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How to Plant in a Pot With no Holes

alcazar image by Randi Utnes from

Good drainage is crucial for the survival of any type of potted plant. Fortunately, clay or plastic planting containers usually come with at least one drainage hole in the bottom. However, decorative containers made of ceramic, wood, copper or brass are constructed without drainage holes. When you just can't resist using an attractive container that has no bottom drainage, extra steps are necessary to prevent the plant from suffering from root rot.

Use a smaller container with a drainage hole to hold the plant, then place the smaller container in the larger pot with no drainage hole. Never allow the smaller pot to sit in water and be sure to empty any water that remains in the bottom of the larger container after watering. Use styrofoam peanuts to lift the height of the inner container if necessary.

Water the plant carefully if you choose to plant directly in the container with no drainage. Pour a small amount of water slowly into the container and allow it to soak into the soil. Once the water is absorbed, add more water. Once absorption slows, stop watering. Underwatering is always better than overwatering.

Drain the excess water if you accidentally overwater the plant. Tip the container on its side and allow the water to drain out the top of the soil.

Plant In A Pot With No Holes

Place a small inverted plant pot or a large flat stone in the bottom of a container without holes. Insert a holed liner pot containing your plant inside the outer pot. This works similar to double potting and keeps the roots of your plants above the bottom of the container where the soil is likely to be soggy. Drill thee or four 1/2-inch holes evenly spaced over the bottom of pots that do not have drainage holes. This is easily accomplished with plastic, resin or wooden pots.


Avoid trying to correct the lack of a drainage hole by putting gravel or pebbles in the bottom of the container. Gravel will actually slow the transfer of water through the soil.

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