I recently repotted a Euphorbia Milii that hasn't been doing too well. I posted a question on the forum, and it seemed like the pot was too large. Specifically, I got this answer from a helpful forum user:

"The pot should only be large enough to leave an inch (at most) of clear soil around and below the rootball. The reason for this is because, with a lot of empty soil around a rootball, over or underwatering is easy to do - in order to keep the rootball moist, all the soil has to be wet, but then your plant's roots are sitting in wet soil. Equally, its possible that the surrounding soil is wet, but the rootball isn't." (link to the question:Euphorbia milii (crown of thorns))

I feel that the terracotta pots I have lying around which would be of a suitable size for my plant will have drainage issues, since they have only one hole. This worries me, since the plant I have to repot is sensitive to having damp roots. I put the Euphorbia in one of these anyway, with a crock to let water pass through the hole, but I worry about the drainage, since there is after all only one hole. I have yet to find any terracotta pots with more than one hole, by the way (side question: why is that??). I left it in there like that for two weeks with no improvement.

I did find two plastic pots, one tall and one stout, but not as wide as the tall one. Basically I cut out the bottom of the small pot, filled the large one loosely with soil, placed the plant in the smaller pot, and put the small pot inside the large one. the hope is that by watering the small pot, the roots will get wet, and all the excess water will drain to the bottom of the pot, since there is plenty of room for it to go. I have an illustration here:

Please forgive the crudeness of the drawing. Small pot (yellow) has no bottom, large one (green) has plenty of holes at the bottom.

All the soil in the pot is cactus soil. So, is this a good/bad idea? Is the drainage going to happen like I think it will? Did I just murder my Euphorbia?


  • do you want the plant to grow fast, or slow? how often do you want to water the plant? Mar 23, 2019 at 19:02
  • Not your actual question but: the terracotta pots have just one hole because of the way they are made and they drain without issues. Like for all pots, you can make extra sure that draining works if you ensure that no “water seal” forms, e.g. by lifting the pot a bit with “clay feet” or similar.
    – Stephie
    Mar 23, 2019 at 19:09
  • @black thumb preferably fast I suppose, but for now I just want it to look healthier. To see what it looks like now, the link in the question contains pictures of it
    – P. Gillich
    Mar 23, 2019 at 19:12
  • @Stephie Interesting, maybe I should just trust then that even a pot with one hole will drain.
    – P. Gillich
    Mar 23, 2019 at 19:13
  • When you worry about drainage, just think about the properties of water: It will flow downhill unless held back by something, and in gardening, one of the often overlooked factors is the physical forces on small scale that “hold” the water, more on molecular level than large scale (hence the repeated warnings against gravel at the base of planters etc.). If you pour water in an empty terracotta pot, it will just flow out through the one hole.
    – Stephie
    Mar 23, 2019 at 19:26


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