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Oh No! No Drainage Holes?!

Oh No! No Drainage Holes?!
Oh No! No Drainage Holes?!

So, you have found the most ADORABLE pot, but oh no! It doesn’t have drainage holes! Luckily, you can still use the pot, but you must take a little extra care and caution for your plant.

Determining how often to water and how much water to give can be tricky. In pots without drainage holes, it can be even trickier.  

It is tricky to keep succulents healthy in pots without drainage holes. Succs are typically happiest when the soil in their pot and roots dry out quickly. Drainage holes allow extra water to pass through the soil and escape through the bottom. If succulents sit in water for more than a few days, the roots may begin to rot. 

If you are a new succulent parent, we recommend sticking to pots with drainage holes. Sometimes you find a cute pot without a drainage hole or want to reuse a household item as a pot. We are here to help you keep bbs happy without drainage holes.

Tips for Pots Without Drainage Holes

Well-Draining Soil

Succulents are always happiest in well-draining soil, but it is even more important when your pot doesn’t have drainage holes. A well-draining soil allows more airflow and the water to evaporate more easily. 

A gritty mix, or pumice, will be large enough particles to allow for drainage. Pumice can be great to use in recycled glass candle jars because it gives a clean look! Try using consistent particle size, something about ¼’ in your pot. Consistent particle size will help water evaporate quickly in your pot. 

If you read our blog about creating a terrarium, you may already know the trick of adding rocks to the bottom of your pot. This “creates drainage” in your pot and keeps the soil from sitting in water. 

Watering Succulents

One of the hardest things about keeping succulents in pots without drainage holes is knowing how much water you poured in. Glass containers are helpful when starting out because you can see the water level as you add water. 

You won’t always be able to see the water level in your pot if you use something like a mug or teapot. In these cases, try measuring the amount of water you pour on your plants! Grab a measuring cup or any sort of measuring spoons. Pour a designated amount of water onto succulents and track their progress.

Your goal when watering succs is to get all of the soil wet without having excess water at the bottom of the pot. Depending on your pot, you may be able to pour extra water out or even use a towel to absorb some of the water!

Keep an eye out for symptoms of watering problems. The most common problem for plants in pots without drainage holes is overwatering. This is also the culprit of most succulent deaths. Leaves will become soggy, transparent, and you will have an overall sad-looking plant. 

Overwatered Succulent

In general, it is typically safe to give your succulent half of the volume the pot can hold in water. For example, if your pot holds about a cup of soil, you would pour ½ cup of water. Keeping a succulent journal is a great way to track how often you water and how much water you are giving succulents. 

Using the above rule of thumb can be a starting point and then adjust as needed. Listen to your plant’s signs, are the leaves becoming wrinkly? More water. Are leaves becoming transparent and squishy? Too much water. The amount of water your bb needs and frequency of watering depends on the health of your plant and the conditions in your home.

Left Leaf: Overwatered; Right Leaf: Healthy

Okay, so we have an understanding of how much water, but how do you know the frequency of waterings in a pot without drainage holes? Only water when soil is completely dry. Check by sticking your finger in the pot or use a chopstick. If the chopstick comes out completely clean, the soil should be fully dry. 

Watering when the soil is completely dry is especially important when you have a pot without drainage holes. The soil in non-draining pots typically takes longer to dry out. This gives your succulent access to water longer and can is more likely to survive with more time in between waterings. 

Remember, each succulent requires different care and will have its own watering schedule. 

Go on and grow your plant bbs without total fear of pots without drainage holes!