How to punch drainage holes in plastic flower pots

Written by suzie faloon
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How to punch drainage holes in plastic flower pots
A plastic pot is set on a saucer to catch drainage run-off. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Plastic flower pots are a main staple for commercial plant sales. Greenhouse growers use the pots when transplanting seedlings that have outgrown the small cells in growing trays. The plants are generally transferred to window boxes, large planters and hanging pots after a customer brings them home. The plastic pots are recyclable for growing new seedlings. Decorative plastic flower pots that are sold commercially may have a solid bottom with no drainage system. Drainage holes are needed in new or recycled plant pots to protect the root systems and health of the flowering plants.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Marker
  • Wood burning tool with pointed tip
  • Face mask
  • Craft knife
  • Safety goggles
  • Nail
  • Hammer

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    Woodburning Tool

  1. 1

    Mark four to six spots on the plastic plant pot bottom for drainage hole locations with a marker.

  2. 2

    Secure the pointed tip into the wood burning tool. Plug the electrical cord into a nearby outlet in a well ventilated area.

  3. 3

    Turn the pot upside down on a flat surface. Secure a protective face mask over your nose and mouth.

  4. 4

    Touch the heated point of the wood burning tool to one of the marks on the plant pot bottom. Push down slowly until the heated tip punches through the plastic of the plant pot. Repeat with the remaining holes.

  5. 5

    Trim any protruding pieces of cooled melted plastic away with the craft knife.

    Hammer and Nail

  1. 1

    Use a nail with a sharp point.

  2. 2

    Set the plastic plant pot upside down on a flat surface. Put on safety goggles to protect your eyes from plastic shards.

  3. 3

    Place the nail on to the marked spot on the bottom of the plastic plant pot.

  4. 4

    Tap the nail firmly with the hammer until it punches a hole in the plastic surface. If the bottom of the pot seems to bend or bow downward place the container over a support. Set the pot over a piece of firewood or 2-by-4 remnant to keep it from bending and breaking. The wood will hold the plastic piece in place allowing the nail to punch through it into the wood. Stop tapping once the nail has pierced the plastic to keep it from embedding into the wood.

Tips and warnings

  • Cut away from your body when using a craft knife to trim plastic pieces.
  • Use caution when melting plastic as there may be fumes.

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