Potted plants bring color and character to rooms, decks and porches. No matter the type of plant being grown in a container, from ornamental favorites such as orchids to container-variety vegetables and herbs, proper soil drainage is essential for the health, beauty and productivity of the plant. Choosing the right container and the right planting medium ensure that your favorite potted plants will receive just the right amount of moisture and nutrients needed to survive season after season.
Choose only those containers that have a pre-made drainage hole located in the bottom. Pots without drainage holes leave plants susceptible to root rot or decay from excess moisture levels.
Place a layer of charcoal and then a layer of gravel or broken pottery pieces in the bottom of the container to prevent soil from spilling out through the drainage hole. Oregon State University Extension Service notes that charcoal not only assists with drainage but also helps remove noxious gases and other detrimental materials from the water.
Create a well-draining potting mix by combining equal amounts of potting mix and perlite or sand. This blend will allow water to flow freely around the root system and prevent waterlogging.
Transplant potted plants when roots become crowded and begin growing through the drainage hole. The Texas Agriculture Extension service advises using a clean container no more than 2 inches larger, in circumference, than the current pot.