Take Your Container Gardening to the Next Level – DrainSmart and PotRisers

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Who says there are no new ideas? A while back our intrepid editor stumbled across two unique products for container gardening while scouring the show floor of the National Hardware Show. Impressed with what he saw, he passed along review samples provided to us by DrainSmart and PotRisers. We’ll provide details on both in the dual review below – it’s sure to give you two great products to take your container gardening to the next level.

DrainSmart Drainage Discs

When I first spied the Drain Smart drainage discs, my first thought was that someone had accidentally left some floor stripping pads in the gardening department. On closer examination, I realized that no, these are discs to put in the bottom of flower pots. “That’s an interesting idea, maybe…” I thought, and then immediately became distracted by some other shiny new tool.

The homely little discs sat on my desk for a month, looking mildly interesting, but, my major case of adult attention deficit disorder kept drawing me away to more exciting things. After finally trying them out, I now want to state publicly…I’m sorry, little drainage discs! Not every great new invention has to be flashy, and you are definitely more than meets the eye!

As easy as 1,2...well, you know.  photo: DrainSmart
As easy as 1,2…well, you know.

These simple little plastic mesh discs sit in the bottom of your pot to provide airspace and drainage. They take the place of pebbles, rocks, bark or whatever you normally use at the bottom of the pot. They perform as advertised, and they substantially reduce the weight of your pots, if you have used rocks or pebbles in the past. The real beauty of these little babies becomes apparent when you take the plant out to repot it. Dump your potting soil out and take the disc out – it’s ready to be washed and reused, over and over. AND- you don’t have to pick the pebbles and rocks out of your potting soil to use it again. BRILLIANT! Why has no one thought of this before? These are perfect if you do a lot of transplanting. For instance, we grow heirloom peach trees and they need to go in and out of pots several times. If you have a patio or rooftop garden, these would be ideal.

Two sizes and trimmable to fit
Two sizes and trimmable to fit

They come in packs of five 6” discs, or three 12” discs, and they are easy to trim to custom sizes with a good pair of scissors. Another big plus for the DrainSmart company- their drainage discs are manufactured right here in the good ol’ US of A. I don’t know about you, but that is a HUGE selling point for me, as I love to support companies that keep jobs here in the states.

PotRisers, Another Homely, But Handy Gadget

A good companion to the DrainSmart discs are PotRisers. Can you guess what they do? Of course you can. YES! They raise pots. They are hard, square, black rubber pads that lift your pots, planters, statuaries or whatever, off the ground to provide airflow and drainage. Okay, not too exciting, but by golly, they raise pots mighty good!

A subtle lift provides a great way to tuck away irrigation lines

Why should you care? PotRisers have a number of benefits. If you use drip irrigation (and you should!), PotRisers can help you hide and run the lines without crushing them under the pot. Drainage holes in pots also don’t work very well when they’re pressed into a flat surface. PotRisers gives your pots a boost to help improve the awesome drainage you’re getting from those DrainSmart drainage discs! Lastly, they minimize deck and surface staining from wet pots sitting directly on flat surfaces.

We got PotRisers into place here too late – avoid stains like these!

PotRisers appear to be nearly perfect in their uniformity, and their small size and flat black color do make them nearly invisible. A set of four 1”x1”x1/2” riser blocks will hold up to 1600 lbs. (Holy cow!) and make a large planter look like it is floating just above the ground. Pretty cool! They also will float a lot of stuff other than pots, and I have found some uses for these little fellas around the shop as well. And, since they’re rated to 1,600 lbs for a set of four standard risers, or 12,000 lbs for a set of four larger sizes, you’re going to need a very big pot to exceed their spec’s.

Pot Risers give the pot a "floating" effect.
Pot Risers give the pot a nice “floating” effect.

They are made of 100% recycled material (always a plus) and “designed and packaged in the USA”, which we suspect is a nice way of saying they are made in China. Editor’s Note: We received this correction on our made in China suspicion: “Potrisers are MADE in the the USA and Canada. NOT China. We simply can’t say made in the USA as some of the initial processing is done in Canada.”

Buy Now - Std PotRisers via Amazon

Buy Now - Big PotRisers via Amazon

Buy Now - DrainSmart Discs via Amazon

Photo of author

About Rich

Rich Dana loves to build things, to tinker on things, and to grow things. After more than a decade as a historic building remodeler in Brooklyn, New York, he and his wife Ericka moved to their back-to-the-land dream home (and fixer-uper nightmare), an 1870s farmhouse on 15 acres in eastern Iowa that they call “Catnip Farm.” For the last 18 years, Rich has specialized in super-efficient historical renovations and solar PV installation. He is working to convert much of the farm into perennial food crops like nut trees and berries, and he helps Ericka out with her heirloom seed project. His latest passion is learning to sew.

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