how to improve soil drainage in pots

how to improve soil drainage in pots

Improving Soil Drainage in Pots

If you’ve ever found yourself with a soggy flowerpot, then you know the importance of proper soil drainage. Poor drainage can quickly lead to root rot in plants, which can stunt growth and eventually lead to the plant’s death. In order to ensure that your plants thrive, here are some tips and tricks to improve soil drainage in pots:

Mix in Perlite or Vermiculite

Both perlite and vermiculite help to introduce air pockets in the soil, allowing for better drainage. This also makes the soil lighter and less dense, which can favorably affect the roots of any plants.

  • Perlite is a form of volcanic glass that is heat-treated to pop and expand. This makes it ideal for improving air circulation and soil drainage.
  • Vermiculite is made up of thin layers of mica that, when heated, slowly increase in size and absorb nutrients. This makes it a great material for improving drainage and holding onto moisture.

When looking for either of these additives, you want to be on the lookout for potting mixes that are specifically formulated to help with drainage.

Utilize Coffee Filters

Before planting your flowers, layer the bottom of the pot with a thick layer of coffee filters. This serves two purposes: one, it will help to keep the drainage holes from becoming clogged, and two, it will help with retaining the perfect combination of air and water.

Repotting with New Soil

If you’ve already planted your flowers and the soil isn’t draining properly, you may want to consider repotting your plants with new soil. When doing this, consider using a potting mix specifically formulated for drainage and adequately size the pot in relation to the plant.

Re-evaluate Drainage Holes

If the soil is draining properly but your pot is still retaining too much water, the solution may be as easy as adding more or larger drainage holes. There’s no perfect ratio for soil-to-drainage, so experimenting with the size and number of holes in your pot may be the answer to getting your major drainage issue in check.


When it comes to growing plants in pots, proper soil drainage is essential. There are a few things you can do to help with this, such as adding perlite or vermiculite to the mix for air pockets, using coffee filters for better drainage, repotting with new soil, and re-evaluating drainage holes. Following these few simple steps will ensure your plants have the best chance to thrive.