Any site you visit, book you read, or gardener you talk to will most probably give you the same tip: when it comes to container gardening, you have to make sure that you provide your plants with good drainage.
Now, what does good drainage mean and what role does it play?
Table of Contents:
- Why is drainage important for container plants?
- What to do when your container does not have a hole?
- Next step: Cover the holes
- Very important tips
Why is drainage important for container plants?
Plant drainage refers to the holes at the bottom of your pots which are necessary for 3 main reasons: 1) they allow excess water to drain through, 2) they provide better air movement, and 3) they help flush salt away from the soil. Without these holes, water will not have a chance to escape from the container at all, in short, water will remain stagnant. We don’t want that, especially for your plants. Not only does stagnant water attract unwanted pests, but it also causes your plants to drown due to the lack of air circulation, then leading to root rot—a seemingly irreversible condition for any plant.
To keep it short and simple, since container plants are more susceptible to drowning and suffocation, failure to provide plant drainage for your container plants would guarantee nothing good but early passing for your plants.
What to do when your container does not have a hole?
With container gardening, you can use just about any container you can find at home. However, the problem with upcycling is that these things aren’t specifically designed to be used as planters, therefore, they don’t always come with the necessary holes. But, you can easily fix this by simply drilling holes on them yourself — be sure not to make them too small nor too big, about 1/4 inch in diameter should be enough.
Next step: Cover the holes
After finally providing the needed holes, next thing on your list must be to cover them—of course, not totally, just enough to keep the soil in while still allowing water to escape.
This step may be quite tricky, but the concept is simple: find materials that won’t completely block the drainage holes.
Several options include:
- Mesh screen
- Coconut fibers
- Broken pottery
Very important tips
- Ensuring good drainage does not stop right after you secure the drainage holes. You should know that the soil you use also plays a great factor in providing your plant with good drainage. Using heavy soil like garden soil will eventually compact and block the air pockets as you water your plants, causing their roots to choke and suffocate. Instead, the best way is to use a potting soil, which is a lot lighter and more container-friendly.
- Make sure to clean your container holes thoroughly from time to time and ensure that these holes aren’t completely blocked in any way possible.