Are you interested in growing big plants in small pots? If you are you will want to check out my EZ DIY hydro system. I explain everything in my video below and in this article. I will also list everything you need to set up my top feed drip hydro system.
Growing Big Plants In Small Pots – The Secret
The secret to growing big plants in small pots is a top fed hydroponic system. You have probably seen lots of growers using 10,20 or even larger pots. They say more roots is more fruits but while that might be true in soil it is not the same in hydro.
Any experienced coco grower will tell you they get bigger plants in coco with smaller pots than soil or promix. My system would even work in coco heavily amended with perlite although watering cycles would need to be adapted.
By growing in hydroton or growstones we can take everything to the next level and use even smaller pots. I see no reason to use anything larger than a 1 gallon pot with this system. If you want to grow monster trees you may want to go to 2 or 3 gallon pots though.
Most plants need a large pot because it is necessary to hold enough media and nutrients so the roots can forage to find them and fill the pot. Watering can become problematic in large pots and so can salt build up. Many growers run a feed water feed system because of this.
Hydroponics Is Different
In a hydro system running hydroton things are totally different. Nutrients are delivered to the roots constantly so the plants dont waste energy growing roots to forage. Everything is right there and growth is faster.
However if you run hydroton in a flood and drain you will have problems with salt build up. Using a top feed drip system this problem is largely avoided because nutrients flow downward instead of being pushed upwards.
Plants grown with a top fed drip system and growstones develop an entirely different root system. They grow a mat of very fine feeder roots because everything they need is directly available 24/7. That is the secret to why growing large plants in small pots works.
Building My EZ DIY Hydro System
This really is an easy DIY project for just about anyone even folks with 2 left thumbs. It also is relatively cheap to build and should last for years. The only tools you will need are a drill and a 1 1/4 hole saw or drill bit to install the flood and drain fittings, and oh, maybe a knife to cut the irrigation tubing.
This system will be for 8 plants or less. You can run more but you may need a larger or 2nd pump. The plants will need to sit in a tray that drains away. It can be a tote, a flood tray or even fiberglass roofing that slopes to a drain.
It can be any size you want. I do want to point out that this is a recirculating system and not a drain to waste system. So everything will need a reservoir to return to.
I recommend cutting all drip lines to the same length so all pots get the same amount of water. Also leave them open ended. Drippers can clog but open lines never do.
Below is everything you will need. You will also need a short length of 1/2 OD tubing to connect the pump to the ebb and flow fitting and a 27 gallon reservoir. I like the black totes with yellow square tops you get at Lowes for about $13.
About Pot Sizes
Many pots being sold actually hold less than stated. I just checked my gallon pots and they are 3.4 liters and really only hold about 3/4 of a gallon.
However you do want to use pots designed for ebb and flow or hydro use. They have smaller holes so your media wont fall out and raised corners to keep them out of any standing water. My pots have a 6″ inside diameter and about 6.5″ outside measurement and are 8″ deep.
So if you want a full gallon you will probably need a 7″ pot. Here are some white ones from Amazon
Small Pots Big Plants Heavy Frost Day 49
Does it work? Watch the video and you tell me. Actually I lied. Found out my pots are not 1 gallon but only hold 3/4 gallon.