There's so much more to a great yard than just mowing the lawn.

Here’s Why a Flower Pot Needs Holes

Geraniums and Marigolds in Pot

At first glance, these flowers doesn’t look too bad. But, they are definitely not thriving.

On Friday, I was visiting a beautiful property in Black Forest when I glimpsed a pot of annual flowers. At first glance, I noticed that the flowers didn’t look so great. They weren’t terrible, but they were definitely not thriving. What could be wrong?

When I looked closer, the plants looked like they were really struggling. Then I spotted the culprit. There was standing water in the pot. In fact, there was about an inch of water higher than the container media. It had rained quite a bit on Thursday, which must have filled up the pot with water. Yikes! That is definitely NOT good for plants. Standing water is, for many plants, their worst enemy.

nAnnual Flower Pot with Standing Water

You can see the standing water in the pot after a rain. Obviously no holes in the bottom of this pot!

When I came back on Sunday, I saw that the plants had really declined. It’s amazing how fast it happens. Notice that the lower leaves have turned yellow, but are flexible and not “crispy.” That’s a tell-tale sign that a plant is water logged. In addition, some of the leaves have dropped and there are no new flowers being produced.

Why did this happen? One simple reason. Plants roots need oxygen. Yep, just like you and me, they take in oxygen to support all the metabolic processes happening in roots. Oxygen powers things like taking up nutrients from soil. It also allows the plant to move food made by photosynthesis in the leaves to storage areas, like the roots. Oxygen is critical for plant life.

Annual Flower Pot 48 Hours Later

This is the same container of flowers 48 hours later. Notice how the plants have declined.

So what’s the remedy here? Drainage holes! They are very important. Most pots you buy will not have drainage holes already, but instead will have little markings where you should drill to create the holes.

I’m not sure exactly why this is. I am guessing that some people don’t want holes because they are going to use the pot for a different purpose other than growing plants. The manufacturers want to sell their pots to whomever will buy them, so they put markings instead of holes.

Flower Pot No Hole Closeup

When plant roots are submerged, they cannot function properly.

But don’t let this fool you. Don’t think that just because the pot doesn’t have holes you shouldn’t create them. Quite the opposite. Every pot you plan to grow a plant in must have drainage holes. So get out the drill and creates some before you plant.

It’s tough to drill holes in the bottom of a flower pot that is already planted. If this pot were mine I’d take all the plants and potting soil out and drill the holes in the bottom of the pot. Then I’d either replant it or store it for next year.

So, create drainage holes in all your post and watch your thumb turn greener.

For more tips on how to grow annual flower pots, check out this post.


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