This is the first in a series of posts highlighting my love for succulents. Today I’ll share with you how easy it is to drill a hole into a mason jar for a unique and fun planter idea.
When growing succulents, it’s imperative to have proper drainage since they generally don’t like to keep their feet wet AT ALL (their nickname is “water storage plants” so they already have plenty!). Over the next few days, I’ll expand on this basic mason jar planter to create a beautiful spring themed centerpiece. Be on the lookout for the DIY chalk paint and the final project which will both be coming up soon. All of this was made possible by the folks over at Oriental Trading Co. who were kind enough to sponsor these posts!
One thing that I’d like to add really quick. These deep planters are best for succulents with deep root systems.
The last time I was at the hardware store (it may have been yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that – don’t judge me), I happened to notice a display of beautiful succulents planted in mason jars. I picked one up to get a closer look and noticed that they didn’t have any drainage holes. I also noticed that insane price tag – YIKES! If there was ever a recipe for disaster, this was it. I couldn’t help but think about the people who may be new to succulents unknowingly buy them only to have their plants die within a matter of weeks – if not days.
Not only is this discouraging, it’s also a good way to turn someone off from something that is honestly really easy.
So, is it possible to grow succulents in planters without drainage holes? Absolutely. Would I recommend it? Nope. Is it easy to drill a hole into a mason jar? You betcha.
Supplies Needed for Your Mason Jar Succulent Planter:
- Mason Jars – I ordered these from Oriental Trading Co. (along with a bunch of other fun stuff that you’ll see later on). They were packaged extremely well and delivered quickly! Oriental Trading Co. had a huge variety to choose from but I went with the pint size since they will fit into the wood planter that I’ll be using later on.
- Carbide Tip Glass and Tile Drill Bit Set – I honestly chose these because of one guy in the review section online who specifically said that he used them to cut holes in mason jars (plus the price was much cheaper than the diamond tip bits)
- Electric Drill – I used old “rusty”. He isn’t the strongest drill in the shed, but he’s exactly what I needed for this job.
- A Small Cup of Water – You’ll be dipping the base of the jar into the water as you go along so make sure the container is wide enough to accommodate.
- Small Piece of Mesh Screen or Mesh Tape – I actually used mesh drywall sandpaper since that’s what I had. It’s also waterproof/rustproof annnnd I didn’t really want to cut a hole in my window screen to get some (ha!)
- Cactus & Succulent Potting Mix – please don’t use plain potting soil or anything with fine sand.
- Perlite – or pumice, vermiculite, turface. etc. Just something to lighten up the cactus & succulent mix.
- Your Favorite Succulents – I order mine from Leaf & Clay. Amazing customer service and super healthy plants! Check them out here → Leaf & Clay website
IMPORTANT – ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY GLASSES AND GLOVES.
How to Drill a Hole into a Mason Jar for Succulents
First thing you’ll need to do in order to drill a hole into a mason jar is to attach the drill bit to the drill. Pretty easy so far, right!? Wait. Let me back up. The FIRST thing that you’ll need to do is put on your safety glasses and gloves THEN proceed with the drill. I used the 5/16th bit to give me the perfect size hole.
Start in the center and press down just a bit to get it started. After you get a small dimple cut into the glass you won’t need to press down any longer, just let the drill do the work for you. Be sure to periodically dip the bottom of the jar and the bit into the water as you go along to keep things cool. This will greatly reduce your chances of it breaking. I made three of these planters and none of them broke using this method.
Keep drilling until the bit breaks through into the bottom of the glass. You will be surprised at how thick the bottom is (Well, I know I was!) Once you get to this point, you are reeeeeeally close to having a perfect hole so be ready for the bit to pop through at any moment. Once it does, you’re done!
The time it takes to drill a hole in a mason jar can take anywhere from 5-25 minutes. It all depends on the size hole you’re making and the type of drill bit that you use. I didn’t have any cracks or breaks throughout the whole process and it ended up being WAY less scary than I had imagined.
PS – the glass isn’t chipped in that photo, it’s just still wet around the drain hole.
Potting your succulent
I placed a little screen over the hole to prevent the soil from falling through as you water them. Please, whatever you do, don’t EVER, EVER, EVER add rocks to the bottom of any succulent planter.
If you ask 10 different gardeners their preferred soil mix, you’ll easily get 10 different answers. I personally use Black Gold Cactus Mix along with a little perlite simply because they are both easy to find at any hardware store. This brand is the only one I’ve found around here that actually has pumice in their blend and absolutely no peat (which is a BIG no-no). I avoid Miracle Grow at all costs – as a matter of fact, you couldn’t pay me to use it. There are also special succulent soil blends that you can buy but they are pricey. The amount of inorganic fluffy material you use depends on the particular succulent you are growing but a good rule of thumb is 50% cactus mix to 50% perlite or pumice. If you’d like to use succulent grower’s gold – I mean pumice – you can order it from General Pumice Products in California. They have free shipping and you get a massive bag for a very reasonable price!
Note: If you are growing lithops, baby toes, split rock (or anything else from this category) your soil will need to be TOTALLY different than what I mentioned above.
Here you can see my little screen covering our new drainage hole. Aside from keeping the soil in the jar, this combination will also ensure that the roots won’t ever have “wet feet”, which they hate. If you’ve ever wondered why your succulent didn’t live, it could very well be because of over watering + poor drainage. The soil may appear to be dry on the surface, but down below the roots are soaking wet. If you were to go and water your little plant, it will essentially drown (aka get root rot). Just take a few minutes to drill a hole into a mason jar and you’ll be all set.
I am in the process of editing the companion video on how to drill a hole into a mason jar and it should be up soon. I’ll add it here and share it on social media so you don’t miss it.
I just uploaded the video to this post! I hope this little tutorial has been helpful and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Links to items used in this post:
Natural Jute Roll
Women’s Nitrile Work Gloves Mine are over 5 years old and I LOVE them (affiliate)
Waterproof Drywall Sanding Screen (affiliate)
Carbide Glass Drill Bits (affiliate)
Electric Drill (affiliate)
Safety Glasses (affiliate)
Be sure to add this pin to your Mason Jar or Succulent Board on Pinterest!
Disclosure: How to Drill a Hole Into a Mason Jar is a sponsored post thanks to the generosity of Oriental Trading Co. However, all opinions expressed are my own, including thoughts in tweets. I received compensation, either monetarily, with a free product or both in exchange for this post. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.