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Garden Boxes: Do They Have to Have Holes in the Bottom for Drainage?

By Cassie Damewood ; Updated September 21, 2017
Plants in garden boxes need good drainage to flourish.

Garden boxes are popular vegetable and decorative plant growing alternatives when plots of soil are unavailable. In addition to good soil and sunlight, garden boxes require adequate drainage to produce healthy plants.

Style Options

Some garden boxes are simply holders for container plants. The plant pots fit inside square or rectangular wooden boxes for display. Other garden boxes are designed to have potting soil placed directly inside along with the plants.

Holes and Drainage Considerations

Holes provide drainage and prevent root rot resulting from plants sitting in stagnant water. Drill one or two holes in container bottoms and for boxes, drilling a hole every foot or so is adequate. To ensure optimum drainage, garden boxes and pots should be placed on a bed of drainage pebbles or elevated a few inches above the deck or sidewalk on which they are placed. Regularly check plants and boxes to ensure there is no water pooling underneath.


The water that drains from garden boxes and containers contains ingredients from soil and plant food that may stain wooden or concrete. To prevent discoloration, attach a plastic pipe or hose to the bottom of the box to route the runoff underneath or along the side of the structure.


About the Author


Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.