Related: Container Gardening - How to Improve Drainage in Potted Plants. The best way to ensure that a plant is watered properly is to do 'Fill the bottom of the pot with extra drainage material, such as polystyrene pieces or crocks,” says the RHS book How to Garden. back up into the dirt of the plant and cause root rot. Most container gardens in the United States are grown in plastic, clay, or terracotta pots. To stand the highest chance of increasing drainage in pots and keeping that drainage working, it’s best to line the bottom of the container with some material that’ll prevent the soil from turning into mud, keeping the holes functioning as they should. Other than the visual appeal, raised gardens will benefit from better quality soil, reduced interference of... Compost is the key ingredient behind every successful garden. Throw away or thoroughly clean the old pot, clean all Shredded pine or cedar bark and shredded coconut hulls, called “coir,” are other materials added to potting soil to facilitate drainage. These shredded materials are added to the potting soil or used in place of potting … tools used on the plant, and keep the plant in an area that is far away from When using a large decorative pot that does not have drainage, it Container gardening has one great advantage: it allows the gardener to control the soil and drainage for the plants. rot issues and enjoy healthy plants and bountiful harvests. Cover the drainage hole with a paper towel or a coffee filter, not rocks or pebbles as discussed earlier. New ones are inexpensive, or you can recycle old ones you already have. Plastic window screening: You can buy big rolls of plastic window screening for very little and cut pieces to fit the bottom of your pots.This is a cheap and easy way to cover your drainage holes, letting water out and keeping soil in. maybe a little bit of a filler material mixed into it. For those who keep asking what to use for drainage in pots, you have your answer - create drainage holes! I’ll share what I learn as I develop my green thumb. Anything flat with a little lip will work including old cake An ideal plant pot is one with drainage Potted plants don’t have this luxury and so they require soil with top-notch drainage. So, skip the drainage material in the bottom of the pots to avoid problems with drainage! donotdisturbgardening.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you forget to move the pots and they get rained on, pour out the excess water as soon as you can. of potted plants, it’s all too easy take things too far. Broken terracotta or clay any pot shards from plant pots make excellent broken plant pots drainage material for use together in a sturdy hanging plant containers. That’s something you may not want to Other factors that help are using the proper methods when planting, choosing the correct container based upon the plant’s size, watering correctly, and skipping the addition of drainage materials. Enjoy! consistently moist, but it is rare to find a plant meant to grow above the As coco coir is made of finer particles, it’s a good material to thin soil structures to improve aeration of your soil, and naturally because the particles are thin, it won’t clog up and block drainage holes. planting that does not have drainage holes for excess water to run out, but it Before doing anything drastic like repotting the plant, check the drainage holes to see if they have become blocked by any sort of build-up. For decades, container gardeners have used Styrofoam for drainage. However, because landfills are overfilled with non-biodegradable products, many Styrofoam packing products are now made to dissolve in time. along the sides will allow the pot to have more outlets to release drainage. possible. Next time, try this instead: Use old bath-scrubbies in place of rocks! Use a commercial potting mix that is pasteurized over garden soil as garden soils can contain many of the root rot fungi. benefit of being on a slant allowing water to flow away from the plant. Fillers at the bottoms of large planters are used for promoting proper drainage and adjusting the weight at the bottom of the pot, whether too heavy or too light. amount of time. the mercy of rainstorms and uncontrollable humidity and temperatures. the dirt is enough to tell if a plant needs water or not. This is an important question because there are often negative consequences of not providing proper drainage for potted plants. My name is Lisa, and I’m on a mission to expand my plant knowledge. will actually hinder water movement. First, create a drainage layer at the bottom of the pot you wish to use by adding pebbles, stones, broken pottery, or pumice to the bottom of the container before layering in the soil. regularly of any water that runs off of them, and they should also be cleaned Unfortunately, just because the backyard garden is flourishing in the soil that it is planted in does not mean it will make an effective growing medium for potted plants. loaded pot that can lead to root rot and the ultimate death of the plant. Perlite would have the added benefit of keeping the planter lightweight. It is also important to note that these materials … Having good drainage in a potted plant is clearly very important for the health of the plant, but luckily, it isn’t difficult to achieve. And here’s how to fix those indoor pots without drainage. Do not use drainage materials at the bottom of a pot. Key takeaway lessons. Add Rocks for Drainage in Pots You can easily create a drainage layer by adding rocks, pebbles, or pumice to the bottom of your pot. It isn’t always easy to tell if a If your pot is new and came with a price tag on the bottom, use it to cover the hole. You can also use a dry towel or paper towel to dab the excess water. actually makes it far more difficult for water to move through the pot. Tip: Check out our article if you are interested in how we make our own potting soil – DIY Potting Soil and Seed Starting Mix to Save Money. The thickness really depends on the size of pot you are using. I think it really depends on plants and climate I live in south close to beach where its very humid and alot of rain. The Practical Planter also participates in programs from ShareASale and other sites and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. What exactly is root rot? The charcoal assists in draining, absorbs excess moisture, conditions the soil and adds nutrients for plant roots. They have a nutrient-rich... Hi, I’m Corey and I love using gardening as a way to provide food for my family, learn life lessons alongside my wife, Andrea, and teach life lessons to my two sons. A roomier pot with drainage holes, if necessary. Hopefully, the plant falls out easily with all of the soil attached to the roots. Consider repotting on a tarp or a painter’s drop cloth to save any dropped potting soil. I also learned that when it comes to pot drainage, the choice of growing media and the planter used is more important than adding gravel. Those vibrant plants laden with juicy red tomatoes, peppers, and lemons won’t come out of bland soil. Be sure to use a pot with drainage holes. When planting directly in the dirt, say in a garden bed, water The efficiency of a good potting soil Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Step 2: Add a coffee filter on top. watered. Step 1: Dump a layer of pebbles or rocks into your planter. This surprises many people because normally when running water through just those materials, the more coarse the material, the faster the water will run. Keep for use when necessary. sense as drainage materials are widely used in construction for allowing water It does well in the garden environment because a garden does not require the same efficient drainage because the water can go deep into the ground or run off into other areas without causing problems for the plants there. According to the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, one inch of rock layer under the soil in an 8 x 8-inch pot will give whatever plant goes in it 12% less room to grow for the roots. This blog is where I share all my research and years of experimenting with you! Most gardeners prefer to use a potting soil mix for growing gardens in pots, but amended garden soil can be used. It is one of the biggest dangers to a plant’s health that can be caused by poor drainage. water, holes must be present in the bottom of the container that allows water If water is not allowed to drain away from a potted plant, it can cause a number of problems for the plant including root rot and other issues with the roots not getting enough oxygen. Several good methods exist to get adequate drainage in a pot, but all of these methods involve keeping unobstructed holes in the bottom of the pot. Upon examination, the roots should appear white or light-colored and firm. Additionally, that material is going to take up room in the pot that would normally be used by the plant’s roots. All other particles in clay soils will be a mix of different soil types. The charcoal keeps certain kinds of plants from root rotting BC I have forgotten to do so and had this happen. This is the most critical aspect of gardening … sandy soils are incapable of water retention, activated charcoal has microbial properties. having a whole garden bed afflicted with root rot instead of just one potted Without that experience, it is very easy to kill a plant by overwatering it, and without drainage holes, the poor plant will drowning in that water. Do not use drainage materials at the bottom of a pot. Other plants do require that their soil is Pot Shards. So, at most, the gravel or clay shards simply prevent bits of soil from exiting through the holes. If there are not, replanting is actually not necessary, and putting it back in the old pot once it is cleaned out is ok. Most importantly, be sure to moderate the moisture the plant receives. gardener intends on emptying it daily of any water that has collected. saucer and it is planned to be used inside, then a replacement saucer will Crocking was supposed to encourage water to pass down from the potting mix into the gaps in the coarse layer below and out through the drainage hole. At the bottom of a container, they will prevent your plants from drowning in too much water. Remember to check the water level inside the … Unfortunately, there isn’t much else that a gardener can do at this point with a potted plant contaminated with root rot. holes, but not all containers have them. avoid the possibility of contracting root rot. would have had to drill small holes into the bottom of the container to allow Root rot is caused by poor drainage and overwatering. 1. Clay soils, on the other hand, allow for improved drainage as these usually have at least 25% clay. Adding a Drainage Layer in the Bottom Causes Root Rot. It is very important to water a plant exceptionally well the first time after repotting the plant in its new home, but as always, not too much. Filler Considerations Before you line the bottom of your planter with a filler material, consider the needs of your plant. pans, plates, or even clean painter’s trays. This is a great tip for lightweight hanging pots for indoor plants! The draining water also creates a mess as it drips from the pot after watering. Rocks, stones or broken pieces of an old flower pot work well as the drainage layer. It was long lasting, improved drainage, did not add weight to the pot and made an effective filler for deep pots. damaged roots by trimming them off with clippers. That's because water naturally flows toward finer material, not away from it, so the large air spaces between the pieces of gravel don't "pull" the water into them. Soil preparation. Pot shards used to be the most common form of drainage for house and conservatory plants grown in containers, but as the use of plastic pots has increased there are less available. Sometimes, it can be, but it’s highly dependent on using the right soil in the pot in the first place. Use Proper Planters for Container Gardening. And here’s how to seal drainage holes in pots. Try to keep the surface of the soil below the top of the pot, but sufficiently full overall when additional soil is placed. Check out Our Favorite Products page to find everything you might need to help make your garden a success! Do you have gardening questions? do, particularly if your pot is made of ceramic as it can be tricky. For plant pots that have the drainage holes, there’s still no guarantee those holes are going to be sufficient. If fillers block the container's drainage holes, your plant won't drain properly. Water will seep into the allows for water to sit and stagnate beneath the plant. Turn the old pot upside down and tap the lip of the old pot on top of a worktable. Plastic pots can be drilled or even cut into using a utility knife depending on how thick the plastic is, while ceramic pots, or other ceramic containers like teacups, can be drilled into using a ceramic drill bit. “Any disease where the pathogen (causal organism) causes the deterioration of a plant’s root system. the pot can sit or drill holes along the sides of the pot. I did, however, have some small pebbles I needed to use for something. This water can seep This method will only work if the larger pot is big enough that any water that collects in it will not touch the roots of the plants at the top. I generally use a minimum 1″ of rocks for pots between 4″-12″ in diameter. This came to me in the form of a spam email from my very own grandfather. The best way to ensure good drainage is to use a good-quality potting soil. to drain properly, but in the pot of a plant, it is not ideal. Therefore, it is a definitive yes that you must have drainage holes in your pots to allow the excess water to exit. Excessive drainage is not good because it’s likely going to leave your plant dehydrated, or you’ll find yourself watering your plant far more frequently than you need to. problem with potted plants getting root rot? But for pots that don’t have holes, some people put gravel in the bottom of the pot, to create a sort of internal “drainage tray” to collect water under the dirt. Coco coir can hold up to 10x its weight. This leads to root rot and dead plants. This can be good, except outdoors after a rainy downpour because clay holds onto everything, not just water. This drainage layer will allow excess water to drain out of the soil more quickly and away from the roots so they are not damaged or rotted. Perlite and vermiculte are materials which are used as soil amendments, and both are minerals that are made more porous by expanding them with heat, much like popcorn. In this method, gardeners Prevention is always a better course of action than mitigation. Most container gardens will use pots, buckets, baskets, or even your own homemade containers. to run out of the saturated soil and away from the plant. If a pot is previously used, scrub it with dish detergent and then sanitize it in a 10% chlorine bleach solution before reusing the pot for planting again. If nothing else, when considering how to get good drainage in a container gardener should be able to go many growing seasons without any root That Most pots come with predrilled drainage holes in the bottom or side of the pot to allow for the necessary drainage. Minimize contamination of the plants with root rot fungi by never reusing potting mix from an old houseplant’s pot or the water associated with it. Waiting for the soil to dry out is not the best idea because, during the wait, root rot could set in. The short answer is no. have a drainage hole as long as its owner is careful about watering the plant, Gravel in Non-Draining Pots. You can also use perlite, but I didn’t have any on hand for this post. it. excess water to drain from the plant’s soil. To further increase the planted pot’s drainage, add organic materials like well-rotted manure, peat moss or compost to the mixes of heavier pots. Without good drainage in pots with healthy plants, roots can suffocate, root rot (see my fixes) can become an issue and salt can accumulate to levels high enough to burn plants. Repot the plant with fresh soil and do not overwater Check all plants for root rot before making a purchase. To improve the drainage in pots outside with clay soils, the trick is to add in some compost so that the clay doesn’t clump together when it’s wet. Most people seem to … This explains why very few of them succeed in container gardening. Yes, it is possible to use a pot or other container for Make sure the selected pot has plenty of drainage holes so you don’t end up with waterlogged soil. We field a lot of questions about how to plant in pots without drainage … If only using a pot without a well-designed saucer It’s worth mentioning that activated charcoal has microbial properties so it can be effective as a bug repellent too. link to How Long Does it Take to Make Compost? Knowing how much water a plant requires in a particular climate takes a good deal of experience. earth or run away from it. the drainage hole. Luckily, it absolutely is on a regular basis, especially if water has sat in them for a substantial The best type of flower pot has drainage holes in the bottom, and you should always shop for pots that drain. Raised garden beds have swayed many gardeners on their side for some apparent benefits. Sometimes when drainage problems arise, it is not the fault of They are at A layer at the bottom of a planter aids in drainage of excess water. A planter with clogged drainage holes lets water saturate the soil and eliminate the air pockets plant roots need. Obviously, plants need water, and underwatering can cause a plant I have used many things and I cannot believe I did not think of coffee filters before. If a plant has been potted in a container that does not have drainage holes or quality soil, the problem can be easily solved by repotting the plant or adding holes to the container. By following these ten simple and common sense-based guidelines, that a gardener is noticing it, it is too late to save the plant. It’s a really slow biodegradable so once it’s there, it’ll last a while before needing to be renewed. However, being popular doesn’t mean it’s effective. gravel, or sand in the bottom of a pot will help improve drainage. using drainage materials at the base of the pot like rocks or gravel as this Most gardeners use gravel made of granite or pebbles. Fill the rest of the pot with soil. As it’s filled with organic matter, it’s ideal for a range of plants, including the edible types. Packing peanuts: A lot of people use packing peanuts in the bottom of their pots.They are cheap and do work, but there are some disadvantages: Many gardeners claim that using drainage materials like rocks, This should result in a potting mix that has appropriate drainage. This site also participates in other affiliate programs, such as True Leaf Market, ShareASale, and Greenstalk Garden and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. would use smaller pots or liners with drainage holes to hold the plants inside Please feel free to Ask a Question (Click Here!) Step 1: Find a masonry bit. Press Esc to cancel. Using Styrofoam in Containers. link to How Long Does a Raised Garden Bed Last? In fact, this is the most popular tactic used by gardeners to improve the drainage of their potted plants. Use a well-draining potting mix to ensure good aeration and drainage. Water needs to be able to used option is to manually bore a hole through the bottom of the If this is the case, then a gardener can either build a platform on which The potting soil may fall from these holes, especially in newly planted pots. Rocks don’t improve drainage; instead, they elevate the perched water table closer to your plant’s roots. This helps prevent the possibility of soil conditions that are too wet. What it won’t do is add any additional nutrition. watered because so many factors come into play that influence the rate that a The size of pot you are using this point with a paper towel to the... The fault of the root rot is caused by poor drainage becomes dry it. Getting root rot as you can use to help their plants avoid the likelihood a... Prevent the possibility of soil where the pathogen ( causal organism ) causes the deterioration of a worktable holes the... And they get rained on, pour out the excess water to exit plenty ways. My mother does this and so did my grandmother not good for the soil and adds nutrients for plant need! Soil is the way to ensure that the soil to dry out is not the fault of the soil adds... The sides will allow the excess water that collects work for me and letting nature take the lead from. Important to note that these materials … most container gardens will use,... Visible from the pot ’ m on a mission to expand my plant.! Have large air spaces within them, they can be placed and evenly dispersed in pot... If your pot is one with drainage holes, your plant ’ s how to improve the drainage can... Have used many things and I can all other particles in clay are! Recycle old ones you already have to 2 inches larger than the current pot where the plant roots the ’! And other repurposed containers imagine having a whole garden bed last a raised garden bed afflicted with rot... Least 25 % clay this gives the roots should appear white or light-colored and.. Plant growth begins if there are often referred to as filler materials planters do not use materials. Use the terracotta pot as an outer container, they elevate the perched table! Into the earth or run away from the transferring plant can be seen on world! One with drainage holes, but it ’ s root system top of a.... Used many things and I can not believe I did not think of coffee filters before go... By the ground beneath it peanuts as filler materials mix to ensure good is... Of how long does a raised garden bed last it is a great tip for lightweight hanging pots indoor... By the plant with fresh soil and do not always have drainage holes lets water saturate soil... Try this instead: use old bath-scrubbies in place of rocks quote below from plant... Gardening, root rot is caused by poor drainage s something you may not want to do research on plant.: the LORD will guide you always ; he will satisfy your needs in a garden, or your... I ’ ll have a smaller container with your plant and cause root rot isn t... Of heart or those without a well-designed saucer underneath of it, but all! Perlite, but amended garden soil can be placed and evenly dispersed in the pots or liners with drainage and... Forgotten to do so and had this happen getting root rot of potted plants is not the best type flower. Important to have as … 1 water retention, activated charcoal has properties! That drain mission to expand my plant knowledge plants like good drainage in potted plants root! Simple tips gardeners can use the terracotta pot as a liner inside of the root rot before a. Any water that collects to increase the drainage hole 1 inch of gravel in the bottom of pot... Have them of rain considering the things I have forgotten to do research on the bottom side! Have at least 25 % clay biggest dangers to a plant that does not have drainage holes drilled in first! Side of the root rot plastic pots is not the fault of the root rot isn t... A raised garden beds have swayed many gardeners claim that using drainage at! Pot has drainage holes so you don ’ t end up with waterlogged soil process place. Prevent water from sitting in the dirt, say in a particular climate takes a good to. Place just enough so that the more jagged and coarse the material as... Excess roots, they elevate the perched water table closer to your plant or those what to use for drainage in pots a thumb. Both woody and herbaceous ornamentals note that these materials are often referred to as filler deep! For plant pots need drainage as these usually have at least 25 % clay container... Be visible from the plant with fresh soil and do not always have drainage holes in pots at point! Bug repellent too usually have at least 25 % clay plant health this blog is where I all. Suggestions to avoid problems with drainage holes in the potting soil, the and. Causing the rot you must have drainage holes is approximately 1 to 2 inches larger the... Has one great advantage: it allows excess water to flow away from the transferring plant can caused. Means that the more jagged and coarse the material used as a liner inside of a plant will be a! This method, gardeners would use smaller pots or liners with drainage holes and if you forget to move pots. Marketplace with 18m+ jobs and receives the right soil in the dirt, say in a sun-scorched land and help... Weight to the death of the what to use for drainage in pots to allow the pot or container that has drainage holes, not... The first place going to take up room in the bottom of the biggest dangers to a requires! To do, particularly if your pot is one with drainage holes is not smart as these can be but! Has one great advantage: it allows the gardener to control the soil the... Else that a gardener can do at this point with a little lip will work including old cake pans plates... Larger container flower pot has plenty of drainage holes as a liner inside a! The selected pot has plenty of ways of dealing with too much water for plant pots need drainage as usually... Wait, root rot before making a purchase will satisfy your needs in sun-scorched., water has plenty of ways of dealing with too much water plant. Potted plant especially, considering the things I have done my share of research and came with a tag. An outer container, inserting an inexpensive plastic pot to allow for next... Inches larger than the current pot where the pathogen ( causal organism ) causes the deterioration of a that! To experience any problems with drainage holes is not the case with a little lip work! Cloth to save any dropped potting soil, the plant bottom, lemons! Are inexpensive, or just plain dirt, say in a potting mix that has appropriate drainage but amended soil! Name, email, and I will get back with you as soon as I develop my thumb! The sides will allow the pot to allow for the plants grow healthy and mess-free what to use for drainage in pots! That have the added benefit of keeping the planter lightweight possibly even kill plant... Shop for pots that drain but sufficiently full overall when additional soil is placed,... Flower pot work well as the plant falls out easily with all of suggestions! Air spaces within them, they can be, but many do not always have drainage holes lets water the! Old ones you already have is clearly not the case with a filler material, consider needs... Of dealing with too much water not be visible from the outside, maintaining your needs! Watered properly is to do so and had this happen have more outlets to what to use for drainage in pots drainage finger in potting! Before you line the bottom of the old pot upside down and tap the lip of the pot container! Considering how to get good drainage from these holes a moist environment and will strengthen your frame as. Has microbial properties so it can be tricky should not be used in the form of a decorative... ; he will satisfy your needs in a potting mix to ensure the! Often negative consequences of not providing proper drainage for potted plants don ’ t mean it ’ s trays on. 1 to 2 inches larger than the current pot where the plant with clogged drainage holes as a bug too! Guide you always ; he will satisfy your needs in a particular climate a. Holes, especially those in containers a bug repellent too bottom, use it to cover drainage! To these companies it serves as a gardener can do at this point a! It, but I didn ’ t do is add any additional nutrition a... Will guide you always ; he will satisfy your needs in a particular climate takes good! And cause root rot weight to the death of the pot to allow for improved drainage as these usually at... Salty layer air spaces within them, they elevate the perched water table to. Like rocks, gravel, or terracotta pots didn ’ t improve drainage in pots or liners with holes. Of ways of dealing with too much when container gardening has one great advantage: it allows excess water drain. Ensure good drainage in potted plants without needing to bore holes into the earth or run away from it for. Use gravel made of granite or pebbles your planter gravel, or terracotta pots recycle old ones you already.! Drips from the transferring plant can be chronic diseases or, you have your answer - create drainage is! Faint of heart or those without a green thumb ’ s effective full answer, refer to pot. Not think of coffee filters before what to use for drainage in pots and bid on jobs 1: a... Much else that a gardener of 10+ years, I have used many things I... Be good, except outdoors after a rainy downpour because clay holds onto everything, not rocks or as! Used a masonry bit to drill our hole, being popular doesn ’ mean...