What Can I Use to Keep the Drain Holes in a Planter From Clogging?

Written by katherine kally
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What Can I Use to Keep the Drain Holes in a Planter From Clogging?
Keep your planters from clogging with innovative, inexpensive solutions. (ULTRA F/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Keep the potting soil inside a planter and let the water escape by covering the drainage holes with materials that help prevent clogging. Common household materials work as well as commercial materials; as long as the cover does not block the water flow, your plants should be happy.

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Coffee Filters

Unfold coffee filters and place them inside the planter over each of the drain holes. This inexpensive solution is biodegradable and will keep the drain holes from clogging. Tape the filters in place with duct tape to prevent the weight of the water and the soil from moving them. Coffee filters break down over time, so replace them each time you repot the plant or add new soil. Even if the plant is happy in the planter, change the soil once each year.

Landscape Liner

Landscape liner is useful for more than keeping weeds out of your flower beds. Cut the sieve-like material into small sections to fit inside the bottom of a planter. Tape the liner in place with duct tape, but do not tape over any of the drainage holes. Landscape liner will allow water to flow through the drainage holes, but will not let the potting soil through to create a clog, as long as the liner is taped securely to the inside walls of the planter.


Keep the drain holes from clogging in a planter by lining the bottom with cheesecloth. Double, or triple the cheesecloth layers and then tape them to the bottom of the inside of the planter with duct tape. Just like landscape liner and coffee filters, the cheesecloth allows water to escape, but keeps the soil inside the planter. As with coffee filters, replace the cheesecloth liner each time that you replace the soil or repot the plant.


Line your planter with rocks to help keep the drain holes from clogging and to help the potting soil retain moisture. The rocks should be slightly larger than the drainage holes. Place them in a single layer along the bottom of the planter. Water will seep through and between the rocks to exit the drainage holes, but the rocks will not clog the holes. Rocks alone are a helpful solution against clogs, but they are not as effective as coffee filters, landscape liner and cheesecloth.

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