How to Drill a Hole in a Ceramic Pot?

I recollect my teenage years when my Sunday evenings used to pass by, watching my dad making holes in ceramic pots using a stone drill.

He used to have hardship drilling the holes, and I couldn’t help but notice the strain on his face. However, my mom, being smarter, suggested dad with easier methods.

Generally, use a cordless or electric driller with diamond drill bits to prick the holes. The use of drills will provide ease of handling and less chance of cracking delicate pots. However, you can also employ other objects like knives, nails, and screwdrivers instead of drillers.

Image represents bunch of ceramic pots with holes
Use power or manual drillers to drill a hole or many holes in ceramic pots.

My dad didn’t prick the holes in the pots just to decorate them. He used to tell me that the holes are like lungs for the plants helping them to breathe smoothly.

Moreover, making holes is so easy that now I have readymade ceramic pots at my disposal, ready for any plant to make them home.

So, if you wonder how I caught the process of drilling holes in pots early, stand by and learn the methods from here on!

Why Make Drill Holes in Ceramic Pots?

Ceramic Pots are like home to the plants where they learn to grow.

They are completely safe for plants as they don’t react with the potting soil. Also, these pots are free of any harmful components.

Furthermore, ceramic pots are more rigid than terracotta or clay pots as they are made at high temperatures and molding them to the preferred shape.  

They are available in two types, glazed and unglazed, in shops or online forums. 

Many house plants prefer the quality of ceramic pots so that you can see them easily in every gardener’s home.

Plants like Golden Pothos, Spider Plants, Boston Fern, and Maidenhair Fern are well-suited for ceramic pots.

And, like all the pots, they also bear drill or drainage holes.

However, just like you, plants feel comfortable and safe in their home if they have some additional benefits.

Drill holes are necessary to save the plant from several onsets like waterlogging.

Image represents the overwatered conditions of soil
Overwatering leads to smothering conditions of roots, causing the plant to droop and die.

A bitter truth of scolding I got from my dad was when I blocked the holes in one of our plant pots.

What ensued later is a long list of teachings from my dad about using drill holes.

  • Drainage holes ensure enough oxygen reaches the plant roots.
  • The holes also help flush the excess fertilizer salts to avoid fertilizer burn.
  • Drill holes provide a good airflow into the soil, making it airy and allowing the roots to grow freely.

So, you can say that drill holes are like lifesavers for your plants at the time when they feel suffocated.

How Many Holes to Make in a Ceramic Pot?

Just because the holes are helpful doesn’t mean that you turn your pot into a chunk of Swiss cheese!

The size of the pot decides the number of holes that you can make in the pot.

Image represents the number of drainage holes to be made in ceramic pots
Adding 4-8 draining holes in pots will give additional drainage to the plants.

Acclaimed gardeners drill about 4-8 holes in their ceramic pots. This is the secret of their success in gardening.

Small ceramic pots ranging from 4 to 12 inches require holes of half an inch in diameter. Meanwhile, larger ceramic pots of >16 inches need holes of at least 1 inch in width.

Normally, most pots you see in shops have a single hole at the bottom, which is fine.

But, popular gardeners prefer two holes about ½-1 inch above the pot’s base facing opposite to each other.

The holes on the sides allow greater air entry into the soil. As a result, the plants can also quickly return from stressful situations.

However, if you feel reluctant, you can add more without breaking the pot itself.

Tool Required to Make Hole in Ceramic Pot

After you learn the ins and outs of drilling holes in ceramic pots, choose the proper tools for the process.

Electric drillers and carbide-tipped drill bits are popular among people, but they limit their reach and are less functional than diamond drill bits.

Check below for a few essential tools that will aid you in successfully finishing the deed.

DrillTo drill holes in the pots
Diamond Drill BitsInterchangeable bits to drill holes of different sizes
Ceramic PotPot for drilling in the holes
Safety GogglesTo protect the eyes while drilling
GlovesTo protect the hands while drilling

How to Make a Hole in a Ceramic Pot with a Drill?

You can effortlessly drill holes in ceramic pots, but follow the safety regulations at all times!

Wear gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes from incoming ceramic bits.

Once you are done, let’s begin the drilling process.

  • Before drilling, soak the ceramic pots overnight in a bucket of sink water.
  • You can also soak the pots an hour before you start the drilling.
  • Grab a power drill and the drill bit of the needed size to drill holes in your ceramic pot.
  • Place the pot upside down on a sturdy table or the garden soil, so the surface is firm.
  • Use a sharpie to mark where you want to drill the holes.
  • Place a small patch of masking tape over the marked areas to acquire continuous drilling.
  • Get an angle of about 45° to create a small dent and kick off the drill.
  • Once you hint that the drill is catching speed, straighten the drill perpendicularly.
Image represents the process of drilling holes in pots
Drill holes at a perpendicular angle in ceramic pots.
  • Increase the drilling speed by gently giving the drill a push from the back.
  • When the pot is pierced, slow down and turn off the drill.
  • To make a bigger hole, drill along the edges of a small hole and work your way through.
  • Repeat the above steps and similarly drill more holes in your pot if you want.

Drilling holes in a glazed ceramic pot is difficult, as the drill may not get a hold of the slippery surface.

Wetting the surface shall be useful to finish the job quickly but skip this hauling process if you are soaking the pot.

Additionally, drill the holes from the outside to the inside of the pot to make the job easier.

You can also follow the step-by-step guide video below to get a revision on the process!

How to Make a Hole in a Ceramic Pot without a Drill?

I honestly think the best way to make a hole in a ceramic pot is to use a power drill.

I had seen the uneasy look on my dad’s face when he used the simple drilling methods.

However, if the drill broke halfway through the act or you can’t afford a new drill, it’s the only way out.

But first, grab the things you need, like a wooden hammer and an awl or a sturdy nail or a Dremel to do the job.

Also, don’t forget to cover your eyes using safety goggles and wear gloves.

After you are done, follow the steps below.

  • Soak the ceramic pot overnight or an hour before you start the process, as mentioned earlier.
  • Keep the pot upside down on a firm table, above a thick folded piece of cloth, or on the soil.
  • Make marking points on the base of the pot using a sharpie.
  • If you are using a hammer, hold the nail or awl between your fingers and start hammering at the point gently.
  • Once the surface is nicked, continue the process until the nail pierces the base.
  • It will be safer to use a Dremel if you are less familiar with the drilling process.
  • Add more holes in your pot by repeating the above steps at different points of the pot’s base.

It’s better to use a power drill if you are drilling your way through the basal side of the pot. This way, you will get a fair grip on the pot’s surface.


The thought of drilling holes in a ceramic pot may overwhelm you, but the process feels easy if you are doing it with precision.

However, gather the correct supplies and always soak the ceramic pot in water before drilling to get good results accurately.

Maintain safety regulations and follow alternative methods if you are in a sticky situation.

I hope the article helps as I have tried clarifying many doubts about drilling and making holes in the pots.

Are your Orchids dying as of waterlogging? No matter if you have terracotta or a clay pot for your plants, the above-said process of drilling suits all types of planters.

Happy Gardening!

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