What To Use As Pot Drain

The most important thing we have to do when we grow plants in pots is, precisely, choose the container where we are going to have them.since if we choose one that is not the right one, we will run the risk of rotting. But what is this? Well, basically, one that has at least one hole in the base. And it is that if we want the plants to last us a long time, it is crucial to take into account that the drainage begins in that or those hole / s.

If you don’t have any, the water will stay stagnant since it won’t be able to get out, and the roots will rot. But once we have the container that touches, it is good to ask what to use for flower pot drainageWell, if we use things that I will tell you now, we can further reduce the risk of losing it.

What to put in a pot so that it drains well?

There are a series of things that will help us so that the water can come out faster, like this:

  • Arlita
  • akadama
  • Gravel (for ponds)
  • Kiryuzuna
  • Perlite
  • Cheek
  • Plastic net with small holes (like the one used in chicken coops for example)
  • Plastic drain grate

Let’s see in detail what each thing is and why it can be useful to us:


Clay is an arid substrate

Image – Wikimedia Commons/Lucis

La arlite, also called volcanic clay, it is a clay that, after heating it in a rotary oven, has been shaped into a ball of about 0,5 to 2 centimeters. It is very light and does not degrade easily, which is why it is widely used in gardening despite the fact that it lacks nutrients. Another important detail is its price: a 20-litre bag can be worth between 4 and 5 euros.

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Akadama is a substrate used to improve drainage

Image – Wikimedia Commons / Abraham

La akadama it is a clay that, when dry, is very light brown, and when wet it becomes darker. It is originally from Japan, which is why its price is quite high compared to other clays: a 14-litre bag can cost 20-30 euros. But It is highly recommended both to improve drainage and to get the plants to take root better.. The drawback is that as the years go by it breaks down and turns into dust.

It is usually mixed with other substrates, such as kiryuzuna or pumice, in a 7:3 ratio (7 parts of akadama, and 3 of another substrate).

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Gravel (for ponds)

Gravel is very useful for the drainage of pots

The gravel for ponds is one that has a granulometry of about 2mm thick. It is a type of aggregate that comes from the fragmentation of rockswhich can be limestone, granite, sandstone or others. As it takes a long time to decompose -in fact, it is used to improve mixtures of picadin and cement-, and it is so cheap -a 25kg bag costs less than 1 euro in any store that sells construction materials-, it is very interesting.

But yes, due to its weight, we do not recommend putting more than a thin layer on the bottom of the pot; and if it is going to be mixed with the soil, do not add more than 30%.


Kiryuzuna substrate

Image – Bonsainostrum.com

La kiryuzuna It is a zeolite originally from Japan. With a granulometry of between 1 and 6 millimeters, it is a substrate that can be used as drainage for pots. Its pH is between 6.5 and 6.8, so it is highly recommended for growing acidic plants, such as azaleas.

As it takes a long time to degrade, and it also contains some nutrients – albeit in small amounts – such as iron, calcium or phosphorus, mostly used in bonsai, often mixed with akadama. But you have to know that it is expensive: the 18 liter bag costs about 25 euros.

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Perlite is an arid and white substrate

Image – minetech.es

La perlite It is a glass of volcanic origin that it is very light, white, and is widely used in gardeningbut almost always mixing it with another substrate.

It has a neutral pH, is inert and also dries quicklywhich is why it is highly appreciated among those who grow succulent plants (cacti and succulents).

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The pumice is perfect the crasas

Image – Pumice for Bonsai

El pumice It is an igneous volcanic rock also called pumice stone or liparite that is widely used in gardening as drainage. Its grain size ranges from 3 millimeters to 14 millimeters.but for what we are interested in we recommend those between 3 and 6 mm, since the others are too large.

Its pH is between 7 and 8, but since it does not have calcium salts, we can be calm because we can mix it with other substrateseven if they have a low pH. This is so because the pH of said substrate will not rise.

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Small hole plastic net

The plastic mesh will serve for drainage

The plastic net, like the one used in chicken coops for example, or to protect the trunks of plants, can be used to improve the drainage of the pots. You just have to cut it into small piecesand put them over the holes; then fill them with soil.

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Drain grate

Drainage grids for bonsai are very useful

It is a plastic mesh cut normally in the shape of squares of about 2 x 2 centimeters. It is widely used among bonsai collectors, since these prevent the substrate from being lost through the holes in bonsai pots or trays.

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How to make sure that the soil does not come out of the pot?

Before finishing, let me tell you something: surely it has happened to you that, after a while, the plant you have in a pot has been running out of soil. And it is not that its roots have swallowed it, no, but it is that as it was watered it has been lost. But luckily, this is a problem that can be avoided, or at least slowed down.

After having used several things (mosquito netting, shading mesh, even plastic bags that I previously made some small holes in), what has worked best for me by far is the plastic net that I have told you before. Simply cutting it as you wish and then putting it in the pot, you will see how much soil is not lost anymore. But yes, remember to buy one that has very small holes.

And now yes, I hope you have learned a lot, and that from now on your plants are happier.

What To Use As Pot Drain

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