I use plastic pots, concrete and ceramic pots with holes at the bottom, often without a saucer for outside. When I water, I bath my plants or put enough water and allow excess amount to pass through the holes.

Now when this excess water goes down, it takes some amount of potting soil with it which I don't wanna lose. Now keeping a saucer underneath could do that job, but then again you would have move the pot to take it out, store the media and so on. As the pots are bigger it is quite hectic. Is there any other way to retain the soil that going out the drainage holes, without doing much ?

So far, I have tried-

  1. Making the holes smaller. Which works at first, then nothing, not even excess water goes out.

  2. With bigger holes, put paper(like newspaper material) or a piece of thin cloth over the holes. But not for a long time (obviously). Eventually I have to re-pot again.

So, anything else, without much effort or re-potting again and again?

3 Answers 3


With reasonable potting soil and root growth this is a self-limiting problem (you don't really need to do anything, as it will stop happening after a short period of time immediately after repotting.) Or your paper approach (used coffee filters perhaps, if you use them) would limit loss until the roots grow enough to limit loss internally (assuming the pot is not hugely oversized, so the roots will get there.)


I've always used coffee filters and they seem to work just fine.


There are a few options I have used.

  • Get Zen about it. Let the fines seep out and not worry about it. The rate will slow over time and you will repot the plant for other reasons long before an important amount of soil is lost.
  • Reorganize your pot situation so you can access a saucer under the drainage hole without moving the pot. Propped up on some bricks, a dedicated pot stand, precariously balanced over a ditch, whatever suits you. After I water the plant and the saucer is done filling, I dump it right on top of the pot and replace the saucer. It doesn't need to be laborious.
  • If the pots are deep enough, put a layer of rocks in the bottom. This is in flagrant defiance of the general internet advice, but if you have enough height to raise the perched water table a little bit you can put a few large, flat rocks in the bottom of the planter before the soil. This area will slowly fill with that soil you are seeing leak out. This is my favorite method when the pot is large enough.
  • Use a filter medium, as you've mentioned. If the filters you have tried so far have clogged, you could try a coarser filter (coffee filter? fine window screen? panty hose?). Or, I haven't tried this, but maybe present more surface area by wadding up the newspaper and stuffing it in the drainage hole like a plug?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.