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How to Drill Holes in a Ceramic Pot: 3 Easy Steps!

Are you tired of buying ceramic pots without drainage holes? I sure am! So today I want to teach how to drill holes in a ceramic pot in just 3 simple steps!

A Ceramic Pot With a Drain Hole Drilled

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For some reason I thought it would be hard to drill a hole in a ceramic pot or maybe not even possible. But after finding so many pots that I wanted to use but couldn’t, I decided that I was going to figure out how to do it myself.

Now I cannot believe I didn’t do it sooner because it is so easy.

Best of all, I can now buy any pot I want. Whether they are ceramic, terra cotta, or clay pots. Drain hole or not, I can drill my own!

How to Drill a Hole in a Ceramic Pot

Below I’ll go over the 3 quick and easy steps for drilling your own drainage holes!

Step 1: 

Set your pot upside down so that you are drilling from the outside in. Be sure that the pot is set somewhere where it is secure and won’t move as you start to drill.

Center your drill bit so that your hole will be in the center.

Ceramic Pots Turned Upside Down So That a Drain Hole Can Be Drilled

Step 2:

Slowly begin drilling while applying just a bit of pressure to the top of the drill with your opposite hand. This will keep the bit from slipping.

Once you start to see a hole forming in your pot you can increase the speed of your drill.

You should also drizzle water on the pot as you are drilling which will keep the drill bit from getting too hot and help drill through the surface.

Note: It takes a little bit of time to drill all the way through depending on the hardness of your pot.

The average time it takes me to drill through is anywhere from 30 seconds to about 2 minutes.

It’s not quite as quick and easy as drilling through wood, so be patient.

If you feel like the hole isn’t progressing, try switching your drill to the hammer setting, just drill slowly so the pot doesn’t break.

Step 3: 

Once you drill all the way through the pot, gently pull the drill bit back out.

Get your FREE list of must-have tips for container gardening here!

How Many Drainage Holes Are Needed? (Or is One Drainage Hole Enough?)

For most pots, just one drainage hole is plenty. Especially if the pot is smaller.

But if the pot is really large or wider with a different shape, such as a rectangular planter, it can be beneficial to drill a few holes for water to drain out of.

Which Drill Bit to Use for Ceramic Pots?

The best drill bit to use for ceramic pots is one that is made for tile and stone or glass and tile.

They can be found at almost every hardware store or even online at Amazon!

I currently have a Bosch Tile and Stone ½” drill bit that can drill through natural stone, granite, ceramic, and glass.

A 1/2″ hole seems to be perfect for most sized pots because a drain hole that is too small can easily get blocked by pieces of bark or stone that are in potting soil mixes.

To prevent soil from draining out the bottom of the pot I place a larger stone over the hole, a piece of coconut coir plant liner, screen, or weed mesh so that the water will still drain out but with no soil.

Other Tools Needed to Drill a Drain Hole in a Ceramic Pot 

A good drill is important so you have the power needed to properly drill through your pots, no matter what material they’re made of.

I have a Dewalt drill and it is an all around great quality drill.

Ceramic Garden Pots

How to Drill a Drain Hole (Video)

If you’d like to watch step by step, you can do so in my YouTube video below!

How to Easily Drill Your Own Drain Hole

Have Fun Drilling

I find so much satisfaction in learning new skills and doing things on my own.

So definitely try out drilling your own drain holes. It is so easy and well worth the time and investment in tools.

What are you going to plant in your pot? If you plan on planting succulents be sure to check out this article here: How to Replant Succulents Successfully

Or if you like DIY projects, you’ll love this one: An Easy DIY Wooden Planter Box

Pin It for Later

Ceramic Garden Pots


  1. Thanks for the helpful tips- you answered all my questions with this post and short video. Great site!

  2. I just bought a plant and looked up how to care for it, and it mentions having the water drain out of the pot holes. But there are no pot holes in this pot. Can you drill holes while there is already a plant in the pot?

  3. Thank you for this informative post on drilling drain holes, Audrey! I was wondering if there are specific drill bits that you would recommend for different types of pots like ceramic vs. plastic

  4. Thank you for this informative post on drilling drain holes, Audrey!
    I was wondering if there are specific drill bits that you would recommend for different types of pots like ceramic vs. plastic

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