I am new to cannabis cultivation and have started growing outdoors. I regularly trim and prune my plants to help ensure energy and nutrients are going to places where I’ll anticipate getting the biggest bang for my buck. I currently have my plants in pots on my deck. I’m closing in on three feet for each and am wondering if I should be transplanting them into larger pots in order to have them continue growing through the vegetative stage.

By Lee G Lyzit | Last updated: January 25, 2022

young cannabis plant in soil

Thank you for your question. When growing cannabis in a container outdoors, it is important to determine the appropriate size container to ensure success. Assuming the container is filled with a well-aerated soil comprised of a variety of organic ingredients, the general consensus is the bigger the container, the better.

That being said, it is not always practical for a home cultivator to use the 50-, 100-, or 200-gallon containers used by commercial outdoor cannabis growers. Outdoor cannabis plants can grow very large and it can become difficult to grow them in a relatively small container. However, as long as the plant does not become root-bound, it is possible to maintain a healthy plant in a relatively small planting container.

If a cannabis plant is to live up to its full potential, healthy root development is a must. A healthy root system regulates water retention, nutrient absorption, and provides structural integrity to the plant. When a plant’s root structure becomes too large for its container, the plant can become root bound. A root-bound plant does not have sufficient access to water, oxygen, or nutrients. This translates to poor development above the ground.

(Read also: The Best Way to Trellis Outdoor Cannabis Plants)

Two tell-tale signs of a root-bound plant are when the container dries out too quickly or seemingly repels water because the container is so packed with roots the water cannot soak into the medium. If the soil dries out very quickly or the plant requires watering on a daily basis, it means the plant needs more water than the container can hold. This is a good indicator that the plant needs a larger container.

A top-heavy plant or one that easily tips over may be other signs that the plant has outgrown its container. More severe signs of a root-bound plant include nutrient burn without excess nutrients, smaller leaves/buds or stunted growth, wilting, or just looking sick. If any root-bound symptoms are noticed, the cannabis plants should be immediately transplanted into larger planting containers.

When transplanting a root-bound plant to a larger container, it may be helpful to loosen the root mass a little before placing the plant in the larger container. This can be done carefully with your fingers by gently massaging the compacted roots in order to break them apart slightly. After being transplanted, a once root-bound plant can quickly recover and continue to develop into a healthy cannabis plant. I hope this answers your question.

Keep on Growing,
Lee G. Lyzit

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Container Gardening Cannabis Seedling Care

Written by Lee G Lyzit | Grower, Writer

Profile Picture of Lee G Lyzit

Lee G. Lyzit has been involved in the cannabis industry for nearly 20 years. His passion for natural healing motivates him to learn as much as he can about the miraculous cannabis plant. Lee’s knowledge of cannabis gardening stems from his own extensive cultivation experiences and his past work as a hydroponic shop owner and manager.

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