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Using something to fill bottom of big pot to use less soil

Zayah

Active Member
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I’ve heard of plastic bottles, but i was wondering if i was able to use these, they came with a box of frozen foods fed’x to me to to help keep food cold. So I’m not 1000% sure if its the right kind of think like packing peanuts that i can use. Was thinking of either cutting them into small squares, or just in the shape of the pot to fit at the bottom, Perlite is expensive and this what what i have at the monent.

Thanks :)

Any advice or wisdom is better than none. And there are more than one way to do something so no bashing each other for their opinion/experience <3
 

Dwight Monk

420 Support
420 Staff
Just use smaller pots if you worried about how much soil you use, as adding filler negates any benefits the bigger pot has. As the roots can't use that space if no soil there.
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019 - Grow Journal of the Month: Jan 2020, Aug 2021
Nothing works as well as having soil, supersoil or even compost as a bottom layer in your containers with soil all through the container. Your medium should be able to retain moisture, not just displace it. Putting rocks or perlite or anything else in the bottom as a solid non retentive layer simply creates several problems. While the claim is usually to increase or allow for drainage, just the opposite happens when you put a non retentive layer in the bottom. Because of capillary action between solid objects, that area suddenly never dries out like soil would, and the large voids in the area between solid objects, where stagnant water and stale air can't be evacuated, create breeding grounds for mold and non beneficial bacteria. Dissect a container with rocks in the bottom after growing in it for a while, and smell the rocks as you remove them. Slimy and nasty smelling is what you will find there. It can't be a good environment for the plants.

Just use soil, with a perlite mix for good aeration, with no solid layer of anything sitting in the bottom. That is what works best. If you want larger containers, get more soil. If for some reason you cannot or will not get more soil, then as said above, use smaller containers.
 

Zayah

Active Member
Nothing works as well as having soil, supersoil or even compost as a bottom layer in your containers with soil all through the container. Your medium should be able to retain moisture, not just displace it. Putting rocks or perlite or anything else in the bottom as a solid non retentive layer simply creates several problems. While the claim is usually to increase or allow for drainage, just the opposite happens when you put a non retentive layer in the bottom. Because of capillary action between solid objects, that area suddenly never dries out like soil would, and the large voids in the area between solid objects, where stagnant water and stale air can't be evacuated, create breeding grounds for mold and non beneficial bacteria. Dissect a container with rocks in the bottom after growing in it for a while, and smell the rocks as you remove them. Slimy and nasty smelling is what you will find there. It can't be a good environment for the plants.

Just use soil, with a perlite mix for good aeration, with no solid layer of anything sitting in the bottom. That is what works best. If you want larger containers, get more soil. If for some reason you cannot or will not get more soil, then as said above, use smaller containers.
Ok. I’m just afraid that when i do repot i end up putting way to much soil and they end up suffocating, maybe add more perlite ? I’m going to try a mix between fox farms ocean forest, Mother Earth coco perlite mix, and add some extra perlite. How do you think that would do ?
 

013

Member of the Month: Aug 2021
Nope on photos that’s a recommend tactic to produce a giant rootball. Successive upcans help build a monster rootball, bigger roots = bigger fruits and all that. Now for autoflowers most suggest only 1 upcan since they are easy to stall out or stunt.

Go buy a shrub or ornamental tree for your yard, they reccomend digging a big hole, mixing soil conditioner like peat, scoring the rootball lightly with sterile knife and transplanting to a larger
home. Scoring roots encourages them to take over new home, growth should explode.

The timing on the upcan is important, you want to get the plant very large, healthy and rootbound before upcan. The plant leaves should extend well beyond the edges of the container before transplant. Never upcan a weak or questionable plant, do it only from a position of strength & vigor

if you grow a monster rootball, the rootball will deliver the goods
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019 - Grow Journal of the Month: Jan 2020, Aug 2021
Ok. I’m just afraid that when i do repot i end up putting way to much soil and they end up suffocating, maybe add more perlite ? I’m going to try a mix between fox farms ocean forest, Mother Earth coco perlite mix, and add some extra perlite. How do you think that would do ?
I use fox farms soils as is, right out of the bag. They wouldn't sell so much of it, if it killed plants. Next run with the same soil, I will add a bit of perlite to make up for some of the breakdown, but other than that, stop trusting advice on the internet over a well known manufacturer. Their goal is to sell as much soil as they can, and to that end, they make it as good as they can within their pricepoint.
 

SmokingWings

Well-Known Member
@Zayah, it reads like everyone is on the same track. Use a good soil mix from top to bottom.

The only time I have put something other than a soil mix in a pot was to add weight at the very bottom of a pot that was larger than I needed for the plant and its roots. It was not to save 50 cents on soil. I needed the bottom weight to keep the 6 foot Rubber Tree from falling over if one of the grandkids or even one of the grandparents accidentally bumped it.

Oh, it was not a layer or anything. I put in 2 patio blocks and made sure that there was soil underneath the blocks and around the sides for proper water drainage from top to bottom. I could look at the patio blocks as nothing more than a large stone in the soil mix.
 

SmokingWings

Well-Known Member
:D
But doesn’t that hinder the root growth ?
And plus all i have are bigger pots
Water not able to properly drain is what will hinder root growth.

How big are the pots? If you do not know then maybe post a photo of some of the spare pots and some of the group will be able to tell how many gallons or liter the pot is. A photo of the plant so we can see the size which will help match plant to proper sized pot.
 

013

Member of the Month: Aug 2021
You can manipulate it to work but like I said how do you undo it when it’s time to move up? There’s a reason for containers to be long, slender and tapered, its to get the drainage right and to allow you to slide the rootball out for the transplant. Yes air pots or fabric bags do breath better than solids. But to upcan you only need a few sizes. I start in Dixie cups then go to 1 or 2 gallon then finish in 4, 5, 7.5 or 12 gallons depending. There’s cheapie round ones, heck find a landscaper & tell him you want a bunch of pots, or surf the dumpters at new housing projects as they put shrubs in. Ask at a plant nursery. Out back of most restaurants you can get a variety of bucket most are 4bbut some have 1 or 2 gallons...,Chinese or Mexican soy sauce, mayo, cheese come in 2‘s or 4 gallons. Drill em out add landscape cloth to help bug proof.... or not. Dollar stores tubs & trash cans but remember tapered is better than square or columnar. I guess most good smaller smart pots now have velcro seam for ease of transplant
 
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SmokingWings

Well-Known Member
You can manipulate it to work but like I said how do you undo it when it’s time to move up? There’s a reason for containers to be long, slender and tapered, its to get the drainage right and to allow you to slide the rootball out for the transplant. Yes air pots or fabric bags do breath better than solids. But to upcan you only need a few sizes. I start in Dixie cups then go to 1 or 2 gallon then finish in 4, 5, 7.5 or 12 gallons depending. There’s cheapie round ones, heck find a landscaper & tell him you want a bunch of pots, or surf the dumpters at new housing projects as they put shrubs in. Ask at a plant nursery. Out back of most restaurants you can get a variety of bucket most are 4bbut some have 1 or 2 gallons...,Chinese or Mexican soy sauce, mayo, cheese come in 2‘s or 4 gallons. Drill em out add landscape cloth to help bug proof.... or not. Dollar stores tubs & trash cans but remember tapered is better than square or columnar.
That is how I get 99% of the pots I use for any type of growing. Not including some hanging flower pots my most recent find was just over 20 landscape pots which included two 10 gallon, five at 7 gallons and ten at 5 gallons. Thrown in were several 3 gallon and some 2 gallon.

As for how to undo when and if I need to go to a larger pot is nothing more than putting a tarp on the living room floor, carefully getting the root ball out of the pot and then using my machete to do a bit of root pruning, including pruning near the bottom to get the patio blocks out. Then start over with the re-potting of the tree and some cutting of the branches.

Tapered pots, funny you should mention that. I was thinking about that lately and figured that the #1 reason they are tapered is so that one will fit into the other. If they could not nest one pot into the other it would take up a lot of space in the warehouse.

All of the square pots that I have bought, from 1/2 pint up to 3 gallons are tapered.
 

Virgin Ground

Nug of the Year: 2020 - Member of the Month: Feb 2020 - Plant of the Month: July 2020 - Nug of the Month: June 2019, Nov 2020 - Photo of the Month: Aug 2019
I've used milk jugs, water bottles and fabric shopping bags in a pinch.
 

Zayah

Active Member
Why not use a smaller pot?
Because i read that it can hinder the growth of the plant, another friend told me that it will just grow as wide as the pot is and my plant is to leave a couple in veg for a lil while. I figured with auto’s or any of them thats going to start flowering i could use the smaller pots for them because its basically done growing the roots and focusing on the buds. It’s prob about 85% of the time hot and humid. Rains randomly and then here comes the sun sometimes lol. I’m going to prop the pots up so there can be some vent at the bottom, seems to have helped with two other ones. Ive always just seemed to have the problem of the bottom of soil being still wet next day maybe 2 later and the rest is dry. Ive stopped watering the bottom of the pot before putting the plant in their and hopefully that will do some good.
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
Because i read that it can hinder the growth of the plant

And you think that sticking filler items into a larger container, instead, somehow will not?

You cannot break the laws of physics :19: .
 
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