Drilling Holes in Ceramic Pots and Resin Planters – Southern Patio

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Drilling Drainage Hole in Navy Blue Resin Planter

By:  Chelsea Lipford Wolf

If you’ve ever looked up anything about taking care of plants, especially those planted in pots or containers, then you know properly drained soil is key! Plants don’t love their roots to be soggy. And I don’t blame them!

Soggy roots for extended periods of time can lead to root rot which is a disease many plants do not recover from.

But how do you get the soil to drain when there are no drainage holes? While some planters come with drainage holes, many do not. So here is how to create drainage holes in your ceramic or resin outdoor pots and planters. All you need is a drill, drill bit (wood or masonry depending on your planter), and some painter’s tape.

Resin Planters

For planters made from resin, the process is very straightforward. Using a standard drill and a 1/4” or smaller wood drill bit, drill a hole in the lowest part of your planter. If your resin planter is on the larger side, say 15” or wider, drill a second hole on the opposite side.

This hole size is plenty big for excess water to flow out and away from your plant’s roots while keeping the soil inside the container.

Wood Drill Bit For Holes in Resin Planters Resin Planter

Containers with Drainage Plugs

For resin containers that come with a drainage plug, like this 15.5” Whiskey Barrel, you can simply remove the plug!

Later down the road you can reinsert the plug and repurpose your planter as a drink bucket for your outdoor barbecue!

Bottom of Resin Barrel Planter

Built-In Drainage Plug Removed from Resin Planter Built-in Drainage Plug Removed from Whiskey Barrel Planter

Drilling Holes in Ceramic Pots

Drilling holes in ceramic planters may seem scary or a no-go, but it’s just as straightforward as resin planters! You’ll need a drill bit intended for masonry surfaces. They generally have a flared tip on the end. And again, stay with a bit that’s 1/4” or smaller.

Masonry Drill Bit for Holes in Ceramic Planters

Next, apply a small piece of painter’s tape or masking tape to the underside of your planter. This will help keep the drill bit from wandering.

Set your drill bit in place, keeping it as upright and vertical as possible. Don’t force your drill or push it into the ceramic. Maintain enough pressure to keep in contact with the planter and let the drill bit do the work. After every 5 seconds or so, dip the end of the drill bit into a small cup of water. The bit gets HOT while cutting through the ceramic and the water helps cool it down and keep it going.

This process will take longer than a resin-based planter, but taking it slow and steady will ensure your planter doesn’t crack. Only drill one hole in ceramic planters for the same reason-reducing your chances of cracking.

Drilling Hole in Ceramic Planter with Drill Drainage Hole Drilled in Bottom of Ceramic Pot

Check out some other planter project ideas!

Planting a Spilled Flower Bed

Container Gardening in a Small Space