How to Plant in Pots Without Drainage Holes? [4 Steps]

It may seem impossible to place a plant in a pot that doesn’t have drainage holes. But, you don’t have to pass up on a gorgeous container for your new orchid, cactus, or small tree because it lacks drainage holes.

If you were wondering if there was a method for making a pot with drainage holes coexist happily with your plant, you are in luck. And, you don’t need to resort to drilling a hole in a beloved container to keep a plant successfully. We have researched for the best method to keep your container whole and your plants healthy!

You can successfully place a plant in a pot without drainage holes by following these steps:

  1. Gather a pot that has drainage holes that is slightly smaller than the pot without drainage holes.
  2. Place gravel or small stones at the bottom of the larger pots couple of inches deep, depending on the size of the pot.
  3. Plant your plant in the smaller pot that has drainage holes.
  4. Put the smaller pot on top of the layer of material inside the larger container. 

Assorted plants placed on pots and positioned on a staircase-like platform, How to Plant in Pots Without Drainage Holes? [4 Steps]

There are other methods of making a beautiful container without drainage holes work for your plant. Continue to discover more helpful solutions.

Planting Pots in Containers Without Drainage Holes

Thankfully, there are plenty of smart solutions to make a container without drainage holes, a pleasant home for a plant. The easiest method may be to drill holes in a container, especially if it is made from more malleable wood, plastic, or ceramic. However, what if the container you select might be irreparably damaged if you tried to make your own holes?

There are two tried and true methods to plant a pot in a container without drainage holes.

Method One: Pot inside of Planter

  1. You will need to find a pot that is smaller than the container without drainage holes. A plastic container with drainage holes works well.
  2. Gather appropriate drainage materials, such as gravel, small river stones, or found rocks to line the bottom of the larger container. Fill the planter so that it is level and high enough to capture water overflow and stabilize the smaller container.
  3. Place the smaller container atop the layer of stones, etc. and fill it with soil to anchor your plant.
  4. Make sure to be careful not to overwater your plant.

Method Two: Add Drainage Material

  1. Cover the bottom of a container lacking drainage holes with an even layer of small rock, pebbles, or landscape rocks. Create a layer that is a minimum of 2 to 3 inches in depth.
  2. Add a modest layer of horticultural charcoal on top of the landscape rocks or pebbles.
  3. Fill the rest of the container halfway with potting soil that is sterile and well-draining. Add more soil for a larger plant to accommodate its root system.
  4. Adjust the amount of material used for each layer based on the size of the container and the plant.
  5. Once the plant is anchored in its new home with enough soil, water the plant, but avoid overwatering.

What Do You Put in the Bottom of a Planter for Drainage?

There are a lot of different options when it comes to the type of material you can put at the bottom of a planter for drainage.  Many gardeners like to place small river stones, landscape rocks, or pebbles at the bottom of a planter. You can also get good results using a disc made of coconut fiber, plastic, or polyester over a drainage hole. After adding a healthy layer of rocks or a drainage disc, it is helpful to add a layer of sand or charcoal and then soil. Foam peanuts are another alternative that can be added to the bottom of a planter to increase air circulation and drainage.

It is essential to give a plant the ability to drain off excess water and encourage air circulation. If a planter does not allow for proper drainage, salts can build up, standing water can breed fungus, root rot, and the plant may die.

Check out these drainage discs for plants on Amazon.

Find decorative river rocks for planters on Amazon.

Click here to see this potting bark on Amazon.

Why Do Some Plant Pots Not Have Holes?

Planters that do not have holes are for plants that do not require a lot of water. Examples of plants that thrive well in a planter without drainage holes include air plants, aloe, and succulents. Ideally, pots for plants should have drainage holes to ensure that the plant receives adequate air circulation, drains salts from the soil, and prevents root rot and fungus development.

When pots for plants do not have holes, there is a risk that the plant’s roots may be underwater or overwatering may occur if the container is not correctly lined with materials to encourage draining. Overall planters without holes may seem impractical and for decorative purposes, but they can be augmented to have drainage holes, or you can add drainage materials.

Should You Drill Holes in Flower Pots?

If you wish to drill holes in a flower pot, it is easier to do so if it is ceramic. When drilling a hole in a flower pot, it is best to use a power drill, and a half-inch diamond tip hole saw bit or a ceramic and glass bit. Using these particular bits will help you create a smooth hole without too much effort through your flower pot.

You need to mark the center of the bottom of the pot you wish to drill a hole with a sharpie marker for visible marks. Place the drill bit at a 45-degree angle to make the hole. Additionally, you want to add a small amount of water to the bottom of the pot and use a low RPM when drilling the hole for the best results. Once you carefully and slowly drill through the container, give it a rinse to ensure clean work.

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