It is feasible to utilize a container without drainage holes, but it shouldn’t be kept in a location where it could get wet or drown. In these kinds of containers, watering needs to be regularly managed as well. Because succulents’ roots are shallow, a shallow bowl or pot is ideal. 2.
Succulents can be planted without a drain hole.
Whether you’ve planted succulents before or not, you probably already know that the subject of drainage holes comes up very frequently. What makes drainage holes crucial? They help prevent moisture from accumulating at the pot’s base by allowing extra water to seep out of the container.
Because succulents store water in their tissues, leaves, and stems, this is a significant concern. They are vulnerable to root rot if submerged in water for an extended period of time. Some folks are rigid about all planters having drainage holes.
Some people don’t care as much about holes. Here are some things to think about if you have a container that you really want to use for growing succulents and cacti but you’re worried about drainage problems.
To Drill or Not to Drill?
You can certainly drill a hole into the planter, and you don’t need to be skilled with tools to do so. How to start drilling a hole in ceramic, glass, etc. is covered in a ton of free video tutorials. Please click on “How to Grow Succulents in Pots without Holes” for detailed instructions on how to drill a hole in glass or ceramic containers.
Things to Consider Before Drilling a Hole
What would drilling a hole cost you? Would it be more expensive to buy a pot with drainage or to drill a hole? Most households already have a drill.
Most likely, all you need to spend money on are some reasonably priced diamond drill bits. When you consider how much use you will get out of a drill, even if you don’t already own one and must buy one, you might view the purchase as a wise financial decision.
You must decide which item you value more, the plant or the pot. You might want to think twice before drilling a hole in a particularly expensive pot that you spent a lot of money on or perhaps an antique. Additionally, once a hole has been made in something, there is truly no going back; it is irreversible.
So think about which is more essential to you: the plants’ value or the container’s value. Succulent plants are fortunately inexpensive and simple to replace. The reason we adore them so much is that they are extremely simple to cultivate and spread.
Do Succulents Need Drainage?
Succulents in pots—can they thrive without drainage? In light of this, you’ve made the decision to plant the succulents in a container without holes. How long will they be able to survive? Succulents can live and even flourish in pots without holes, so yes, they can. Everything hinges on how you take care of the plants.
The main issue that individuals have is with irrigation. Succulents can suffer from people overwatering them, which is bad for the plants. Succulents can flourish for a long time in pots without drainage after you understand how to properly water them.
Here is evidence that succulents can thrive in containers without drainage for a long time. In this instance, the container failed much earlier than the plants. The containers of these plants have outlived them. The plants are still flourishing, as you can see. They spent around two years in this container. How did I manage to keep them around this long? primarily from utilizing the right potting material and adequate watering practices.
I’ve attempted to repair this in the past with hot glue. I decided to repot these plants after around two years.
How to Plant Succulents in Pots without Holes
You can make a layer for drainage in the bottom of the pot by adding a layer of rocks, pebbles, stones, or pumice (or a combination of these). By allowing extra water to flow out of the soil and into the rocks at the bottom, this can help prevent root rot. By enabling the water to drain from the soil more quickly and keeping the roots from spending too much time in moist soil, this helps prevent root rot.
Think about how big the pot is. You will primarily need pebbles, pumice, or smaller rocks if your pot is small. You’ll need bigger and more rocks the bigger the pot.
You can incorporate pebbles, boulders, pumice, or perlite into the cactus potting mix in addition to the drainage layer. Adding larger particles to the soil, which is typically highly compact, generates more space between them, allowing water to drain out more quickly and preventing the roots from soaking in damp soil for an extended period of time.
The aid of activated charcoal aids in water absorption. Additionally, it has inherent antibacterial qualities that can inhibit the growth of germs and fungi. A layer of activated charcoal, about 1/2 inch thick, can be added over the rock layer or in the bottom of the pot.
Although it is optional, activated charcoal is a nice choice to have if you want more drainage and absorption. It might not be possible to utilize activated charcoal if the pot you’re using is small. Please visit my resource page to learn where to buy activated charcoal online.
You’ll need extra dirt as the container gets bigger. More soil indicates that the soil can hold more water. Consider the plants you are utilizing while selecting the pot size.
Large containers are unnecessary for small plants. When repotting, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that the new pot shouldn’t be more than 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the old one. Succulents don’t require a lot of extra space because they prefer a small pot anyway.
How to Water Succulents Without Drainage
Your watering strategies are the key to the plants’ survival in pots without holes. Keep in mind that extra water cannot drain from the pot, so water the plant sparingly. You should take particular care when watering plants without holes if you tend to overwater your plants. In between waterings, let plants dry out, then check the soil for moisture.
Use a syringe, a spray bottle, or a squeeze bottle if you want to better manage the water you put into the containers. Make sure to spray the soil, not the plant’s surface, while using a spray bottle. You want the water to reach the plant’s roots so that it can be absorbed there.
The size of your container, the growing season, and the environment where you reside all have a significant role in when and how often you should water. The dry and growing season tends to increase the need for water on plants. Plants require less water during the slower growing season and cooler months. I normally observe the plant to determine when and how frequently to water it. In general, I water once every 7 to 10 days throughout the summer and less frequently, once every 10 to 14 days or more, during the cooler months.
My plants receive plenty of sunlight because I keep them outside the entire year. Additionally, my area is rather dry, and the midday sun may be quite warm. You don’t need to water as frequently if you reside in a humid climate.
Water the plants sparingly to begin with and then increase the amount as necessary. Until you determine the plants’ watering requirements, it is preferable to underwater rather than overwater.
If you mistakenly added too much water, you can carefully tilt the pot over while holding the plants in place to prevent them from falling out to drain the extra water. To dab the extra water, you can also use a dry towel or paper towel.
If you keep your plants outdoors, be sure to transfer the pots without holes to a shaded area when it looks like it could rain. Pour away the extra water as soon as you can if you forget to move the pots and it rains on them.
When your plants begin to shrivel, that’s a strong indication that they need more water. Usually, the leaves are the first to do this. You are typically underwatering if you touch a plant and it feels soft and unfull of water.
Time to Repot
Let’s assume that despite your efforts, the plants are not growing healthily. Not to worry. Succulents are extremely tolerant plants. The plants can be taken out and replanted elsewhere. When given the necessary care, they frequently recover quickly.
In this instance, the pot isn’t doing well, but the plants are. I potted these plants in the following manner. I took stem cuttings and placed them in several pots because I wanted them to grow more. As usual, I added perlite to a cactus potting mix for enhanced drainage.
They were divided into two pots. Jade clippings from a prior project were also included. My favored method for propagating and expanding my collection of succulents is stem cuttings. It seems to me to be the most straightforward and successful. For further information, please click on “Easiest Way to Propagate Succulents: via Stem Cuttings.”
Can succulents be grown in just rocks?
It should be obvious that succulents will thrive when planted in rocks given these circumstances. They drain very well and do not retain water, which eliminates the possibility of root rot. This does not include another component of soil, though, since all plants need nutrients.
Although succulents are not particularly hungry plants, they do need certain nutrients to grow. Other micronutrients like zinc or iron are needed in smaller levels, whereas macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are essential. The plant won’t grow at all or last very long without these nutrients.
By their very nature, rocks don’t release nutrients quickly enough to keep the plants alive. They are composed of minerals, but since they decompose so slowly over time, they are not appropriate for growing on their own. Additionally, they often don’t retain enough moisture, allowing the roots to quickly dry out after draining practically instantly.
Sadly, this means that succulents cannot thrive permanently without soil in rocks. If not given regular care, they may survive for several weeks or even months on the nutrients found in the stems and leaves.
Without any holes for drainage, how can I water my plants?
One of the most crucial abilities a plant parent must know is how to water a houseplant. In contrast to what we typically believe, overwatering is more frequently the cause of plant failure than dry soil. We frequently emphasize the significance of holes at the bottom of pots because holes allow extra water to drain away from the plant’s roots, preventing overwatering. What happens, though, if your preferred container lacks a drain hole? While perhaps not ideal, the absence of drain holes is also not a deal breaker; you will just need to take a few extra safety measures. We’ll discuss how to water your favorite houseplants in their favorite containers, whether or not they have drain holes, in this article.
For Containers with Drain Holes
It can be challenging to strike the correct balance between under- and over-watering, but if your container contains drain holes, the characteristics of the potting mix itself will support your efforts. Professional potting mix is constructed of a unique blend of organic ingredients including peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and pine bark, unlike the soil we find outside. These components provide a fluffy, light substrate that promotes healthy plant growth by holding exactly the correct amount of moisture close to the roots and allowing extra moisture to swiftly evaporate. In addition to providing the roots with the necessary oxygen and preventing harmful cases of bacterial rot, a good airy potting mix allows the proper quantity of air to circulate around the roots. The enhanced drainage properties of a commercial potting mix work best when drain holes are present to allow the extra water to drain away, regardless of whether the mix is a classic potting mix used with many of our tropical houseplants or it’s a specialty mix created especially for plants like cacti or orchids.
Therefore, the ideal way to water most plants in a container with drain holes is to fill the pot with water until the potting mix is totally moist from top to bottom, then allow the extra water drain out the holes. When should we water our lawn? For many houseplants, such as dracaena, pothos, philodendrons, and rubber plants, to mention a few, we advise delaying additional watering until the top inch or two of the potting mix has dried up. The frequency of those occurrences is influenced by a number of variables, including the temperature, humidity, the plant’s root system, and the amount of light it receives. For instance, indoor plants in bright light frequently require more watering than indoor plants in dim light. But there are other kinds of houseplants as well. Some plants, including cactus and sansevieria, require their potting soil to almost fully dry up before receiving any additional water. Others, like as ferns and prayer plants, prefer a fairly constant moisture level. You’ll develop a watering schedule that satisfies your plants’ needs as you learn more about them and come to know them on an individual basis. Drain holes assist you in figuring it out by preventing an excessive amount of water from remaining close to the roots.
For Containers Without
However, it’s not necessarily a bad thing if your preferred container doesn’t have a drain hole. You won’t discover holes in many of the most exquisite and attractive ceramic containers. They won’t be present in glass used for terrariums either. However, plants can also be effectively raised in these kinds of containers by plant parents.
The simplest approach to use a container without any holes is to simply leave it empty. Instead, use it as a decorative sleeve over a different, more practical container that already has holes in it. Our collection’s indoor plants are all packaged in sturdy plastic “grow pots with great drainage. Drop the plant into the decorative container while still in its current pot. When it’s time to water, lift the plant and grow pot out, fill the sink or bathtub with water, and let it soak up all the water. It can then be placed back into the attractive container. This procedure, known as “staging” or “double-potting,” makes the most of the grow pot’s advantageous drainage system as well as the aesthetics of the outer pot. This strategy works well for plants that are sensitive to overwatering, such as cacti. Regarding appearance, it could be difficult to detect that you haven’t planted directly into the decorative pot if the two pots are comparable in size and fit together well. If necessary, you can also cover your two-pot setup with a layer of sphagnum moss or greenery on top of the potting soil. If you use a decorative layer, make sure to move it aside sometimes to check the moisture level of the soil.
The double-potting technique may be excellent for the plant, but it isn’t always feasible for the plant parent. Perhaps the decorative pot doesn’t fit the grow pot very well. Perhaps the plant is so large that moving and lifting it to water it will be impossible. Then, it is also possible to place your houseplant directly into a container without any holes; you will just need to pay closer attention to your plant’s cues on whether or not it requires additional water. Remember that any water you add to the potting mix in this case will remain there until the plant uses it all. Therefore, plants that don’t mind spending a lot of time resting in a little more damp, such maidenhair ferns and Venus fly traps, work best potted directly into containers without any holes. You’ll need to water sparingly for houseplants that like their potting soil to dry up a bit before their next sip. You need to carefully pour just enough water to adequately saturate the soil surrounding the roots without waterlogging the potting mix and leaving water lingering in the bottom of the container, as opposed to thoroughly soaking the potting mix as you would if there were drain holes. This is simpler to perform with a glass container since you can see the potting mix and determine when to stop adding water. Do these containers require a little more effort to water plants than they would if they had drain holes to assist? Yes, but having access to that wonderful ceramic pot that fits in your home so well? No doubt worth it. For instance, Dana Howerter, our creative director, grows a lot of her plants, both big and little, in glassware just because she likes the way it looks in her house.
What to Watch For
Finding a watering schedule that works for you and your plant collection, whether or not your container includes holes, is a learning process. Plants have unique methods of expressing their requirements, and if you pay close attention to them, you can use them to your advantage. If the container lacks any drainage holes, it is extremely crucial to keep an eye out for these symptoms. It’s time to water again, for example, if you are aware that it has been a while since you last watered and the plant begins to look a little wilty or, in the case of a succulent, shrivels. When a foliage plant begins to wilt but you’ve recently watered it and the soil is still damp, it might be trying to inform you that you overwatered it and it’s not getting enough oxygen to its roots. A foliage plant’s leaves might become yellow or get black patches from overwatering, which is a sign of a bacterial or fungal illness. In this situation, relocate the plant to a more sunny area, skip watering for a few days, and check to see if the plant recovers. If not, you might need to unpot the plant, remove the old potting soil, and replace it with fresh soil. As usual, please speak with a member of our greenhouse staff if you have any questions about how to properly water the different plants in your collection or if something alarming occurs. We’ll be glad to assist.
Even though most of your plants and you will find that using pots with drain holes is the easiest option, don’t let that discourage you from using a container without them. Whatever planter you decide on, with time you’ll learn to detect the signals your plant puts out regarding its water needs and be able to know what to do to keep it happy and healthy for a very long time.