How do you know if the drainage is good or bad?


The soil or the substrate within which the roots will develop must have, not only the necessary nutrients for them to grow, but also an adequate porosity that allows the water to drain properly. The vast majority of plants do not like to have "wet feet" constantly, so it is important that we make sure that the culture medium is the most appropriate taking into account the specific needs of each species.

Therefore, we are going to explain how to tell if the drainage is good or bad, so that in this way you can take the measures you consider appropriate so that your plants can be beautiful and, above all, healthy.

How do I know if the drainage is good or bad?

Clay floor

Actually, it is much simpler than it might seem, since in addition there are different ways to find out:


  1. The first to know how good the soil drainage is is to wait for it to rain heavily or for several days. If puddles form on the ground and the water is slow to seep in, we can be sure that it has poor drainage.
  2. The next, much faster, is to make a hole of about 50 or 60cm in diameter for the same depth. We fill it with water and wait for it to drain: if it takes several days, the drainage will be poor.
  3. Another way to find out is to dig a hole or a ditch of about 60-70cm and see the color of the earth. If it is green, gray, or gray with red spots, it means that this area remains humid for part of the year.


The easiest and fastest way to know if the substrate has poor drainage is by watering it. If the water remains on the surface too long (2 or more seconds), or if we see that the substrate has trouble filtering it, it will mean that it has poor drainage.

Why is it important to fix bad drainage?

Phytophthora fungus

Phytophthora fungus on a bromeliad.

A soil or substrate that does not drain water well is a problem for many plants. Its roots are suffocating, and in doing so the fungi that live in the soil (Fusarium, Phytophthora, Pythium, etc.) take the opportunity to weaken them and, in the end, kill them.

Therefore, if you have a poorly drained soil or substrate, measures must be taken, such as mixing the earth with perlite (or other porous material) or creating slopes.

Do you need more info? Click here.

The content of the article adheres to our principles of editorial ethics. To report an error click here.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *



  1. Responsible for the data: Miguel Ángel Gatón
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.