How to Plant in Non-Draining Pots


Welcome, fellow plant enthusiasts! In this article, we will explore the art of growing plants in non-draining pots. While traditional pots with drainage holes are generally preferred, there are instances where non-draining containers may be necessary, such as when displaying ornamental plants indoors or in areas where excess water runoff may cause damage. Fear not, for with proper technique and care, you can successfully plant and grow your favorite plants in non-draining pots. Below, we will detail the necessary steps, explanations, and tips for this process.


Step 1: Choose the right pot

Before planting, select a non-draining pot that is appropriate for the type of plant you wish to grow. Look for pots with enough space for the plant to grow its roots, and ensure that the pot has a stable base that won’t tip over easily.

Step 2: Add a layer of rocks or gravel

To create a drainage layer for your non-draining pot, add a layer of small rocks or gravel to the bottom of the pot. This will provide a space for excess water to collect and prevent the roots from sitting in standing water.

Step 3: Add soil

Fill the pot with soil to the appropriate level, leaving enough space for the plant’s roots.

Step 4: Plant the seedling

Gently remove the seedling from its original pot and place it in the new non-draining pot. Carefully fill in the sides with soil, pressing lightly to hold the plant in place.

Step 5: Water the plant

Water the plant, making sure to soak the soil thoroughly. Be mindful not to overwater, as the excess water cannot escape through drainage holes.

Step 6: Monitor moisture levels

Use a moisture meter or test the soil with your finger to monitor the soil’s moisture level. Avoid watering until the soil is slightly dry to the touch.

Step 7: Be mindful of plant placement

If you are growing plants indoors, choose a location that gets enough light for the type of plant you are growing. Be mindful of placing the pot in areas where it may become too hot or too cold.

Step 8: Fertilize regularly

Non-draining pots can lead to a buildup of salts in the soil, so it’s important to fertilize regularly to provide the necessary nutrients for the plant’s growth.

Step 9: Prune as necessary

Regular pruning can help promote healthy growth and prevent the plant from becoming too large for the pot.

Step 10: Repot as needed

If the plant outgrows its non-draining pot, repot it into a larger container to prevent root binding and promote optimal growth.

Step 11: Keep an eye out for pests

Be vigilant for signs of pests such as aphids or spider mites, which can quickly spread and damage the plant.

Step 12: Ensure proper airflow

Proper airflow is essential for preventing mold growth and ensuring the plant has access to the necessary carbon dioxide. Be mindful not to overcrowd your non-draining pots.

Step 13: Use a tray to collect excess water

If excess water does collect in the non-draining pot, use a tray to collect the runoff and prevent damage to surfaces.

Step 14: Clean the pot regularly

Clean the non-draining pot regularly to prevent a buildup of salts and ensure the health of the plant.

Step 15: Enjoy your flourishing plant!

With proper care and technique, your non-draining pot plant will flourish and bring joy to your space.


The art of growing plants in non-draining pots requires an understanding of the risks and benefits of this method. Without drainage holes, excess water cannot escape, which can lead to root rot and other issues. To prevent this, it is crucial to create a drainage layer with rocks or gravel and be mindful of watering frequency and quantity. Additionally, regular fertilizing and pruning are essential for promoting healthy growth in non-draining pots.

Tips and Tricks

Tip 1: Use a moisture meter

A moisture meter can help you monitor soil moisture levels without relying solely on touch.

Tip 2: Avoid watering in direct sunlight

Watering plants in direct sunlight can cause water droplets to act as magnifying glasses and potentially damage the plant.

Tip 3: Choose the right soil

Select a high-quality soil that is appropriate for the type of plant you are growing.

Tip 4: Use a saucer

Use a saucer to collect excess water and prevent damage to surfaces.

Tip 5: Group plants together

Grouping non-draining pots together can help increase humidity levels and prevent the soil from drying out too quickly.

Tip 6: Avoid standing water

Remove any excess standing water to prevent root rot and other issues.

Tip 7: Be patient

Non-draining pots require more attention and care than traditional pots, so be patient and don’t give up if you encounter setbacks.

Tip 8: Experiment and learn

Experiment with different plants and techniques to find what works best for you and your non-draining pots.

And there you have it, our comprehensive guide to planting and caring for plants in non-draining pots. With the right tools, techniques, and care, you can successfully grow a variety of plants in non-draining containers and enjoy a flourishing indoor or outdoor garden. Happy planting!

Strengths and Weaknesses: How to Plant in Non-Draining Pots


Planting in non-draining pots can have its advantages, such as:

Advantages Explanation
Portability Non-draining pots are portable and can be easily moved from one place to another without worrying about leaving a mess of water.
Flexible Watering With non-draining pots, you can control the amount of water your plants receive as you can water them as per your discretion. This ensures that your plant doesn’t get overwatered and consequently rot from the bottom.
Decorative Appeal Non-draining pots come in a variety of decorative designs and textures, which can add to the décor of your home or office.


Planting in non-draining pots can also have its disadvantages, which include:

Disadvantages Explanation
No Drainage The major disadvantage of planting in non-draining pots is that they don’t have drainage holes. Without proper drainage, plants can get waterlogged and eventually die.
Root Rot Due to excessive watering, plants in non-draining pots are more prone to root rot, which can be fatal to the plant.
Overwatering Risk Without proper drainage, it is challenging to determine how much water your plant is receiving. Overwatering can lead to the accumulation of minerals and salts that can be harmful to the plant.

Tips for Planting in Non-Draining Pots

Despite the potential risks associated with planting in non-draining pots, there are ways to ensure that your plants thrive. Here are some tips:

  • Use a well-draining potting mix that allows for proper air circulation and allows excess water to run off.
  • Add a drainage layer of stones or gravel at the bottom of your non-draining pot to ensure water doesn’t accumulate.
  • Water your plants in small amounts and occasionally to avoid waterlogging and root rot.
  • Ensure that the plant gets enough sunlight to aid in photosynthesis and help evaporate excess water.

It’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages before planting in non-draining pots. By taking appropriate precautions, you can ensure your plants thrive and add to the beauty of your home or office.


How to plant in non-draining pots?

Planting in non-draining pots is not as difficult as it seems. Here are some frequently asked questions on how to plant in non-draining pots.

1. Can plants grow in non-draining pots?

Yes, plants can grow in non-draining pots. However, it requires careful watering and soil monitoring to prevent water logging which can cause root rot and other soil-borne diseases.

2. What are the advantages of using non-draining pots?

The main advantage of using non-draining pots is their aesthetic appeal. Also, they are suitable for using indoors, and there is no fear of water spillage. The disadvantage is that they are susceptible to water logging and need careful attention to maintain soil moisture levels.

3. What soil should I use for non-draining pots?

It is recommended that you use well-draining soil for a non-draining pot. This type of soil will improve soil aeration, help maintain soil moisture, and increase nutrient availability to your plants.

4. How much soil should I use in a non-draining pot?

You should fill up your non-draining pot with soil leaving about one inch of space from the rim of the pot. This space will serve as a buffer for water and reduce the chances of water spilling over the pot.

5. Can I use gravel or stones at the bottom of a non-draining pot?

No, it is not recommended to use gravel or stones as a drainage layer at the bottom of a non-draining pot as it can lead to water logging, root rot and poor soil aeration.

6. How do I water plants in non-draining pots?

Water plants in non-draining pots lightly and frequently. Water should evenly moisten the soil, but don’t overdo it to avoid water logging. Watering is best done when the soil is dry to the touch, and the plant is visibly wilting.

7. How can I improve soil drainage in non-draining pots?

You can improve soil drainage by avoiding over-watering, adding sand, perlite, peat moss or other amendments to the soil, and by using a quality, well-draining soil mix.

8. How can I prevent water-logging in non-draining pots?

To prevent water-logging in non-draining pots, ensure that excess water is drained out after watering, and avoid over-watering the soil. Additionally, you can place a layer of activated charcoal or rocks under the soil to absorb excess water.

9. Is it practical to drill holes in non-draining pots?

Yes, it is practical to drill holes in non-draining pots if you need to improve soil drainage for your plants. However, it would be best if you have experience using tools and can drill carefully to avoid breaking your pot.

10. What are some alternatives to using non-draining pots?

You can use grow bags with built-in drainage, self-watering pots, or add drainage holes to your current pot using a diamond-tip drill bit.

11. How often should I fertilize plants growing in non-draining pots?

Fertilize your plants once or twice a week with a balanced fertilizer. However, be careful not to over-fertilize your plants as it can cause damage and become toxic.

12. Can I plant any plant in a non-draining pot?

Not all plants can thrive in non-draining pots, and some will require more attention to ensure soil moisture levels do not cause issues. Some plant varieties that are suitable for non-draining pots include cacti, succulents, herbs, and foliage plants that prefer the soil to be moist.

13. Can I overwinter outdoor plants in non-draining pots?

It is not recommended to overwinter outdoor plants in non-draining pots as soil moisture can freeze and damage the roots. It is best to transplant your plants to a larger, well-draining pot with drainage holes as winter approaches.


In conclusion, planting in non-draining pots is an interesting and unique way to plant your favorite plants. While it is not a conventional gardening method, it does have its advantages. For starters, it allows you to plant without having to worry about drainage, which can be a significant issue in areas where water is scarce. Additionally, it offers more flexibility in terms of where you can place your pots, as you do not have to worry about them being in a location that is too wet or too dry.

However, it is important to note that planting in non-draining pots does require a certain level of expertise. If you are new to gardening or are not sure what you are doing, it is best to start with more traditional methods. Additionally, you need to be sure that you are using the correct materials and techniques when planting in non-draining pots to ensure that your plants thrive.

Ultimately, whether you choose to plant in a non-draining pot or not, it is important to always research and educate yourself on the best practices for gardening. With the right knowledge and tools, you can create a beautiful and thriving garden that will bring you joy and relaxation for years to come.