What Size Smart Pot Should I Use?
Smart Pots come in a wide choice of sizes, from 1 gallon to a 1,000 gallon. With container gardening, you can grow any plant in any size container. But that does not mean you should. Having one parsley plant in a 100-gallon pot, or growing watermelons in a 1-gallon container, are obviously not optimal uses of the Smart Pot. Please consider the following when trying to decide what size Smart Pot to use:
1. Portability – If you are going to move the Smart Pot around, get a size you can handle. A 10-gallon pot, for example, might weigh twenty pounds or more, depending on the soil mix and water content. Can you move this weight without hurting your back?
2. Do you need the Smart Pot to fit? The Smart Pot has straight sides and no taper. If you are placing the Smart Pot inside another pot, make sure the bottom diameter will fit, and you can lift it out.
3. What is the genetic potential of the plant? A single Impatiens would not fill up a one-gallon Smart Pot. For this type of plant, put a lot of them in our smallest containers. A Bur Oak, on the other hand, is genetically capable of outgrowing even the largest container. Put one in a small container, and plan on moving it as it grows. A giant Pumpkin will fill a large Smart Pot in one season. Do not put it in a one-gallon container and expect stellar growth.
4. Do you want the plant to reach its’ genetic potential? Do you want the plant to stunt in growth? Leaving a plant that could grow very large in too small a Smart Pot for too long will cause the plant to bonsai.
Consider your growing style:
5. What type of mix will you use?
6. What type of fertilizers will you use?
7. What type of watering system do you have?
8. What type of lighting system, if any, do you use?
The answers for questions 5 through 8 are all related. A sophisticated hydroponic grower, using the right mix with an ebb and flow watering system, with specialized fertilizers and lighting, will grow a larger plant in a smaller container than will a backyard duffer who rarely fertilizes or irrigates.
9. If you currently container grow, we recommend starting with the same gallon size container you ordinarily use. With proper care, the Smart Pot grown plant should grow a little bigger and fuller when compared to the same plant grown in a hard plastic pot.
10. If you are using the Smart Pot to container grow a plant species that you have not previously container grown – and we hope you will container grow something unusual – start by using a size that will give the plant’s root structure room to develop. Then observe the growth of the plant and take notes. Next time you may want a slightly smaller or larger Smart Pot.
11. Try something fun! The Smart Pot fabric aeration container will allow you to container grow plants that are not usually grown in containers. Container grow something that you can not find at the grocery store!
Tying it all together…
So what do we recommend? Here is a list of sizes we recommend using for various vegetables. These are recommendations only. If you have the space and want to go BIG, we encourage you to choose a larger size Smart Pot than what’s listed. If you have a smaller space or don’t want a large plant, then go down a size or two to find your ideal Smart Pot.
7 Gallon Smart Pot – Garlic, Leeks, Shallots, Lettuce, Spinach, Arugula, Chard, Endive, Escarole, Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Sage, Beans, Bok Choy, Kale, Peas, Parsnips, Small Annuals
10 Gallon Smart Pot – Peppers, Artichoke, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Strawberries, Onions, Beets, Turnips, Carrots, Radish, Patio Cucumbers, Patio Tomatoes, Larger Annuals
15 Gallon Smart Pot – Cucumbers, Potatoes, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Patty Pan, Crooked Neck, Eggplant, Tomatillos
20 Gallon Smart Pot – Tomatoes, Musk Melons, Water Melons, Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash, Acorn, Butternut, Hubbard