How to Plant in a Container without Drainage Holes

Ideally, plant containers have holes for drainage when you purchase them, but as most gardeners know, the perfect vessel may not always come ready with drainage holes for your plants. We’ve all been there – you’ve found the most beautiful vessel for your plants, then get home and realize it doesn’t have a drainage hole.  Drilling a hole in these containers is sometimes an option, but if for any reason you not want to do so, it is still possible to plant in just about any container provided you take steps to create a more ideal environment.

Step 1: Layer the Bottom of the Container with Landscaping Rocks

Your landscaping rocks should be about 2-3 inches deep. For this project, we used pea gravel. ⅜ river jacks are another good option, or if you’re using a clear container, decorative stones in any variety or color will work just fine.

If you’re container is tall and needs more than 2-3 inches of rocks, cut landscape fabric to the size of the container and line the bottom with however many layers you need underneath the rocks. This works best with containers that you cannot see through since it is not particularly attractive. Just something to keep in mind!

Step 2: Add Horicultural Charcoal

Charcoal absorbs moisture from the pot, conditions the soil, and prevents odor. This layer is thin, and you should still be able to see the tops of some of the rocks after adding your charcoal. A little charcoal goes a long way.

Step 3: Fill with Potting Soil

Fill your pot about halfway to the top with soil. The amount you add during this step will depend on the size of the plant you have selected as well as its root system. We recommend our Merrifield Potting Mix, which is what we have used for this project.

Step 4: Transfer Your Plant

Remove your plant from its grow pot, loosen up the roots of the plant and then place in your container. Add additional soil to the pot where needed after the plant is in place.

Water and Maintain

To ensure you water your plant properly, check out our watering guidelines. If you have more questions, stop by or call one of our Merrifield Garden Center locations to speak with a plant specialist!

If you have any gardening pictures or tips, we would love to see! Tag us on Instagram or Facebook @merrifieldgardencenter for a chance to be featured on our page.