Do Succulents Need To Drain – What You Should Know

Last Updated on July 5, 2021 by Marco C.

So a lot of you are asking do succulents need to drain? For first-time moms, it can be a challenge to plant succulents. While succulents are so pretty when grown together, they have different requirements for growing successfully.
This is why it is important to reserve some time to take care of them. One of the ways to help them grow healthily is to provide a drainage hole for their pots. Drainage allows for excess water to seep out of the container. It helps prevent moisture from collecting at the base of the pot.
Drainage is a big deal for succulents. This is because succulents are naturally sun-loving plants. They can hold water in their tissues, leaves, and stems. If they sit in water for too long, their roots may become at risk of rotting.
Some people are strict about having drainage holes in all planters. Others do not care about holes. If you have a container you want to use for planting succulents and cacti but you’re concerned about drainage issues, follow these tips.
So do succulents need drainage? The answer is a big YES.
Most pots usually come with a drain hole. However, if the beautiful pot you have bought has no hole, that leaves you the option of whether to drill or not.
Well, drilling a hole into the planter is an option. If you have a ceramic pot, you need to use a small hand drill to make a small hole. A hand drill makes it easier for you to drill the hole without breaking the pot.
Before drilling, place the flower pot upside down on a hard flat surface. Then drill from the outside of the pot to the inside. Clay pots may not require a hand drill. Since clay pots have weaker bottoms, you can use a sharp stick or a knife.
Similarly, place the pot on a hard flat surface. Then carve a hole in a circular motion using the sharp edge of the knife. For small succulent pots, a small hole in the center is enough. Large pots may need a couple of drainage around the bottom.
You can design the drain holes by drilling one hole in the middle and another six holes around it.
planting succulents in containers without drainage

What To Consider Before Drilling

Is it costly to drill a hole? Would it cost more to drill a hole or to buy a pot with drainage?
There are several beautiful ceramic pots sold in the market that do not have holes. This leaves you no choice but to DIY drain holes.
Generally, it is not too costly to drill a hole if you have a drill. Well, most people already have a drill at home. If you do not have a drill, you can buy a battery-operated hand drill. It is less expensive than bigger hand drills.
A diamond drill is a less costly option you can buy too. You can think of it as a good investment when you consider the amount of usage you will get out of it. When you have a hand drill you don’t have to worry about buying pots that do not have holes in them.
On the other hand, you also need to consider what you value more. Do you give more value to the plant or the pot? If you’re buying a very expensive pot without a hole, you might as well reconsider drilling a hole in it for the risk of damaging it.
Aside from that, once you have drilled a hole into something, there is no turning back. It’s permanent. If you have many pots in your home that you can recycle for your succulents, you might as well buy a drill.
Remember that succulents can still grow in many other types of pots so long as there is drainage. Plus the type of soil, temperature, and watering frequency matter.
Sometimes there are just too few designs available for pots with holes. If you are a beginner, you can start with less costly pots that already come with drainage. Collect as many succulents as you can. Once you’ve got a great family, then it is time to invest in bigger and more expensive decorative pots you can drill.

Planting Succulents In Containers Without Drainage

Quite surprisingly, planting succulents in containers without drainage is possible. It all depends on how you care for them.
The biggest challenge that you might encounter in pots without drainage is watering. The key to growing a healthy succulent in a pot without drainage is having a good watering technique.
Remember, excessive watering can be detrimental to succulents. When the pot does not have a hole, it can retain water which will eventually affect the roots of your succulents.
Here are some tips you can follow.

Add A Layer Of Rocks and Pebbles To The Bottom Of The Pot

It helps prevent root rot by allowing excess water to drain out of the soil and into the rocks at the bottom. It speeds up drying and prevents your succulent from sitting on the water for too long.
If your pot is small, you can simply use pumice.
The smaller the pot, the lesser rocks you need. Aside from adding a drainage layer, you can also mix pumice with your cactus potting mix. Adding bigger particles into the soil makes more space between them. It allows water to drain faster.

Use Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal helps absorb excess water. It also has natural antimicrobial properties that help prevent fungal growth. Add a layer of activated charcoal at the bottom of the pot or over the rock layer.

Waterless Frequently

Finally, water only once every four weeks depending on how slow the water drains. When watering, allow plants to dry out in between watering. Then feel the soil for moisture. It is the soil is already wet, you can leave it to drain and water only when the soil becomes dry again.
We hope this blog has answered the most common question: “do succulents need to drain?”.  Stay tuned for more tips for succulent moms.
Read more about: How Long Do Succulents Take To Grow From Seeds

Leave a Comment