sand, blush and white colored 5 inch ceramic pots potted with marble queen pothos, needle point ivy, and calathea beauty start houseplants

Do Plant Holders Need Holes? Find Out Which Ones, Why, and How To!

We’ve all witnessed a sad drooping plant and tried to troubleshoot, wondering if we’ve over or under watered! 

The delicate balance of keeping your indoor plants healthy can be a tricky subject, but one of the main problems with keeping indoor plants looking their best is inadequate drainage.

How do you make sure your beloved indoor greenery isn’t waterlogged? Do plant holders need holes? 

In our helpful article, we will give you the definitive answer! But first, here’s a little summary of the most important takeaway. 

In the majority of cases, plants need some type of drainage. With the exception of a few aquatic plants, plants will need to be in a pot with drainage holes.

If it’s not possible to put holes in the pot, it’s best to double pot (we recommend this for our BRAID & WOODPlant HangersMore on that later. 

Ok so with the short answer in mind, let’s first take a look at why most house plants need adequate drainage and what happens if there aren’t any holes in your plant holders. 

Why Do I Need To Put Holes In Plant Holders? 

The unfortunate thing is once a plant’s roots begin to rot, there is usually nothing that can be done to save it. 

Root Rot

Waterlogged plants are not healthy or happy. One of the chief symptoms of failing to put holes in plant holders is a disease called root rot. 

Waterlogged soil can lead to root rot, a serious condition that can easily kill your plants.

Signs of root rot include wilted leaves that don’t perk up after watering, yellow leaves, and leaf drop.

If you remove the plant from the container, you may see brown or black roots which look mushy or slimy. 

Salt Build-Up

Another important reason to make sure that there is adequate drainage holes in pots and plant holders is to prevent excessive salt build-up. 

Some fertilizers and plant food can cause harmful salts which result in an unhealthy plant. It’s worth knowing that even tap water has salts that can cause deposits in the roots of your plants. 

As plants take in the water through their roots, the salt is left behind which can build up over time. 

By having drainage holes in the pot the salts will be flushed out of the soil and through the drainage holes.

The unfortunate thing is once a plant’s roots begin to rot, there is usually nothing that can be done to save it.

How Do I Know If My Plant Has Salt Deposits?

It’s quite easy to see if your houseplant has excessive salt deposits. Here’s a few things to look for: 

  • Brown leaves
  • Brown crispy edges or tips on leaves
  • Whitish crust of salt on the top of your plants soil

If salts do build up in your potting soil, you may see plan’s leaves turning brown.

drooping houseplants

Which Plants Need Drainage Holes In Plant Holders?

You might be wondering if all plants need to be in pots with holes, so read on to find out more.

Plants in pots without drainage holes are prone to become overwatered. Even if the soil surface appears dry, the soil at the bottom of the pot may be sopping wet.

With the exception of a few aquatic plants, plant roots don’t like to sit in water.

They need to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the air, and excess water closes off the air pockets in the soil.

So if your beautiful ceramic pot didn’t come with any drainage holes, there are a few things you can do to ensure your oasis of greenery doesn’t become sad and waterlogged!

With the exception of a few aquatic plants, plant roots don’t like to sit in water.

How To Keep Your Houseplants From Becoming Waterlogged

terracotta pots with money plant

Remove Water From Saucer

Many homeowners keep their houseplants sitting in saucers to protect the furniture or floor from drips

This is fine, but make sure water does not sit in the saucer, where it can wick right back into the potting soil.

Make sure you regularly remove the water from the saucer. 

You could also try watering your plants in the kitchen sink, then moving them back to the saucers after they drain.

Drill Drainage Holes 

If you are able to use a drill, you can create your own drainage holes in your planter. 

Finding the right bit is important to make sure you can properly penetrate the material of your plant pot. 

terracotta pot with drainage hole for houseplant

Tile or glass bit: for glazed ceramic pots

Normal bit: metal and plastic pots

Masonry bit: for unglazed ceramic pots

houseplants in ceramic pots

Tips For Drilling Drainage Holes In Pots 

Once you’ve worked out which bit you need, then insert the appropriate 1/2-inch bit into the drill.

Spread some newspaper on the surface you’re drilling on. Ensure the surface is as flat as possible 

Place the pot upside down on the paper.

Mark the spots you plan to drill. You need at least one drainage hole, which is usually placed in the center of the pot base.

You may add more holes for large-diameter pots, such as three holes arranged in a triangular pattern. 

Keep holes at least 1 inch from the edge of the pot, and about 2 inches from the other holes.

What If I Don’t Feel Comfortable Drilling Holes In A Ceramic Pot?

The Double Potting System

This method typically consists of potting up your plant in a smaller container with drainage holes, then placing the smaller pot inside the larger decorative pot.

For our modern indoor Plant Hanger, we suggest leaving your plant in it’s grow pot! Then, just place the grow pot into the decorative pot – here are some of our favorite pots from our online shop – perfectly sized for your Plant Hanger. 

The Double Potting System:

An easy way to keep your houseplants healthy and happy! Leave your plant in the nursery container with drainage holes so it’s easy to remove for watering, and to allow adequate drainage!

Every time you need to water, simply remove the grow pot or smaller container and water it in the sink. When it’s finished draining, replace it in the decorative pot. Easy peasy, and you won’t damage the beautiful hardwood base of your BRAID & WOOD modern indoor Plant Hanger.

So now we’ve explored whether plant holders need holes and found the answer, you might be wondering if there are any plants that can be planted in a holder without holes!

Let’s find out more below.

Are There Any Plants That Don’t Need Holes? 

So glad you asked! Here’s a cute and handy visual guide to remind you which plants do not need drainage holes so you can avoid the extra step of drilling holes or shopping for a specialized planter. 

Plants that don’t require holes in a stylish ceramic pot are always going to be a little less troublesome and easy to plant and enjoy! 

The care requirements of these popular indoor plants will be significantly less than those types which require more in terms of drainage and other daily management: 

Snake Plant

Oleander Plant

Spider Plant

Pineapple

Chinese Evergreen

Kupukupu Fern

Crotons

Dumbcane

Pothos

Cordyline

Schefflera

Rough horsetail

Succulents 

Drainage Level for Pothos

And finally…

We hope that’s helped anyone who’s wondering whether plant pots need holes and if they don’t have holes, what you can do to make sure your plants have all the adequate drainage to stay healthy and happy!

Don’t forget to pop by our store for our range of beautiful ceramic pots and plant hangers in gorgeous neutral colorways such as sand, salt, and grey. Bring a touch of modern to your indoor greenery.

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