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I bought a 16'' wide plastic pot with a built-in saucer. The saucer is removable. On the inside of the pot, there are 4 holes where the saucer connects with the pot and 4 other tiny holes that appear to be drainage holes. How should I prepare this pot for proper drainage for a tropical fruit tree?

My first concern is the proper size of drainage holes - the 4 tiny ones seem like they can clog up easily. How much should I widen each hole?

My second concern is that the drainage holes are currently not at the lowest point of the pot. The center of the pot is the lowest point, but it sits directly on the saucer, so drilling a hole there would not help. My limited understanding of physics is that water will try to flow to the lowest point of any container, so holes that are slightly elevated don't help.

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This kind of pot seems designed to overfill and spill onto your nice floor. To answer some of your questions:

  • The reason the drainage holes are a little above the lowest point is to minimize the chance of water overflowing the teeny tiny saucer at the bottom which is not likely to hold more than half a cup of water. The amount of soil that will get wet and stay wet does not represent enough volume to cause issues with most tropical plants.
  • If you drill out the holes to a larger size the water will drain faster. For a plant that likes a drier soil this would be fine. For most tropicals it is unnecessary.
  • The drainage holes will become clogged with soil and roots over time. You could put a layer of geotextile which would slow down the root growth but not stop it.
  • for most tropicals by the time the roots have clogged up the drainage holes it needs to be re potted.

Unless you feel lucky every time you water the plant I would put another saucer underneath this to catch any overflow.

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