holes in different containers

Lamora(4)March 15, 2012

Hi Everyone! This was on another forum last week, got real ugly from what I was reading,, I hope this doesn't get like that because I would really like to know something.

Yesterday I was looking at a book that had different containers for plants(I think they called it "Junk Gardening")There was everything from coffee pots to Seashells to wicker baskets. One even made up a football for a planter. I can see most of these having holes in them, but the Seashell and a glass jar, those kind of things I cannot see having a hole in them for draining. The Seashell was huge, I can't remember what kind of plant was in it, but it was pretty good size. They even had cardboard boxes, but they specified that the boxes were temporary.

My question is, how do you put a plant in something like this, without a hole in it? Is it just a temporary thing? Is it just for certain plants? Do you change soil more often? How does this work? As far as the wicker basket goes, they told you how to do that one, but none of the others.

All my pots have holes in them. But my mom has a real pretty old teapot that I think would be perfect for a plant, but I don't want to put a hole in it. (when I can get back down to her :() How would I do that?

I hope this doesn't turn ugly like the last thread I read on this subject, I just want to know how it works. :)


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You could grow a plant in a shoe if you would like. My neighbor grow plants in an old toilet bowl outside that doesn't flush. They look like crap or should I say garbage after a few weeks of planting, but I haven't the guts to say that to him:-)

Some people get away with it.
My mother grows a lucky bamboo in a glass container with lots of pebbles. It serves her purpose. She says she will replace it once it croaks. She can't stand the thought of watering more often.
It was doing well for 1 year and now showing signs of decline though. The roots look brown and the salt desposits are grotesque.

Will a plant thrive in this type of setting, typically not, but living, hanging on depends on everyone and everything.

Many have terrariums and I am not sure how that works. But I know they build the bottom up with charcoal, pebbles, sand, and then soil. There must be a reason for this? A useful purpose or just a look, I don't know.

You should see the new wave here. All these terrestial little tropical plants in glass house/balls, with no drainage and a top you remove once in a while.
Want to laugh? The owner whom I know very well said that most people end up with dead plants in weeks and come back for more, because they like how cute they look. EXPENSIVE!

One has to watch for salts, root rot, and lack of oxygen to the roots and etc....
Can it work? It might for some. How long? Not sure, but not long for me.

I know a Chineese women that grows small succulents in konk shells with no drainage, but looses them end of the summer.
She buys those cheap 2 dollar plants at HD and sets them up on her front steps for the summer. Cute I think.
I guess it is a risk you would take to try it, but more find dissappointment after a period of time than success.

I don't have the money to waste on plants that will decline for me in containers with no holes in a short period of time, but than I guess many do. I am in the hobby to encourage healthy vivid plants for the long term or haul. That's why all my plants grow in pots with drainage holes. The more the merrier.

Does this make sense?


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 4:31PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Lemora, when you think about how we've all been suggesting is the proper way to water (drenching thoroughly), then you'll probably understand why we really don't want to encourage that anyone try to grow a plant in something that cannot drain.

But anything can survive temporarily. Once a person gets the hang of how much water a specific plant needs, it can be done. I'd never suggest it for a novice.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 10:57PM
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thanks-- I was just wondering if it could/should be done, is all.. and kept the plants nice for a while. I am very leary about no holes myself.. not sure if I want to chance it, even for a short time. Would someday like to try a terrarium some day, but I will study up on it first, see if it is what I really want. some are so pretty..

But thanks again for the info.. so if I don't want to drill it, then just forget it.. my new motto-- :)


    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 2:36AM
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Growing a plant in a teapot without a hole would wreck the teapot for its use in making tea just as surely as putting a hole in it. The accumulating salts would permanently affix themselves to the sides and bottom, and be very hard to remove. If you have a heirloom-y kind of object, I wouldn't use it for one of my plants. Also, what do you do when the plant overgrows the container? The root ball ends up much wider than the hole in the top of the teapot, and it would probably get damaged taking it out.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 8:15AM
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well, how about this?
Keep the plant in its' plastic container and use the teapot as a cachepot . . . and when it outgrows it, find another cachepot. Nothing is static, so even had you planted it in the pot directly, (and drilled a hole in bottom) it would still eventually outgrow the teapot and you'd have to repot.

I think folks sometimes want to be creative; so they use stuff temporarily. I like looking at pictures of that stuff, but I generally do the same old boring stuff that ensures drainage
I agree with Mike, to me, if I'm blowing money on plants, I do my best to keep them alive, not just for the season.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 7:00AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

meyermike writes: "You could grow a plant in a shoe if you would like."

My late MIL would go to the thrift store and they would give her odd shoes that they couldn't sell because they did not have a matching pair. MIL would plant Sempervivums, or Hen and Chicks, in these shoes and they would sell briskly at yard sales and flea markets.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 6:04PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

My brother has kept Sempervivums growing in an old shoe out on his roof deck for at least ten years, He had it on the deck of his boat for a few years before that. Has never had a replace the plants but the shoe is almost gone now.

You can grow in an un-drained pot just fine under two conditions. One is that you're growing your plants (semi or passive) hydroponic or that the container is wide and shallow like a bonsai type of pot or a wide dish where the rate of evaporation is fast enough that water doesn't sit in the soil for a very long time, either way you still need to flush the soil or you run into salt issues.

That said, there is generally an easy way to drill a hole in most common materials with a cheap hand drill. Tile and glass drill bits have gotten pretty cheap at home centers these days.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 10:03AM
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