I’m here to write a post that I wish had been on the Internet this time, last year. 2018 was surely the year of the houseplant and I fell deeply victim to the trend. The one thing I kept having trouble with? Finding cute pots WITH drainage holes. Don’t let anybody fool you– no amount of rocks on the bottom of a pot will create as good of drainage as an actual drainage hole. If you’re serious about your plants, you won’t mess around with rocks. What you will do is..
buy a diamond drill bit.
Yep. You’re gonna need a drill if you want to have botanical fun this year! This revelation pushed me to buy a drill that I already was in dire need for because of the amount of furniture I assemble and DIY projects I take on. If you don’t have a drill, you’ll eventually need one as time goes on so just consider this an investment into adulthood.
As I was trying to navigate the world of drainage, I kept seeing blips of advice from random plant websites and blogs talking about the need for a masonry drill bit. These bits are blunt and dull and truly take AGES to get through well-constructed pots, if ever. There is a much higher risk of cracking your planter using one of these as well given the amount of pressure necessary to get a hole going.
Diamond bits are like slicing cheese with a razor compared to masonry bits.
Let’s go step-by-step…
|Screenshots are from a previous Instagram story so don’t mind my green, semi-unappealing text|
1. Attach the bit to your drill.
You can get a variety of different sized bits but I went with a smaller one (1/4″) because of cost. It would be better for you to buy a bigger one for this purpose because what I usually ended having to do was drill multiple holes in pots to ensure proper drainage– you’ll see below. If you were curious, this is the drill that I own. This is the drill bit.
2. Prepare your pot
I usually drilled my holes within my kitchen sink so I could continually have cool water running on my workspace. Just like cutting tile, you need to keep the area you are drilling into constantly cool to protect your pot from cracking. The friction of this drill bit on the pottery makes the spot very, very, VERY hot without running water atop it.
This planter I was working on is the Wood Base Planter from West Elm. West Elm looooOoves to put drainage “wells” in the bottom of their pots in lieu of drainage holes but again, don’t fall for it. That is not going to work. In 2019 I’ve already seen stores such as Target really embracing the plant pot as a trend and the majority of theirs are cheaper than the stores/outlets that used to sell pots before they were trendy AND typically have drainage holes already. Thank goodness.
3. Begin drilling
You must begin drilling at a 90° angle which, given the nature of this project, is sometimes difficult. Try your best. What you’re needing to do is get the rough side of the drill bit to get past a glazed exterior and begin to actually work itself into the pot. Once you have a decent enough depth in, you can turn the drill upwards and begin drilling normally. You are creating a ring shape that will eventually make its way through the pot and out the bottom, creating a perfect hole.
You can only drill normally as deep as your initial 90° angle depth. Once you’ve hit your max, angle the drill again and keep digging down. Some pots/planters are super thick and will take some time to get through. Some are thinner or softer (like terracotta) and won’t take much time at all. PLEASE be gentle! Thinner or softer materials can crack if you apply too much pressure. Just keep at it and take your time while letting the drill do the hard work for you.
4. All done!
You may want to add a few more if you’re working on a larger pot like I was. You do this the same way you did the initial hole– just be aware that the base is slightly compromised with a hole in it now and could become more fragile during subsequent hole drills.
Like I mentioned previously, I sometimes add extra holes to assist in drainage so there isn’t a ton of water sitting in the bottom of my pot waiting in queue to drain. I only want my plant getting the absolute exact amount of water that it needs.
That is pretty much it! I hope this helps some people because I know for sure it would have helped me. Just remember– diamond bit > masonry bit. No matter what people say!
If you have any questions at all, leave me a comment below. Or if you just want to share your plant parent success stories I am ALL ears! I love seeing people’s indoor (or outdoor, really) jungles.
If you want to shop this post, I’ve listed any items I mentioned today below (for pot and ones similar to it) or within this post as links (for drill, drill bit):