plant can only get as big as the roots are aka the amount of soil they are in..
    hope that helps a lil bit..

    ~MG a.k.a. le Maine développé
  3. lampost

    lampost Registered+

    So, what size would you suggest transferring to?

    Would a true 5-gallon bucket size be too much? I'm still a bit confused. The containers I have are referred to as 5-gallon pots, but they don't appear to be as big as standard 5-gallon buckets I've seen. I might transfer twice...
  4. DreadedHermie

    DreadedHermie Registered+

    Yes, a gallon of milk won't fit in a "one-gallon" nursery pot. Doesn't make sense, I know...

    But a #5 pot's decent size for indoors. Too big for a 3-week-old plant, generally--the soil will get nasty before your plant can drink it up. When are you counting your "veg days" from? When you plant the seed? When the seedling first breaks ground?

    You could grow a 3' bushy plant easily in that container--taller than that, and getting light through the canopy starts getting hard when you're growing multiple plants. So it doesn't make sense to me to try to grow them taller. Folks with plant number limits might need to grow trees. But if you're flipping them at 3 weeks a 3 gallon container should do it.(?) Maybe that's too much for me to assume, cause I don't know what plants you're dealing with or which soil you're using. I could be wrong...:hippy: guys posted while I was typing...
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  5. Weezard

    Weezard Registered+

    Milage in coco will vary.:)

  6. mainegrown

    mainegrown Registered+

    good to see you DH.. i thought you were working or something..
    and i am finding that my plants are rootbound after flipping them at 10 days.. and they are in 3 gal bucket.. well one is and the others are all multiple per container so that is a bad baseline.. but 6 plants in a 35 gal tub ='s ~6 gal a plant.. and i think that is rootbound too!

    on the flipside.. the tallest girl i have is only in 2 gal and she is JUST getting bound up.. unfortunately i dont have any more big containers.. :(

    ~MG a.k.a. le Maine développé
  7. bigtopsfinn

    bigtopsfinn Registered+

    From my experience, you *might* be able to get away with 3 gallon buckets if (and this is quite hypothetical):
    1. Veg for 3 weeks and flower for 7-8
    2. Repot at least 4 times (letting the roots bunch up a little before transplanting, but not to the point of totally rootbound), until reaching the 3 gallon buckets sometime in early to mid flowering.

    Of course your growing conditions will have an effect also (i.e. plant genetics/lumens/temperatures/soil composition/fresh air/nutrients) Many things to consider. For me, I end in 15L pots, this is with about 4 weeks veg and 9 weeks flowering under a 400w hps, and not a 'high yielding' strain.

    You can always try with the 3 gallons and if they get too big, go get some 4-5 gallon jugs. Just make sure you have enough room for the larger pots in case you need them. Transplanting in flowering has not been a problem for me (nor anyone else as far as I know)

    Some more info here:


    Happy growing :jointsmile:
    • Like Like x 1
  8. DreadedHermie

    DreadedHermie Registered+

    That's exactly what I had pictured! Low light, low yielding strain, too--all the crosses I have to bear...:D

    Bigtopsfinn, where is your avatar pic from?:jointsmile: And, as always, your advice is spot on. :thumbsup:

    Mainegrown, you got rootbound in a #3 in 3 weeks--I'm jealous!
  9. mainegrown

    mainegrown Registered+

    naw its been ~ 6 weeks.. but it IS bound up tight.. i just watered and the lights are off now but in a couple days i will show a pic and its tight!
    but it has been in there 4 about 3 weeks from a 6 inch pot..
    ~MG a.k.a. le Maine développé
  10. bigtopsfinn

    bigtopsfinn Registered+

    Thanks DH, I don't know much compared to many people here, but try to comment where I can. I wish I could follow some of the things you talk about in your posts :confused:

    As for my avatar... It's a famous comical movie character here in Finland named Uuno Turhapuro played by actor/singer/comedian Vesa-Matti Loiri. This is a pic from one of his many movies as this character, the movie is "Uuno Turhapuro muuttaa maalle" (moves to the countryside). He becomes a farmer, although his wife ends up doing most of the work as usual.

    Apologies to lampost for the slight threadjack :D

    Just to get a little back on topic... another good reason to transplant several times is so the roots are exposed to fresh, ph balanced soil. When growing in a peat-based soil (acidic), the lime buffer (which makes the soil less acidic) will deplete in time, and will make your soil very acidic and may cause problems down the stretch. By continuously transplanting you have a much better chance of avoiding this problem.

    Also something to keep in mind is that the roots always want to grow outwards, so (correct me if I'm mistaken) let's say you transplant from a dixie cup straight into a 3 gallon. You will be rootbound much faster this way than if you transfer from the dixie cup into a 1/2 gallon, then a 2 gallon, then a 3 gallon. (I think this was said already, but maybe worded a little better :jointsmile:)
    • Like Like x 1
  11. frostedwonder

    frostedwonder Registered+


    I used #3 pots in my last couple of rounds and when the girls were chopped I could they would have been better in a larger container. I veg for about 4-8wks depending on my patience.I found 4.7 gallon pots that are square are good for my space, turning them though is a bit of a struggle.
  12. warlord98

    warlord98 Banned

    The square pails used for cat litter can work well. I think they are 4 gallon. Good for conserving space. Also I found you can do a search for square pail on the net and find manufacturers that have them in black and will ship to you. Or running an ad on craigslist under the wanted section will find the litter boxes. Every town has one of those wierd cat ladies.Hope I helped.
    Good growing:thumbsup:
  13. RoundEye

    RoundEye Registered+

    Lots of talk about "root bound". Even after reading Jorge's book numerous times, I have yet to see a picture of what root bound actually looks like.

    This is my my first grow in 5gallon buckets. I had been using 2gallon and was able to get 2.5oz dry per plant. When I take the plants down and discard the soil, the entire lump of soil is threaded with roots and takes a bit to break up the clumped together dirt. Is this what root bound is?
    • Like Like x 1
  14. lampost

    lampost Registered+

    I'm one of those with plant limits... I may end up vegging a bit longer to try to increase yield. These were rooted clones that I transplanted from a small starter pot to a pot that is about 6" tall, 6" across with FFOF soil (10% perlite added)... I'm guessing it's a 1 gal or maybe 2 gal. I was planning on vegging in this for about 3-4 weeks then transplanting to the 5 gal right when changing to 12/12... The 5 gal is only a little wider than my current pot and a lot deeper. I was told that would be adequate...

    But from reading on here it sounds like I want to do another transplant in between to a 3 gal? I was hoping to avoid this... I didn't want to buy more pots and I didn't want to transplant during flower... But do you think this will be imperative? I was going to add a little bit of dolomite lime in the 5 gal containers since they'd be in there for 60-70 days.... and I'll be feeding throughout flowering.
  15. mainegrown

    mainegrown Registered+

    i think that would be fine lampost..
    many people i know slam a clone/seedling into a 5 gal bucket and let her rip..
    its a weed remember?

    ~MG a.k.a. le Maine développé
  16. mainegrown

    mainegrown Registered+

    here is a pic of a rootbound plant..
    it is in veg btw and suspected male that it why it isnt in a bigger pot yet..

    ~MG a.k.a. le Maine développé

    Attached Files:

  17. redtails

    redtails Registered+

    I consider that ALMOST rootbound really, maybe when there's 1.5-2x the amount of roots from your pic down there is where my definition lies. Potato, potatoe (you know what I mean ;))...

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