Do pots need drainage holes?

Do pots need drainage holes? It is preferable that pots have drainage holes as it reduces the chance of root rot, fungus gnats and becoming overwatered. We all love to make sure our plants are watered, but once we give too much water and there's no drainage, this can cause too much damage to your plants. 

We offer free plastic nursery pots (with drainage) with our ceramic Switchapots so you can easily remove & drain water with ease.

While purchasing a houseplant, it is noteworthy to consider a number of factors that would ensure a greater chance of its survival in the limited house space. It is never recommended to simply buy a houseplant due to its aesthetics and beauty. Some of the essentials that need to be direly considered are its lighting, humidity, water needs, and whether it possesses one of the prerequisite functional features, i-e a drainage hole.

We often find ourselves asking the question whether it is really inadvisable and unwise to keep plants into pots without drainage holes.

Rigorous research indicates how there are three primary reasons why plants and plant pots need drainage holes. These functional features are essential in allowing water to drain from the soil. Additionally, a drainage hole offers an adequate airflow, as well as the regular flushing of salts from the soil layers.

When a plant fails to have a drainage hole, it is highly likely that the moisture is unable to escape the plant pots. It tends to accumulate at the pot’s bottom, consequentially harming the plant in multiple manner. The plant may become over watered. While the soil has already absorbed the moisture which was needed for the plant, there is still a surplus amount left behind. When the plant soil fails to dry out swiftly, the plant becomes overwatered.

Even those species of plants that are acclimatized to having perpetually damp soil face difficulty in having their ‘feet wet’ for such a long period of time. Identical to the case of saturated soil, prolonged settling of water in the roots of the plant for quite long may lead to a condition called ‘root rot’. This is identified as an unfortunate, irreversible condition for the plant which may be one of the ways leading to their untimely expiry.

It is also suggested how overly damp and inadequately draining soil may also contribute to root rot conditions for plants. While a plant parent may be inclined towards providing ample amounts of water to the plant, the absence of a drainage hole in the plant pot gradually rots its roots.

Considering the case of potting a plant without having a drainage hole, there have been multiple contradicting notions amongst the global horticulturalist community. However, professionals in the field state how it is not only possible, but also preferable in some circumstances to use a plant pot without a drainage hole, especially when planting indoor tropical species. It is argued by a proportion of the expert community how plant pots without drainage holes provide a protective, clean, leak-free, and visually pleasing outlook, whilst also contributing to the prevention of floor damage, particularly for larger pots which can often be challenging and demanding to move. What needs to be noted, however, is to provide a largely sufficient drainage layer, so as to drain away the excess water from the root system.

To conclude, it can be stated that most plant species perform better when they are potted with a drainage hole. It is a predominantly important feature to control the flow of water in outdoor plants. On the contrary, indoor plant species can continue to bloom and thrive without the need for drainage holes, provided that they are receiving adequate amount of water.

 Shop our range of ceramic plant pots online at Switchapot - all our pots come with a nursery plastic pot (with drainage) so you can swap them with other pots from our store.