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How to Drill Drainage Holes in Ceramic Pots – 4 Perfect Methods

Pots and planters add versatility to your gardening. Do you love gardening but don’t have a yard? There is no problem with that! With the help of pots, you can grow your portable garden. You can place your pots indoor or outdoor or even adorn your balcony or driveway with them.

You can buy pots of all colors and sizes that perfectly embody your style and goes nicely with your home décor. You can place small pots in your kitchen window sill and grow some herbs in them or get large pots to grow your lovely large foliage to give your home a tropical feel.

Has it ever happened that you saw some really lovely ceramic pots and bought them, but they arrived without drainage holes?

Being a gardener, you must know how important a proper drainage system is for your plants. If that’s the problem, then we have got you covered! We will teach you with easiest instructions about how to drill drainage holes in ceramic pots.

How to Drill Drainage Holes in Ceramic Pots
I finally got a drill bit for ceramics/glass and made drainage holes – via Reddit

Why Do Pots Need Drainage Holes?

Drainage holes in the pots are extremely important for the well-being of plants. If a pot doesn’t have drainage holes, it will get waterlogged. This water logging will result in root rot, ultimately killing your plant.

The drainage holes at the bottom allow the excess water to seep out and ensure that the plant gets sufficient air. Another significant reason to have drainage holes is to avoid salt buildup in the potting soil. Fertilizers contain salts, or sometimes the water has high salt content, which can build up over time.

It will create an unhealthy environment for plants and cause the leaves to turn brown. Often white crust starts appearing over soil if the salt buildup is high. Therefore, it is critically important to let the water drain out from your plants to flush out salts. 

How to Use Pots Without Drainage Holes?

If you have a pot you love without drainage holes, and it is impossible to drill holes in it, you can still use it. You can use it as a “double potting system.” Take a smaller pot with drainage holes and place it inside the larger pot.

Whenever you need to water your plant, take out the smaller pot and water it in the sink. Let it sit for a while until it drains out the excess water. Now you can place it back into your bigger pot.

How to Drill Drainage Holes in Ceramic Pots

You saw some lovely ceramic pots at a thrift store and bought them only to discover they do not have any drainage holes? Don’t be disappointed! We are here to help. You can still make use of those cute planters.

Items You Will Need

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Drill Drainage Holes in Ceramic Pots

Now that you know how important it is for your plants’ health to have a proper drainage system let us show you how to drill drainage holes in ceramic pots.

Step 1: Get Your Desired Ceramic Pot

Take the ceramic pot where you want to drill drainage holes and place it upside down on a hard surface like concrete. You can place some newspaper or plastic sheet to save the surface you are working on from dust.

Make sure to drill the holes from the outside to the inside of the pot. Before drilling the holes, you can mark the point where you need to drill with a marker for more precision. Usually, one hole at the center will suffice, but it depends on the size of your pot. Larger pots may require more holes.

Step 2: Attach the Ceramic Bit on Drill

Now that you’ve marked your pot, it’s time to drill some holes. Attach the glass and ceramic bit to the drill.

Using the appropriate bit is important so that the drill can penetrate the surface and make a clean hole without breaking. For an unglazed ceramic pot, use a masonry bit, and for a glazed ceramic pot, a glass and tile bit is more appropriate.

You can use an electric-powered drill or a battery-powered one. If you are using a battery-powered drill, be sure to charge it thoroughly before using it. You can also use bits of different sizes depending on how large you want your holes to be.

How to Drill Drainage Holes in Ceramic Pots 2
via Pxhere

Step 3: Time to Drill!

Before drilling, wear gloves and safety goggles to avoid any dust from drilling the ceramic getting into your eyes. You can put some masking tape or water where you are drilling to avoid dust from flying in every direction. However, it is not necessary.

To start drilling, make sure your drill bit is directly perpendicular to the pot’s base where you want to drill a hole. Hold the drill firmly with one hand and turn on the power.

Now apply pressure with your other hand on the drill as it starts drilling. Turn the speed to full and keep pushing the drill into the hole until it is drilled.

Please turn off the drill and gently take it out from the hole once you’ve drilled it through. Now repeat the same process if you want more holes.

Depending on how thick or sturdy the material is, it may take from a few seconds to several minutes to drill a hole. So be patient and keep drilling until you get your desired results.

Step 4: You Are Good to Go!

Now that you have learned how to drill the holes, you are all done! Just clean up the pot and use it however you want. You can add in soil and grow your favorite flowers. Now that you know how to drill a hole, you can even use all the cute pots laying around which didn’t have drainage holes in them.

How to Drill Drainage Holes in Ceramic Pot Without Cracking it?

If you are worried about cracking your ceramic pot while drilling holes, follow these tips to ensure safe drilling without cracking the pot:

  • Put some masking tape where you are drilling so that the drilling bit doesn’t slip away.
  • Keep the drill steady and work it at a slow pace. Avoid swift hand movements.
  • Using the right type of bit is important; use a masonry bit for unglazed and terracotta ceramics. For glazed ceramics, use tile and glass bit.
  • Apply a little pressure on the drill but don’t get overboard not to break the pot.


We have all bought a ton of planters and pots because they were lovely, only to realize that they come without a drainage hole. It could be a bummer, but if you learn how to drill drainage holes in your ceramic pots, then you can buy whichever pots you want.

As you have learned how to drill drainage holes in ceramic pots, you can take out all of those pots lying in your shed and use them. With our careful instructions and helpful tips, drilling holes has become a piece of cake! Go show off your lovely planters and share them with us in the comments below.