Why Do Some Plant Pots Come Without Holes?

Drainage holes are a common feature in planters because they allow excess water to leave the pot. Since there’s a variety of plants that can’t tolerate sitting in water, those drainage holes are crucial to their survival. So, you may find yourself wondering why some plant pots come without drainage holes.

Some plant pots come without holes for aesthetic purposes. Some holeless plant pots are called cache pots, which means “hide” in French. They’re designed to hide the actual grow pot or basket. Other ceramic planters also don’t have holes, requiring a more careful watering routine.

Drainage is an important requirement for plant care because most plants will die quickly from sitting in constantly wet soil. Still, many pot-makers produce and sell planters without drainage holes. The rest of this article will discuss how to work with holeless planters.

Why Drainage is Important for Container Plants

Overwatering is a serious plant care issue that has more detrimental and often irreversible effects on plants. Constantly wet soil can encourage fungal growth that can damage plant roots, leading to root rot. Once the roots decay, the rest of the plant follows.

Although it’s possible to fix root rot if diagnosed soon enough, the process can be tedious. That said, proper soil drainage is crucial for maintaining plant health and the best way to achieve that with container plants is to choose a pot with drainage holes.

Garden soil can dry out quickly because water is lost either through evaporation or drainage beyond the reach of the plant’s roots. On the other hand, plant pots need drainage holes to drain the excess water and prevent the roots from sitting in wet soil.

However, some gardeners prefer—and had much success with—growing their plants in containers without drainage holes.

How to Use Holeless Planters Efficiently

It’s easy to place houseplants in holeless planters but keeping them in good condition can be challenging. Below are some tips on how to use such planters efficiently:

Choose Plants That Prefer Wet Soil

Most plant species can’t handle excess water but some plants can tolerate moist or wet soil. It’s possible to use planters without drainage holes for such plants, including the following:

Wetland Plants

Many different types of herbaceous plants are tolerant of wet environments. The marsh marigold, for example, grows in swamps or wetlands. In the home garden, they can be grown in low spots that receive excess water from rain. They’ll also do well in large, holeless pots.


Most ferns like constantly moist soil and high humidity. Porous clay pots with numerous drainage holes can dry out the soil too quickly. Therefore, a planter without drainage holes will work just well for container plants like the sword fern.

Set Up A Watering Schedule

If you prefer different plant species, you can also still use a holeless plant pot for almost any houseplant as long as you manage to get the watering schedule just right.

Some of my own houseplants are potted in planters without drainage holes, and it took a few months of trial-and-error to figure out the appropriate watering schedule. 

For example, after about three months of careful observation, I found that watering my spider plant in a one-gallon (3.8 l) holeless pot with one cup (250 ml) of water weekly was enough to keep the plant healthy.

I also had success growing my other houseplants in the same way as long as I maintained the other parameters essential for plant growth, such as light, humidity, and temperature.

Of course, it can vary with different plant species and is largely dependent on the environmental conditions within your home or outdoor garden. But with patience and attention to detail, it’s possible to keep your plants in good condition even in planters without drainage holes.

Benefits of Planters Without Holes

Pots without drainage holes may seem to be more for aesthetics than practicality. However, when accompanied by a solid gardening routine, these pots can present the following benefits:

They Keep the Area Clean and Visually Appealing

One struggle of growing plants indoors is how to maintain a neat tabletop or floor with potted plants. Regular watering can leave water stains and traces of soil which need to be cleaned promptly. Using a plant saucer can often minimize this problem, but it admittedly can be unappealing.

Grow baskets are usually plastic with many holes and crevices in them, which aren’t very pretty to look at. A cache pot can carry the grow basket and still make for a beautiful container plant. Aside from cache pots, some planters without drainage holes can be successfully used to pot houseplants.

They Save Time, Water, and Energy

Large indoor plants like the fiddle leaf fig and monstera need moderate amounts of water and require a sturdy pot to support their weight. Moving these pots to drain the excess water from the bottom can be a chore that most home gardeners want to avoid.

If you use large pots without drainage holes, you wouldn’t have to move them just to empty the saucer of pooling water. Due to the controlled volume of water used every time you feed your plant, you can also avoid wasting water and waiting for the excess to drain out completely.

Ways To Improve Drainage in a Holeless Pot

If you only have pots without drainage holes but you’re trying to grow a plant that isn’t tolerant of wet soil, have no fear—it is possible!

The following helpful tips that you can try at home:

1. Use Porous Soil and Amendments

Due to the lack of drainage holes, excess water will remain within the pot for a longer period. Using porous soil, such as sandy loam, and amendments like perlite will improve air circulation within the potting mix and allow the excess moisture to evaporate into the air.

Avoid adding pebbles, rocks, or any coarse material at the bottom of the planter. Contrary to popular belief, this will actually cause your plant roots to sit in excess water that accumulates at the bottom of the pot.

2. Go For The Lower Limit of Your Plant’s Humidity Requirement

Many houseplants are of tropical origins and thrive in humid environments. However, indoor humidity levels above 50% can be bad for human health and can encourage mold growth in your living space.

Thankfully, pots without drainage holes hold more moisture so you can have more room for error when it comes to your houseplant’s humidity needs. For instance, if sources say that your plant needs 40-60% humidity, you can go for the lower limit, which is 40%.

This will facilitate higher transpiration rates within your plants and they will absorb more moisture through their roots. The reaction will work like a vacuum that sucks out the excess water from the potting mix.

You will still need to keep an eye on your plant’s watering needs because extremely hot and dry conditions can quickly dry out the soil even in holeless planters.

Luckily, underwatering is much easier to address than overwatering. Watering a dehydrated plant can help it perk back up within just a few hours or days.

3. Treat Them Only as Cache Pots

Drought-tolerant plants like cacti and succulents dislike wet soil. They will likely show signs of distress more quickly than other plant species if grown in planters without drainage holes. Still, that shouldn’t keep you from placing your precious succulents in cute pots.

You can grow your plant in a small pot with drainage holes, which you can place in a larger and more visually appealing cache pot. Since cacti and succulents don’t need frequent watering, you can just make a diary or calendar of when to water them.

Remove them from the cache pot and water them deeply on schedule. Let the excess moisture drain out completely before placing them back into the cache pot.

Final Thoughts

Most planters that don’t contain drainage holes are cache pots, which are decorative planters that hide the original grow basket your plant may be growing in.

You can also use holeless pots as your regular plant pot. However, you will need to employ a stricter watering routine to prevent your plant from sitting in excess water for too long. With enough patience and dedication, you can maximize the benefits of an aesthetic planter without drainage holes.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the founder of TheGrowingLeaf.com and its lead content writer. He created the website in 2022 as a resource for horticulture lovers and beginners alike, compiling all the gardening tips he discovered over the years. Alex has a passion for caring for plants, turning backyards into feel-good places, and sharing his knowledge with the rest of the world.

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