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How to plant in pots without drainage holes

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This post shares tips about how to plant in pots without drainage holes. If you like it, you’ll love a roundup of my 15 DIY planters to help you decorate with plants!

How to Plant in Pots without Drainage Holes

Hello hello, and welcome to the first in what will be an ongoing series of quick-tip-themed posts. I have a lot of ideas floating around that I want to share, so I’m going to start sharing them branded as quick tips. That way, you won’t be too disappointed when you click in and think “that’s it?” 🙂 My first quick tip is how to create drainage in planters without holes.

how to plant in pots without drainage holes

Many plant pots that are designed to house plants have built-in drainage in either the bottom or the sides. Drainage is critical for many plants because you don’t want the water puddling in the bottom of your planter, causing problems and making for some unhappy, water-logged plant roots.

That said, I like to use a lot of things that aren’t meant to be planters, so building in drainage might be a necessary step to ensure your plants stay happy. Some of these planters include my DIY stainless steel bowl hanging planter (featured in this post, an Ikea bowl), an upcycled thrift store bowl hanging planter, an old candle holder turned into a planter, an old tea tin turned into a tiny planter, a DIY teacup cactus planter, and more.

So how do you quickly and easily build in drainage? Grab some pebbles and a coffee filter.

Here’s what you need:

  • Pebbles or rocks, grab them outside or pick up a cheap bag from the dollar store
  • Coffee filters, the number depends on how big your pot is
  • Soil

And here’s how to fix those indoor pots without drainage.

Step 1: Dump a layer of pebbles or rocks into your planter. You can also use perlite, but I didn’t have any on hand for this post. I did, however, have some small pebbles I needed to use for something.

Perlite would have the added benefit of keeping the planter lightweight.

Adding pebbles to a planter to create a drainage layer

Step 2: Add a coffee filter on top. Use multiple coffee filters if one doesn’t cover enough space. The filter is to help prevent the soil from getting down into the rocks while you’re planting.

The filter will deteriorate through time, but by then the soil and roots will be much more established. So this is just a temporary measure to keep things tidy.

how to plant in pots without drainage holes

Step 3: Add soil and plant!

how to plant in pots without drainage holes

There you have it, a planter with drainage. By the way, do you like this planter? Come back next Wednesday to see the full DIY for it as part of February’s 10-Minute DIYs theme. 🙂

Want to learn more about plant propagation? Check out my guides on propagating pothos plants, snake plants, peperomia, string of pearls, succulents, prickly pear cactus pads, and monstera!

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Kimm at Reinvented

Sunday 12th of February 2017

I'm pretty sure I've killed more than a few plants because I didn't do this. Great tip! Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday!

Brittany Goldwyn

Sunday 12th of February 2017

Thanks Kim! Yep, it's a life saver for plants that are finicky about having wet roots!


Monday 6th of February 2017

I have done this before, but did not use the coffee filter. I will definitely do that in the future. Thanks for the tip!


Monday 6th of February 2017


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