Asked on May 19, 2019

How to make drainage for succulents in old birdbath?

Crystal Beach GroeneveltBy Brittany GoldwynBetsy


I’ve seen photos of succulents planted in bird baths. How does the water drain after a heavy rainfall? Do I drill holes into the bath? Thanks

6 answers
  • Kelli L. Milligan
    Kelli L. Milligan
    on May 19, 2019

    You'll have to, yess.

  • Mike Ryan
    Mike Ryan
    on May 19, 2019

    I would be very careful. There is a drill bit made to use on cement. Put masking tape on area before you drill. If it’s not too big it might work or it might break it. I sure don’t know what else you would do.

  • Darlene Williman
    Darlene Williman
    on May 19, 2019

    Kelli and MIke are right. There are cement drills that you can use and your bird bath should have drained holes. Be careful when drilling depending on how old and what type of cement the birdbath is will determine how well it can have holes drilled in it. Also be careful because the bit heats up and if you drill to fast you could crack your birdbath. After you drill the holes in the bottom lay screening in the bottom so that the water drains out but not your dirt. I would also put stone chips or pebbles in on top of the screening so that there is an extra layer of drainage.

    • Betsy
      on May 24, 2019

      If you opt for drilling holes, coffee filters are great to cover the holes to keep the dirt from going out. They are great for putting in pots with holes, too, to keep the dirt from falling out:) They are strong and the water will drain out of them like your coffee does:) I always keep a pack in my garden shed.

  • Betsy
    on May 19, 2019

    Hay JayEl: What you might try to do, if you are hesitant to drill holes, is to put a thick layer of pebbles into the bottom of the birdbath and then plant your succulents in individual terra cotta planters and put them on top of the pebbles. The planters come in loads of sizes. Then, if it rains, you can just tip the bird bath over a bit and drain the water out. Or, use a siphon to remove the water. Or, and this just occurred to me:) You can do the pebble thing, and plant your succulents in a tray filled with dirt, and poke holes in that for drainage. When it rains, just pick up the tray, plants and all, empty the bird bath and replace the tray. Succulents don't really have deep roots roots, but need at least 4" of dirt to grow in. Sandy potting soil mixed with vermiculite makes a great succulent mix! Good luck

    • JayEl
      on May 23, 2019

      Thanks, Betsy. Great idea. Since we get a lot of heavy rain, putting the plants in a removable tray would be ideal. Brilliant!

  • By Brittany Goldwyn
    By Brittany Goldwyn
    on May 23, 2019

    Masonry bit that goes through concrete and drill with enough power. Drill a few drainage holes in the bottom and you're done!

  • Crystal Beach Groenevelt
    Crystal Beach Groenevelt
    on May 23, 2019

    The pebbles are a great idea. You can actually plant them right into the pebbles.

    Succulents need very little soil to root into which makes them easy to plant just about anywhere. How about using soil in an old pizza pan or deep dish pizza pan? You could drill a couple holes in that and with some small peoples below it, it would be raised from the bottom of the bird bath so it can drain. You could then lift it right out and tip the bird bath to drain excess water. Be aware of the shallow roots when moving the pan around. Succulents are not as stable as other plants and can be uprooted with an accidental bump.

Your comment...