Drainage holes allow water to seep out of the potting mix, preventing problems associated with overwatering. However, too much drainage can cause problems like your soil washing out, which leads to nutrient-deficient soil.
One easy way to seal drainage holes in plastic pots is with a hot glue gun. Place a few drops of hot glue around the inside edge of the pot below the drainage hole and press firmly to secure it. You can also use spackle or plaster of Paris for a more permanent solution.
This article will give 11 proven ways to seal drainage holes so that your pots stay watertight! We will also talk about why you might want to do this in the first place.
1. Use Hot Glue
Using hot glue is one of the quickest and easiest ways to seal drainage holes in plastic pots. Follow these steps:
- Gather your supplies: a hot glue gun, glue sticks, and scissors.
- Plug in your hot glue gun and let it heat up for about 5 minutes.
- Cut off a small piece of the glue stick and insert it into the back of the gun.
- Slowly apply pressure on the trigger and wait for the glue to ooze out of the tip of the gun.
- Now you’re ready to begin sealing! Aim at any part of your pot where you want to seal a hole or cover up an area that looks rough or unfinished.
The melted glue will act like putty as it hardens around the area and will seal off any gaps or holes. Once finished, let your pot cool for about 15 minutes before using it for any plants or flowers.
2. Use Spackle
Spackle is a compound used to fill gaps and cracks in walls, but it is also ideal for sealing drainage holes in plastic pots. The best type of spackle to use is non-shrinking spackle, which can be found at any hardware store.
You’ll need a putty knife or other tool to apply the spackle. Before starting, make sure the drainage hole is dry. Then, scoop some spackle onto your putty knife and spread it around the edges of the hole. Once dry, it will form a waterproof barrier between the soil and the drainage hole.
3. Use Silicone Sealant
Silicone sealant is another great option as you’re likely to find it at any hardware store and it comes in several different colors, so you can match it with your pot color if desired.
This material will create a tight seal over a hole of any size and doesn’t break down over time like other materials might.
To seal a drainage hole with silicone sealant:
- Make sure the area around the hole is clean and free of dirt or debris.
- Apply a thin bead of sealant around the edges of the hole.
- Use a wet finger or damp cloth to smooth out any excess sealant.
- Allow it to dry completely.
4. Use Plumber’s Putty
Plumber’s putty is another popular choice that’s readily available at hardware stores and comes in different colors, allowing you to match the sealing material with your pot color if you wish.
To apply plumber’s putty:
- Knead it into a ball then roll it into a snake-like shape about ½ inch (1.27 cm) thick, or thicker if needed.
- Place this shape around all sides of the hole, making sure there are no gaps or air pockets between the putty and pot surface.
- Allow it to sit until fully cured before using your pot again.
5. Use Epoxy
The other method you can use for sealing drainage holes in plastic pots is epoxy resin.
You’ll need these tools:
- Stir sticks.
- Cups, which you’ll use for mixing.
- Latex gloves to protect your hands.
- Scissors to cut off the excess resin after it’s cured.
- Sandpaper to smooth out any rough surfaces.
- Denatured alcohol, which you’ll need for cleaning.
After gathering the tools above and the epoxy resin, follow this process:
- Measure equal parts resin and hardener into separate mixing cups, then stir them together until their consistency is even. It should look like syrup but not be too runny or too thick.
- Pour enough resin over each drainage hole until all areas are covered.
- Scrape away any excess material with a stir stick.
- Leave the resin to cure overnight or for twenty-four hours if possible. A good option is to simply cover up your drainage holes with stickers or cloth. Stickers are especially useful if you have small drainage holes that need covering since they won’t block airflow and water flow completely.
- After the epoxy is cured, use sandpaper or scissors to trim away any excess cured resin, then take some denatured alcohol and rub it over any remaining residue until all surfaces are smooth once again.
6. Use Clay
Clay works well when sealing drainage holes because it has great adhesive properties, meaning it will stick securely to the sides of the pot around the hole and prevent any water from leaking out.
It also doesn’t break down or wear away easily over time, like some other materials might do when exposed to moisture or heat from the sun.
The downside here is that clay can be difficult to shape and apply if you don’t have experience working with it—so if you choose this approach, take your time and practice patience!
7. Use Plugs or a Wine Cork
An easy yet effective way to seal off drainage holes is to use plugs or a wine cork, items you can purchase at any home improvement store.
Make sure your pot is clean and dry before inserting the plug or cork into the drainage hole. It should also fit snugly so that water doesn’t leak out.
This method is ideal for those who want a temporary solution, as plugs and corks are easy to remove when it’s time to switch up your plants.
8. Use Duct Tape
If you’re looking for a semi-permanent solution, then duct tape may be the way to go! Start by measuring out enough duct tape to cover all of the drainage holes in your pot.
It’s important to use duct tape specifically designed for outdoor use as it’s better at ensuring water doesn’t seep through over time. Once you have enough tape, press it firmly against the drainage hole until it’s properly sealed off. If needed, add an extra layer of tape just to make sure all holes are covered!
9. Use a Paper Towel and Rubber Band
The simplest way to seal drainage holes in plastic pots is with a paper towel and rubber band. All you have to do is cut out a piece of paper towel that’s slightly larger than the drainage hole, then use a rubber band to secure it over the opening.
This will help absorb the excess moisture while still maintaining airflow and preventing root rot. Plus, you don’t have to worry about having any special materials on hand – just grab some paper towels from your kitchen, and you’re ready to go!
10. Use Plaster of Paris
For those who want an even more permanent solution, plaster of Paris is an excellent option. To use this method, mix enough plaster of Paris with water to achieve a paste-like consistency then apply the mixture directly over the drainage hole and allow it to dry before planting anything in the pot.
Once dry, the plaster of Paris creates an almost-impenetrable seal that will prevent any moisture from leaking out of your pots for years to come.
11. Use Non-Woven Geotextile Fabric
This material is lightweight and porous enough to allow oxygen and moisture through while restricting the amount of water leaving the pot.
You can also use a combination of geotextile fabric with clay pellets or gravel for added protection against overwatering.
12. Use Specially-Made Products
You can find products made specifically for sealing off drainage holes in pots, such as drainage hole covers or sealants. Whatever material you choose, make sure it’s something that won’t harm your plants and that’ll do the job well!
Benefits of Sealing Drainage Holes in a Pot
Sealing up those pesky drainage holes may seem like an unnecessary task but it has its benefits.
Not only does it help keep valuable soil and nutrients from washing away but it also helps regulate soil temperature while increasing oxygenation levels in your pots—all things necessary for healthy plant growth.
Here’s an in-depth look at these benefits.
It Prevents the Loss of Nutrients
The main reason for sealing your drainage holes is to prevent water from draining soil and nutrients as it leaves the pot. When you have too much water running out of the bottom of the pot, it can carry away valuable nutrients from the soil.
This can leave your plants vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies, which can lead to poor growth and even death if left unchecked. By sealing up drainage holes, you can make sure that all of that valuable water stays put in the pot until it’s absorbed by your plants’ roots.
It Regulates Fluctuations in Soil Temperature
Another benefit of sealing drainage holes is that it helps control soil temperature. Without proper insulation, soil temperatures can fluctuate quite drastically during different parts of the day or night, depending on how much direct sunlight hits them.
This extreme fluctuation in temperature isn’t ideal for some plants as they need relatively-consistent temperatures throughout their life cycle to thrive. By sealing off those drainage holes, you trap some heat inside the pot, which helps moderate any drastic shifts in temperature over time.
You should also read my guide on whether all indoor plant pots should have drainage holes. You’ll learn why drainage holes are so important and how you can grow plants in pots without drainage holes: Should All Indoor Plant Pots Have Drainage Holes?
Remember That Drainage Holes Are Necessary!
We seal drainage holes to prevent problems like the loss of nutrients and the soiling of furniture. While it’s important to address such problems, keep in mind that drainage holes have a purpose.
If you seal all the drainage holes in your pot completely, you’ll be exposing your plants to problems such as the buildup of fertilizer chemicals to toxic levels.
Also, most plants don’t do well in stagnant water. Plant roots find it easier to absorb water when it’s moving.
So, sealing drainage holes is a balancing act and you should take care not to do it too much.
Cleaning Can Be Just As Important as Sealing Drainage Holes
It’s important not just to seal off drainage holes but also to clean them regularly as part of your plant care routine. Over time, dirt and debris can accumulate in the openings and should be removed for your plants to get enough moisture and nutrients.
To do this safely and effectively, use an old toothbrush dipped in warm soapy water and gently scrub out any buildup from within each hole. Just be sure not to scrub too hard! Once you’re done cleaning, let the pots dry thoroughly before sealing them up again for future use.
Some Potted Plants Don’t Need Drainage
There are plenty of beautiful potted plants that don’t require any drainage whatsoever. Let’s take a look at some of the best options for keeping your home looking clean and stylish without any extra effort.
Air plants, or Tillandsia, need little soil and no water to thrive. They absorb moisture and nutrients from the air, making them one of the easiest types of plants to care for.
Because they don’t require any soil or water, these hardy plants don’t need drainage holes in their pots. Plus, air plants come in an array of shapes and sizes that can add a unique touch to any room!
Aloe vera is a popular succulent that requires very little maintenance. This low-maintenance plant can thrive without needing much water or sunlight, making it an ideal option for those new to gardening.
The only thing to keep in mind when growing aloe vera is that it doesn’t do well in low temperatures so make sure you keep them away from drafty windows or doorways during winter months.
When it comes to choosing a pot for your aloe vera plant, opt for one without drainage holes. Instead, make sure there is enough room between the surface of the soil and the top of the pot, so that excess water has somewhere to go which prevents overwatering-related problems like root rot.
A terracotta pot is ideal because it allows air circulation and holds just enough moisture without causing any issues.
A snake plant is a great option if you’re looking for a low-maintenance houseplant. It requires very little light, water, or care and can thrive in temperatures as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
The snake plant also has an interesting look, with its striped green and yellow leaves, which add some color and texture to your home decor. When planting this plant in a pot without drainage holes, be sure to water it sparingly!
It’s also one of the best air-purifying plants out there because it filters out benzene and formaldehyde from rooms where indoor air pollution can be a problem.
Crotons are another great option if you’re looking for a colorful houseplant that doesn’t require special drainage. These plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes and have beautiful foliage that comes in shades of green, yellow, red, pink, orange, and even purple.
Crotons thrive under indirect light, but they can do well in low-intensity direct light. They also need well-drained soil and excessive watering can cause growth problems in crotons.
Dumbcane is one of the most popular houseplants due to its low-care requirements and impressive size—it can grow up to 8 feet (96 inches) tall! This plant does best when placed in bright indirect light but will tolerate medium or even low light conditions if needed.
It’s important not to let this plant’s soil become too wet; be sure not to overwater it! A pot without drainage holes will work just fine for this plant as long as you’re careful not to overwater it.
The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is a common houseplant, mostly because it needs minimal maintenance. It does well with occasional watering and a bit of bright light.
One of the best things about this plant is that it will thrive in almost any environment, which makes it perfect for busy households. It also has air-purifying properties, making it an excellent choice if you want to add some extra oxygen to your living space.
Another great option is the pothos (Epipremnum aureum), which is easy to grow and requires little attention other than regular watering and occasional pruning. Drainage too is not necessary as the plant can tolerate wet conditions.
Unlike many other types of houseplant, pothos doesn’t need direct sunlight or temperature control – just make sure it’s in an area with good air circulation (and away from drafts). Pothos thrives in low light, and its beautiful, heart-shaped leaves will add some texture and color to your home decor.
It’s also known for its air-purifying properties, so it’s perfect for those who want to improve the air quality in their homes without having to invest too much effort into taking care of the plant.