root pots vs smart pots

Can Air-Pots And Smart Pots Increase Cannabis Yield?

The pots you grow cannabis in can dramatically affect yield, flavour, and overall plant health. Smart and Air-Pots are two options for those who are looking for better ways to grow their potted cannabis. Here is a primer on what they are and the difference between them.


There is little these days that is not being fundamentally rethought with the aid of technology. That is absolutely true of the world of weed. Starting with cultivation.

Here is the great news. You don’t have to be a billion dollar Canadian pot unicorn to avail yourself of such techniques and equipment.

This starts with so-called “Smart” and “Air” Pots.


If you have observed odd-looking pots at your local grow shop, you probably know what Smart and Air-Pots are – even if you did not know what you were looking at. These are special grow containers that help provide extra oxygen to the roots of your growing cannababies.

This concept is also why hydro growing is so effective.

Extra oxygen is the key to healthier plants. And of course, healthier plants produce higher yields.

However, picking the right pot can hugely impact the bud you grow.


Your plant pot, along with the medium you root your plants in, is the most important piece of grow equipment you will invest in. Why? The amount and quality of the final product relies on a healthy plant, right from the start.

Yields can be drastically reduced by several different conditions created by the pots you plant in.

Stunted seedling growth is a big culprit. This happens when the moisture content is inconsistent in the grow medium (either too dry or too wet). Overheating your plants at any stage of growth can also slow maturation. This in turn slows growth and decreases yield. Plants whose roots are abnormally stunted by the grow environment cannot absorb enough nutrients. Root cramping or binding stresses the plant out. And stress leads to lower yields.


Both Smart Pots and Air-Pots are brand name products with several variations on a common theme. In general, here is how to understand the difference between the two.

A “Smart” Pot is made out of a stiff fabric. It is a squat, wide, cloth container. If location and space are an issue, remember that these make it possible to grow in a slightly “shorter” space. However, these pots are broad. You will require some space to set them up.

If growing indoors as opposed to a porch or greenhouse, you will need to consider drainage. In order to capture water run-off, you will need to place a large tray underneath your pots.

Air-Pots, in contrast, are plastic containers that are perforated or have odd-looking raised semicircles on the sides. The holes and “bubble spaces” of air pots allow plants to spread roots as they will. This pot is rigid, and tends to be taller and slimmer than a smart pot. They are also easier to move around.

On the negative side? Air-Pots can be a bit messy. Soil and water can also spill out through the holes. These pots also need to be put on a tray to capture run-off.

Bottom line? Both Smart and Air-Pots produce significantly healthier plants than traditional ceramic or plastic grow tubs.


With the RQS Fabric Pot, Royal Queen Seeds has made several improvements on the typical smart pot while keeping all of this soft-sided container’s best traits. This new pot continues to provide an increased amount of oxygen to the plant’s roots and prevents circular root development to enhance both health and growth.

The RQS Fabric Pot includes an innovative “Aqua Breathe” layer as an inner sleeve. This air-permeable material allows air to flow through freely, but restricts water flow. Because of this feature, the pot only drains through the bottom. This keeps the grow room cleaner, helps prevent moisture problems, and keeps the pot from slumping down. As added bonuses, salt stains won’t bleed through, and it’s almost impossible to overwater your plants.

Unlike most other smart pots, the RQS Fabric Pot features sturdy, durable handles that help you maintain your grip so you can move even the biggest cannabis plants with less effort. The fabric is made of environmentally friendly material that’s both washable and biodegradable. Each fabric pot features an attractive RQS logo embroidered on the side in gold. The 11-litre RQS Fabric Pot can be used in any grow environment from hydro to soil, indoors or outdoors.

The environmentally friendly RQS fabric pot, complete with proprietary “Aqua Breathe” geotextile layer, lets your plant’s roots breathe for optimal growth.

The environmentally friendly RQS fabric pot, complete with proprietary “Aqua Breathe” geotextile layer, lets your plant’s roots breathe for optimal growth.


There are several major benefits for shifting your grow to a Smart or Air-Pot.

  1. It is easier. The plants are more protected from your own failings as a cultivator. That starts with overwatering.
  2. There is no way roots can choke the plant if they meet a hard pot “wall.” Greater aeration is really good for the roots. The one downside on the maintenance front? Plants grown in such pots need to be watered more often.
  3. You get better results. And bigger yields.

The pots you grow in can dramatically affect your plant's health, yield, and bud flavour. Here is a primer on what these pots can do.

Smart Pots And Air Pots: What Are They And What’s The Difference?

Published : Feb 5, 2019
Categories : Cannabis cultivation

Air pruning the root zone of cannabis promotes outstanding health and rapid growth. Air Pots, Smart Pots, and Spring Pots do the job perfectly, but what are they exactly?


Smart Pots, Air Pots, Spring Pots, and the numerous variations on this theme all work in a similar manner. That is, they let air in through the side of the pot, which promotes air pruning of the apically dominant root tips. This in turn makes the root diverge in two different directions, and eventually, a dendritic pattern appears. When the perimeter roots are pruned by the air, their growth slows prior to the new shoots developing. In this time, the plant responds by increasing root growth everywhere else in the root ball.


Plants that have been grown in an air pruning pot not only have a complex outer root pattern, they also have larger and denser root balls in general. This equates to more surface area for gas exchange and water and nutrient uptake, while providing more stability for plants.


Another benefit of pots that encourage air pruning is that they prevent roots from winding around the sides of the pot and eventually strangling themselves in a knot. This can promote every cannabis farmer’s worst nightmare, Pythium or root rot. It can also subject the plants to unnecessary root stress from overheating. When roots hug the pot walls, they come into contact with a very hot surface. Especially on the sunward surfaces.


Plastic pots tend to heat up considerably, transferring the heat to the grow medium. When a grow medium heats up too much, plants can display many symptoms of stress in the growth patterns and leaves. These include over and underfeeding simultaneously, cupping and canoeing of leaves, and many symptoms attributed to pathogens and bug infestations. Overheated grow media can have growers chasing their tails trying to sort out problems that don’t really exist.

Air pruning pots keep the growing medium at a manageable temperature. The permeable surfaces expose water to the air, encouraging evaporation. This in turn cools the pot walls, which then help keep the grow medium cooler. Combined with mulching, air pruning pots make plants more resilient to heat stress in general.


These types of pots also give the root zone access to plenty of air. Roots, not just leaves, need air as well to remain healthy. Not only do roots need to breathe; a robust oxygen exchange helps keep pathogens at bay. A friable and well-structured grow medium allows plenty of air to move about in the root zone. Air pruning pots allow plenty of air to not only trim roots, but to permeate the entire grow medium. Plants can draw in air from 360°, rather than only relying on air available at the surface. Traditional pots in comparison only have minimal ability to promote efficient air movement.


Air Pots are made from a perforated and uniquely profiled plastic sheet that is rolled into a cylinder to form a pot. A perforated base is held in place when the pot is rolled, and is located a few centimetres from the bottom. This lets water freely drain right through and encourages airflow around the bottom of the pot. The profiled surfaces train roots to grow towards perforated air holes where they are air-pruned. The air holes are also an escape zone for water, which evaporates and keeps the pots cool.

The nature of the pot means larger plants can be grown in smaller pots with less grow medium. This makes them more cost-efficient for the same results, and allows more plants per square metre of available space. There are a range of pot sizes, and the material from which they are made is available in custom-sized rolls. This way, large pots can be made in situ, of any capacity, and up to a metre deep.


Smart Pots are made from a dense fabric that has been used for decades for a number of other purposes in the horticultural industry. The fabric is sewn into pots with bottoms made from the same material.

They come in various sizes, from only a few litres right up to 4,000 litres. People are surprised to hear they have been around for over forty years, especially in the tree-growing industry. The fabric from which they are made allows 100% exposure to the air over the whole surface of the pot. Roots grow as they please and are air-pruned when they reach the air layer between the pot and the grow medium.


The Spring Pot addresses one issue associated with fabric pots—their lack of rigidity. The Spring Pot functions as any other fabric pot, only it has a built-in spring that encircles the pot, giving it a firmer structure. After the pot has been used, it can be collapsed so it takes up minimal storage space. They come in a variety of sizes and have sturdy handles for easy moving about.


When root zones from each type of pot are examined, it is easy to discern the differences and similarities in root growth. There is a definite geometric pattern to Air Pots. It is easy to see where the roots diverge, then diverge again after they have been air-pruned.

Smart Pots and other fabric pots have less of an organised appearance, and the roots are more randomly spaced and patterned. However, it is again easy to discern the divergences in the roots where they have been air-pruned.

One thing’s for sure; cannabis responds vibrantly to being grown in a way where there is plenty of air availability at the walls of the pot. Larger, thicker stalks and greater plant volume in general are quite obvious when grown side-by-side with traditional pots. The same rules apply indoors or outdoors. Give them a try. You will be stoked.#

Air Pots and Smart Pots are two favourite solutions for air pruning the roots of cannabis plants. Find out more at Zambeza Seeds.