braid and wood hanging planters in white suspended from ceiling with pothos houseplant

Do Hanging Plants Need Drainage? Here's What To Do

Keeping indoor hanging plants healthy, thriving, and styling can be tricky. With a busy family and working life, it can be easy to overlook the needs of your indoor plants or fall into the ‘over-watering’ or ‘under-watering’ trap!

Providing your indoor plants with the best conditions to grow and thrive is vital. You might be wondering, do hanging plants need drainage in order stay healthy?

In our helpful article, we will provide you with everything you need to know about caring for indoor hanging plants so they can continue to create a calming oasis in your home or office space.

"Most indoor hanging plants need adequate drainage. This is essential to ensure they stay healthy and thrive. Proper drainage will avoid water from pooling at the base of the pot, which can cause bacteria, fungus, and root rot."

With that brief takeaway covered, we now understand that indoor hanging plants need drainage, so let’s begin to discover why they need it.

Why Do Indoor Hanging Plants Need Drainage?

There are four main reasons why indoor hanging plants need drainage:

Too Much Water Is Harmful To Hanging Plants

Although many hanging plants enjoy a really good soaking and prefer damp soil, they will be harmed if they sit too long in pools of water.

We all want to give our plants as much love as possible, but if the drainage for your hanging plants isn’t adequate, they will sit with ‘wet feet!’.

"Although many hanging plants enjoy a good soaking and prefer damp soil, they will be harmed if they sit too long in pools of water."

Prevents Pooling

The surface tension of soil is increased when soil particles are drawn very close together, think hard packed soil. When soil has high surface tension water is not absorbing into the soil as well as it should be.
houseplant being watered with lime green watering can

If you are overwatering indoor hanging plants, you are probably increasing the surface tension of the soil.

If the water can’t drain properly it will sit on top of the soil and cause your plants to sit in a pool of water which can cause bacteria, fungus, and an unhappy plant!

This water logging due to poor drainage can cause low oxygen levels, affecting the growth of your plant.

It will also mean less nitrogen will be absorbed by the roots. This may make the existing leaves turn pale yellow as the plant will make sure any nitrogen is transported directly to new growth.


If your indoor hanging plant is looking a little pale or even has a yellow tinge to the leaves, chances are it’s not getting enough airflow.

Indoor plants, including hanging plants, don't have the luxury of nature as aerators such as worms and other types of burrowers to build effective air tunnels through the soil.

Plants can survive an occasional overwatering, but if you repeatedly give them too much water there is no way for oxygen to get into the soil, to be absorbed by the roots.

When there isn’t enough drainage for your hanging plants, the roots become weakened and susceptible to harmful bacteria and fungi.

"Plants need loose, well-aerated soil to be healthy."

Removes Harmful Salts

Well draining soil will ensure that salt does not build up.

Salinity (the level of salt in the soil) affects the health of indoor hanging plants by inhibiting nitrogen uptake. This can significantly reduce growth and create an unhealthy plant. 

houseplant with harmful salt build up on soil

1. Cleanse the Plant

Run water through your hanging plant. Allow the soil to fully soak, then drain & dry out. Repeat the process one more time.

2. Treat with a Water and Vinegar Solution

Once the soil is dry, flush a third time with a vinegar and water solutions. Use 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar for each quart of water. The vinegar will help lower the soil pH and neutralize the salts held in the soil.

3. Re-pot in New Soil 

Something it's just easier to remove the plant and report with new fresh soil. We recommend doing the vinegar-water solution once the plant is re-potted to take care of any salt that may still be affecting the roots of the plant.

Lastly, Root Rot

Root rot is a disease in plants, in which the roots of a plant rot and decay.

Although outdoor plants are also susceptible to root rot, it’s more commonly seen in houseplants.

Conditions that contribute to root rot are primarily when roots sit in water for too long, and also when air isn’t allowed to flow freely to the roots which can be caused by lack of drainage and impacted soil.

orchid plant showing rotted roots
Root rot is generally an irreversible condition and it is common for plants to never fully recover afterward. So for anyone wondering whether hanging plants need drainage you can see how it’s important to keep the soil well-drained.

"Root rot is generally an irreversible condition and it is common for plants to never fully recover."

Now that we’ve learned why indoor hanging plants need good drainage to thrive and remain healthy, we are going to tell you the best ways to provide your hanging houseplants with adequate drainage.

How Do I Make Sure My Indoor Hanging Plants Have Adequate Drainage?

Plants that don’t like a lot of moisture will need a drainage hole for moisture to escape and for airflow to circulate through the pot. Here’s some important hanging plant drainage advice.

Best Drainage Tips for Hanging Plants

Pot With Well-Draining Soil

Using well-draining soil is extremely important for pots without drainage because it allows for more airflow. Even though the water still has nowhere to flow out, it's easier for the water to evaporate if the soil has large particles (1/4″ or 6mm is ideal).

Use Pots With Drainage Holes

All containers used for planting should have holes in the bottom to prevent water from sitting in the pot. To do this with indoor hanging planters that don't have drainage holes, simply keep the plant in its grow pot and then place the grow pot in the hanging planter. Remove the grow pot to water.

Avoid Using Drainage Materials

Drainage materials at the base of the pot like rocks or gravel can hinder water movement and could cause pooling.  Adding larger materials to the bottom is a way that people frequently “add drainage” to a pot. For more insight on what drainage materials to use, check out this blog!

Soil Quality Matters

Not all potting soil is created equally. Be sure to use high-quality potting soil and compost soil in your hanging planters.

Are There Any Hanging Plants That Don’t Need Drainage?

If you don't want to worry about having adequate drainage for your indoor hanging plants, you’ll be pleased to know there are some indoor hanging plants that do not need drainage to stay perfectly healthy.

The most obvious plants that don’t need drainage are Air Plants or Tillandsias. These elegant members of the pineapple family not only survive well without drainage, they don’t need soil at all to live. Here's a great article all about air plant care.

Top 8 Houseplants That Do Well Without Drainage

These plants are perfect to bring a super stylish minimalist statement to your home decor while also needing very little in terms of care and drainage.


close up of xerographica air plant

Ponytail Palm

pony tail palm houseplant in white ceramic pot

Golden Pothos

golden pothos houseplant in white ceramic pot

Spider Plant

close up of spider plant leaves

Chinese Evergreen

close up of Chinese evergreen plant


close up of philodendron leaves

Silver Satin Pothos

close up of silver satin pothos leaves


hoya plant in white ceramic pot with persons hand holding pot

And To Finish…

So that’s a wrap! We hope that’s given you lots of helpful information about your indoor hanging plants whether they need drainage!

Don’t forget to check out our other articles and for anyone wondering, Are Hanging Plants Going Out Of Style? We weight in on the most stylish ways to incorporate plants into you home in this article.

Don’t forget to browse our full range of high-quality modern & minimal plant hangers for all indoor plant lovers!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.