Recommended pot size?

cjohansenApril 26, 2013

It's been a week since we had frost, and I'm gearing up for getting my plants outside in a couple of weeks. Better start hardening off I guess.

I'm building a raised bed to house most of my plants, but I'm also doing some in containers. And now I'm browsing for pots. I know a lot of people recommend 5 gallon pots, but I was wondering - what is the required size for the peppers to thrive? 5 gallon pots are fairly expensive, so if I can avoid them and still have good results, I'd prefer that.

I'm interested in the pot size required for the plant to grow comfortably, I can more or less disregard wind as I will keep the plants on my porch and take them inside in case of heavy weather. What are your experiences with various pot sizes?

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you can try 3 gallons I've had success using black 3 gallon pots purchased from the local hydroponic store. They are reusable and not to expensive.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 5:40PM
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Thanks. It's not that the individual pots are _that_ expensive, but if I'm potting, say, 15 plants, it quickly adds up. I can get 3.5 gallon buckets at pretty much half the price of 5 gallon ones.

Will Hungarian Hot Wax or Poblanos require bigger pots for the roots to thrive than, say, Jalapeño or Habanero?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 5:53PM
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Some local bakeries will give away five gallon buckets. I've acquired several 5 gallon buckets at the bakery in my local Wal-Mart. I drill holes in the bottom for drainage.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 6:04PM
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There's a pretty good thread here from a couple months ago talking about container size. I didn't look for it, but it shouldn't be too hard to find.

Bottom line....some of the larger peppers like NuMex/Anaheim types or Poblanos might benefit from 5 gal containers, but, generally, 3 gal is sufficient for most. Beyond that, it's largely preference.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 10:36PM
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chilliwin(EU DK 7)

I agreed with Tsheets. For my Habanero Tree I am planning to use 11.6 gallon because the picture I have seen are very big. I have been told the bigger pots get bigger pods. I also use 6 gallon and 3 gallon containers. 3 gallon are the most convenient for mobile, it is light and fit to my windowsill very well too.

This container is 3.17 gl:


    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 4:24AM
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My peppers are currently all in 0.5l "pots". Most of them are really root bound. I got some pots today (2l and 7l). I'm potting up some plants tomorrow and will monitor them closely this week. I expect the potted up peppers to outgrow the others.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 3:27PM
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I got my hands on some pots. I guess I should drill holes in the bottom for drainage? How many and how big? Should I also fill in some gravel, leca or similar in the bottom to help drainage as we as make the pots more wind resistant?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 2:16AM
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5 gallon buckets are probably the most economical way to go. Many times you can get them for free from restaraunts and other businesses as they toss them in the trash usually. But even if you buy them, they are about $2.50 a piece normally.
Definitely you will need drain holes. I drill holes around my 5 gal buckets every 1 to 1.5 inches (I suppose about 20 per bucket) and use a drill bit about 3/16". A layer of rock or gravel at the bottom might not be a bad idea, especially for 5 gal buckets as they are taller and skinnier than some other containers. I usually fill my 5 gallon buckets to about 4" from the top so they are probably closer to 4 gallons than 5.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 8:23AM
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Thanks Bruce. By the way, welcome to Norway, where the cheapest 5 gallon pot I can find is ~$8.5 :) Granted, it's not directly comparable due to overall economy etc, but still, just for the 4 tomatoes and 12 peppers I'm putting in pots, I'll be out almost $150. Good thing is that I can use 'em for many years to come.

What do you guys do with the medium by the end of season by the way? Save it for later? Compost it?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 8:41AM
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sjetski(6b NJ)

Many use their medium twice, as long as it's well amended the second time. But even on the second use you increase your chance of deficiencies, or over-compensating.

After the second use it becomes too compacted, and things like PH go out of wack, and then the mystery problems begin.

In those small pots you will have to fertilize on a regular schedule, hopefully with something that packs a decent amount of minerals etc etc. I would go lighter on the nitrogen percentage by early-mid season.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 9:17AM
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I'm forced to keep some plants in too small containers due to lack of space and terrible fall-like spring weather. Today I snapped a picture that illustrates the effects of being root bound pretty visually. These are two Aji Lemons, sowed on the same day and treated exactly the same, except one was lucky enough to get potted up a couple of weeks back.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 3:46AM
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My plants are currently in 4 inch (10 cm) pots, but they are much smaller than yours, as I only started mine in March. I have 25L pots (6 U.S. gallons, or 5 Imperial gallons) that I plant them in for the summer. I plant up to several plants in each pot -- last year I went with 1 or 2 plants per pot, this year I am growing a variety that has a rather small plant size, so will experiment with probably 2 plants in some pots, 3 plants in others. Might try one pot with just one plant if I feel bold. Plants are currently hardening off as we are running days around 21 C (70F) and nights around 10C (50F).

I bought the pots at Walmart, I think they were about $6 per pot. Potting soil this year is el-cheapo brand from Superstore (a chain in Canada). At $2.50 per 25 L bag, the price seemed right. I compost it or spread directly in the vegetable garden at the end of the season, and buy fresh the next year.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 5:49AM
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