Easiest way to use pots without drainage holes

Maybe you’ve heard, or maybe you know from experience that you can quickly kill a plant by planting it directly in a pot without drainage holes. I think we’ve all been there before; we see that perfect planter only to realize that it doesn’t have a drainage hole. Sure, you can get holes drilled in your pots, but that can be a hassle. Then, once you have a drainage hole, you need a saucer to catch the excess water, but this can be hard to find and may even ruin the look that you are trying to achieve. 

Why do we care about drainage?

Drainage is a must for thriving plants! Proper drainage allows the soil and roots to breathe. Without proper drainage, you can experience the dreaded root rot, which can quickly kill a plant. When you plant directly in the ground, excess moisture gets wicked into the surrounding soil away from the roots and the roots can travel underground to find dryer or wetter soil depending on it’s needs. In a pot, it’s up to you to provide the perfect environment for your plants. One of the easiest ways to make sure that you are providing proper drainage is by having a pot that has a drainage hole. 

But what if your pot doesn’t have a drainage hole?

Nest it! This method is by far my favorite way to make use of pots without drainage holes. There’s no need to drill any holes and you don’t need any extra tools or equipment!

How to nest your plants

Step 1: Select a decorative pot without a drainage hole

With nesting, you won’t need a saucer so you can save the extra money. When choosing a pot, keep in mind that it needs to be large enough to fit your plant comfortably. Overtime, you will accumulate a nice collection of decorative pots without drainage holes to choose from.

Pot without drainage holes
5 inch decorative pot without drainage holes

Step 2: Choose a plant for your pot

Select a plant that is still in a plastic nursery pot. If you are using a plant that is already repotted from it’s original plastic pot, you need to pot it back into a plastic nursery pot. If you threw yours away, don’t worry, many nurseries will have ones you can buy for super cheap or even for free! Since I started nesting, I save all of my plastic nursery pots specifically for use with my pots without drainage holes.

I have picked a 4 inch ‘Neon’ Pothos to go in my 5 inch decorative pot

Step 3:Place plant (still in plastic pot) inside decorative pot

I am not really a fan of the plastic pot sticking up above the decorative pot’s edge. If the decorative pot you want to use is a little too deep for your plant, you can place rocks in the bottom of the decorative pot. This will help lift the plant and will also prevent your plant from sitting in water.

When watering, it is important that you either take your plant out of the decorative pot to water or, if you leave it in, you discard any excess water that your plant has not absorbed after about an hour.

'Neon' Pothos nested in a pot without drainage holes
‘Neon’ Pothos nested in decorative pot

When it’s time to repot, you can use another plastic growers pot and place that in a larger decorative pot. This makes for a quick and easy repotting experience. You can now use the original decorative pot for one of your other beauties! 

Nesting is especially nice if you are like me and enjoy experimenting with different plant, pot combos. Try it out, I think you will find that it is absolutely the easiest way to use pots without drainage holes!

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