How to Plug the Drainage Hole in a Clay Pot

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Clay

  • Wire screen

  • Coffee filter

  • Cork

  • Plumber's putty


If too much water is draining from your pot, set in a drip tray filled with pebbles. The tray catches the water so you don't need to plug the pot, and the pebbles keep the pot above the level of water in the tray.

Plant pots need drainage for healthy plant growth.

The hole in the bottom of a plant pot provides drainage to the soil above. Most pots have small holes that allow water to drain out while keeping the soil in place. However, some clay pots and plastic planters have large holes in the center of the pot. Soil can slip through the holes, along with the water, making a mess each time you irrigate your plants. Multiple methods exist to plug the hole without compromising drainage in the pot.


Step 1

Place a piece of broken clay over the hole before filling the pot with soil. The clay blocks the hole so soil can't escape, but moisture can still work around the clay piece and drain from the pot.

Step 2

Line the bottom of the pot with a piece of wire or plastic screen material. The material holds the soil but doesn't inhibit water movement. Screen material works especially well in pots with multiple holes requiring plugging.

Step 3

Line the pot with a coffee filter before adding soil and planting. The coffee filter works the same as the screen material, but it breaks down over time so the holes aren't permanently blocked.


Step 4

Insert a cork into the drainage hole if you need a watertight seal, such as for a container water garden. Seal around the cork with plumber's putty. The cork and putty make a watertight seal but are easily removable if you need the pot for traditional planting later.



Jenny Harrington

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.