I have a thick ceramic planter that's made to hang on the wall. The back is flat. The sides and top round out to a diameter of 4 inches, and it's 5 inches tall. There are no drainage holes, and no viable option to make any.

I bought it for a lucky bamboo, as I believe they do well in that type of container, but my house could really use some color.

Is there any flowering houseplant that will thrive in that pot? If so, what do you recommend?

  • 1
    Holes can be drilled in a 'holeless' pot with carbide tipped bits sold for drilling holes in glass or with diamond hole cutters that cost less than $20 at hardware stores and/or online.
    – user13580
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 7:42
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    @JimYoung , correct, but I doubt Sue wants to have the runoff flow down the wall or drip on the floor.
    – Stephie
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 13:51
  • @Stephie - It is not at all clear to me why the question is being asked. I described one alternative. On the other hand, usually with such decorative containers, the plant is potted in a plastic nursery pot with drainage holes and nested within the decorative ceramic pot that has no drainage holes. The plant in plastic pot is lifted out, taken to outside, to a shower stall or bathtub, watered and returned once drained. IMHO, trying to keep a plant in a pot with no drainage is not tenable (maybe I should just say 'unwise').
    – user13580
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 16:31
  • @Stephie Right you are, that's exactly what I was hoping to avoid! Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 23:26

4 Answers 4


First off, possibly your brightest and fastest color would be forced bulbs. Temporary, but easy and well suited to the application.

Other than that, you will be looking more long-term. I find that one can, with a bit of practice, water these holeless containers in such a way that the plant gets sufficient moisture without having wet feet. I use them in my house (actually the majority of my indoor containers do not drain). Alternatively you can use an insert.

One thing to note is that that is a rather small pot size, so although many plants will grow/flower in it when young, many will eventually grow out of it, and will have to move on/be propagated. This includes many of the species I have listed. Also, plants which are grown for flowers generally require brighter light than foliage plants. If this is an issue for you, you could consider growing multiple flowering plants in a bright area, and moving each into the darker area in turn as they are about to climax.

As for plants, I'll list a few, and note what moisture/light levels they prefer. There are quite a few, so I'll just add the few that I've grown in similar conditions to what you described.

  • Disocactus flagelliformis: This is a multi stemmed and very colorful spreading cactus that looks great in a hanging basket. It likes bright indirect lighting, and moist soil during the growing season. Best to repot yearly with new medium.

  • Anthurium andraeanum: An upright, larger leaved plant, with brightly colored inflorescences. They Like medium lighting, and moist soil (allow to dry some between waterings). May outgrow your pot...

  • Begonia sp.: Many types. Some have colorful foliage, many flower throughout the year. They like bright lighting, especially sunlight to promote flowering. Water often during the growing months.

  • Pelargonium sp.: Same as for Begonia, indoors.

  • Browallia speciosa varieties: Vividly colored violet/blue flowers. Likes some direct sun during the day. Water moderately. Some people treat as temporary.

  • Campanula isophylla: Trailer. Easy to grow. Readily will flower profusely in bright light. Multiple star shaped white or blue flowers. Likes bright light, preferably with some direct sun. Do not let the mix dry between waterings - but do not overwater, as these can be prone to fungus.

  • Mandevilla sanderi: Twining vine (great for use with a support) with very large, showy, and colorful flowers. Likes bright filtered light. Water moderately while growing. During rest period, only enough to keep it from completely drying. May outgrow your pot.

  • Episcia cupreata: Pretty plant. Can be kept contained. Furry oval leaves and small, very bright red flowers. This is one of my favorites. It slowly creeps, and throws runners like a strawberry plant. Likes bright filtered light, and keep the mix constantly moist, but not wet.

  • Saintpaulia sp.: African violet. They like quite bright conditions, although hot sun can burn them. Keep moderately moist, allowing for some drying time between waterings.

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    Thanks for taking the time to put together this great list! I wasn't sure I had any real options at all, and truly didn't think there would be this many. I'm excited to get started! If I can make something happen, I'll get more of these pots, definitely bigger though. I can't keep plants on my tables because the cats eat them, so this is a great way for me to do exactly what I was hoping for! Knowing what type of light is especially helpful. It will help me position things for the best success. Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 23:38

Many of the philodendron family can be: Caveats:

  • Don't over water.
  • Change the dirt every year or two.

My mom kept both cut leaf philodendron and pothos (aka devil's ivy) in non-draining containers.

A better technique is to put a standard draining pot inside a larger non-draining pot. The inner pot is supported a couple inches off the bottom of the outer one. Now if you overwater you can just remove the inner, drain the outer, and put back together.

In general this should work with any plant that can be kept in water indefinitely. This would include many ivys, many willows, and possibly yams.

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    Those will grow in the container in question, but Sue specifically asked for flowing plants.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 3:10

I agree with Sherwood Botsford. We have the philodendron all over the office at work. It gets crappy lighting and still grows like crazy. When it touches the ground, I break it off and stick it in another pot. I water mine a little every week, but they can be over and under watered with little ill affect.

The plastic pot inside the decrotive is a good idea as well.

Petunias are another plant that would do well if you had a lot of light and monitored the water a little more closely. They're more work, though. You have to pinch off all the dying flowers every day or it looks like trash and stops blooming.

I think an air plant would work really well, well. Just pop it in there, pull it out and soak it, and pop it back in. Some of them do flower.

Also, you can put the drainage hole in the bottom without much trouble. It'll only drip when you water, so just put a catch cup under it when watering and a paper towel on the floor if you're worried.

Another option that I'm working on for a glass bowl "desert" terrarium, is a way to remove excess water. I'm going to lay down aquarium gravel and a piece of weed cloth cut to go to the edges of the bowl. This will help keep a clean line of dirt and gravel and create a place for excess water to go. To prevent over watering, I'm going to run a piece of aquarium air hose down to the very bottom, through the weed cloth. I'll leave it long and back fill the dirt and plant the succulents. After they're planted. I'll cut the tube down to behind a plant or decorative rock. Then I'll use an extra horse syringe we have to block the mouth of the tube and suck out excess water. This way I don't have to be super obsessive about the amount of water I give my succulents and can prevent root rot.


Here are some species that I grow in non-drainage containers, and although they don't bloom this time of the year you can see they are healthy:

Plectranthus verticillatus - I wait until the soil becomes dry at the surface and then wait one more day before watering because soil in the lower part of the pot is constantly moist. Although the pot has drainage holes, I have put in a plastic bag so that it doesn't leak, then placed it in a hanging container.

Plectranthus verticillatus exterior pot

Plectranthus verticillatus interior pot

Hoya carnosa - I took a leaf from a plant and rooted it in a transparent plastic cup with no drainage holes. After the roots started to circle the plastic cup I moved it to a glass container. It grew in this glass jar for the last two years. Having it in a glass container allows me to see if the soil is dry or moist. In theory I keep the soil dry for a few days until watering again. In practice, I always forget about it for a couple of weeks.

Hoya carnosa

Saintpaulia - I have a variety with white flowers and I keep it in no drainage plastic casseroles from propagation to maturity. I water it after the soil has been dry for a few days, but usually a bit sooner then Hoya.


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