Can You Plant Pothos Without Drainage? Discover the Secret to Thriving Pothos in Any Pot!

Are you looking to grow pothos plants but struggling to find the perfect pot with drainage holes?

Not to worry! It’s possible to grow happy, healthy pothos plants even in pots without drainage. However, you need to be aware of a certain pot setup and potential risks, and you need to pay extra attention to plant care.

Let’s dive into it!

Key Takeaways

  • Proper drainage is essential for healthy growth and managing excess moisture in pothos plants.

  • Without proper drainage, you need to set up your pot in a special way to prevent overwatering and root rot.

  • Other strategies, such as adding drainage holes to existing pots, employing the use of cachepots, or opting for a double-potting method, can help with the need for pots without built-in drainage.

Why Pothos Need Drainage

The pothos plant requires proper drainage to prevent root rot and manage excess moisture in the soil.

Root rot in pothos plants is a fungal infection caused by extended exposure to excessively moist soil without adequate drainage.

When drainage holes are lacking, waterlogged soil conditions can easily develop, leading to root rot, fungal infections, and ultimately, plant death.

Can Pothos Survive Without Drainage?

Pothos plant in a basket cachepot

Pothos plants can survive without drainage holes.

However, planting pothos without drainage holes requires adding a thick drainage layer at the bottom of the pot plus extra care steps such as monitoring soil moisture levels and adjusting watering habits.

Tips for Growing Pothos Without Drainage Holes

If you’re ready to plant pothos without drainage holes, follow these tips to ensure your plants thrive: create a drainage layer, be careful with watering, and get rid of unwanted water in the pot.

Add a Thick Drainage Layer

In pots without drainage holes, it’s essential to have a drainage layer to protect pothos roots.

A 2-3 inch layer of pebbles or gravel at the bottom can prevent root rot by allowing excess water to drain from the soil. This mimics natural drainage and prevents the roots from waterlogging, especially important in overwatering scenarios.

To create the drainage layer, simply layer the drainage material (pebbles, gravel, or pumice) at the pot’s base before adding soil.

Be Careful With Watering

Maintaining the right soil moisture for pothos in pots without drainage is critical.

Water your plants only when it is necessary to avoid root rot. Use a moisture meter like I do or a simple wooden skewer to check the soil’s moisture level deep down near the roots, ensuring your plants aren’t overwatered.

This careful watering practice is essential to prevent waterlogged conditions and keep your pothos healthy.

Remove Water Accumulated At The Bottom

To remove excess water from a pot without drainage holes, I’ve developed a nifty little trick.

I cover the soil surface with my hand to prevent any mess, and then I gently tilt the pot over the sink. I continue to angle it until water begins to pour out, effectively eliminating any unwanted water that’s accumulated at the bottom of the pot.

This simple technique helps in preventing waterlogging in a pot without drainage holes.

Alternative Solutions for Pothos Drainage

If planting pothos without drainage holes doesn’t appeal to you, alternative solutions exist, such as retrofitting drainage holes, using self-watering pots, cachepots, or double potting.

Let’s examine these options in more detail.

Retrofit Drainage Holes

Retrofitting a drainage hole into existing pots can provide proper drainage for your pothos plants without the need to purchase new pots.

To retrofit drainage holes, you’ll need a drill and appropriate drill bits for the pot material (standard drill bits for plastic pots or masonry drill bits for materials like terracotta).

Carefully drill 3-4 holes into the bottom of the pot, ensuring that you don’t damage the container in the process.

After that, you can use the pot as usual.

Try Self-Watering Pots

Self-watering pots can be a game-changer for growing pothos plants, especially when wanting to use pots without traditional drainage. These pots have a built-in reservoir at the bottom that allows the plant to draw water as needed, reducing the risk of overwatering and root rot.

You can even make one yourself!

The design of self-watering pots includes a water storage compartment and a wicking system that transports water from the reservoir to the soil. This ensures that the pothos roots receive a consistent amount of moisture.

When using self-watering pots for pothos, it’s still important to monitor the water level in the reservoir and refill it as necessary.

Use Cachepots and Double Potting

Cachepots and double potting methods can provide proper drainage for your pothos plants while maintaining the aesthetic appeal of decorative pots without drainage holes.

  • A cachepot is a decorative container that houses a plant and its plastic pot, providing a protective outer layer and preventing water from accumulating at the bottom of the pot.

  • Double potting involves placing a grow pot with drainage holes inside a decorative or ornamental container, allowing excess water to escape the grow pot and prevent accumulation at the bottom of the decorative pot.

Both cachepots and double potting methods offer an attractive way to display your pothos plants while ensuring they receive proper drainage.


Growing pothos plants without drainage holes is possible, but it requires extra care and attention to ensure their health and well-being. By creating a drainage layer, adjusting watering, and getting rid of excess water, you can successfully grow pothos plants in pots without drainage holes.

Whether you choose to plant pothos without drainage holes or explore alternative solutions like retrofitting drainage holes or using cachepots or double potting, the key is to provide proper care for your plants.

With the right approach, you can enjoy the beauty and benefits of thriving pothos plants in any type of pot.


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