DIY Self-Draining Saucers

Self Draining Saucer for indoor cannabis

Self-Draining Saucers to Evacuate the Run-off

The plants should be watered until run-off at each fertigation – and they cannot sit in that water! There are several solutions for eliminating run-off water. Many growers move their plants around to water them, however, plants don’t like to be moved and this becomes impractical. Other growers use shop vacs to suck up the run-off from each saucer, but this quickly becomes a tremendous hassle. Growing cannabis indoors should be a fun challenge, not a tedious chore. Self-draining saucers are the best way to remove run-off water.

Self-draining saucers are great if hand-watering: No moving plants, no hauling around noisy shop-vacs, simple – easy. If you are using an automatic watering system, then these saucers can become a key part of your automatic drainage system. Self-draining saucers are better than flood tables or other solutions that allow the water to stay exposed. Water exposed in a flood table or other catchment raises relative humidity and increases the risk of pathogens. The self-draining saucers move the water quickly through a tube to help maintain a clean grow area.

Build Your Own Self-Draining Saucers

These DIY Self-draining saucers take only a little effort to build, and that effort pays off in spades during the grow. I have used the same set of self-draining saucers pictured here for over two years now, and I can no longer imagine growing without them. When it comes to run-off water, I have nothing to do, nothing to clean, and nothing to worry about.

I use two saucers with 2x4s between them to elevate. This raises the top saucer 3.5”, which is all that is needed to properly drain. I attach drain lines which use gravity to drain all my saucers into one common catchment.

If you are hand-watering, the drain lines can run into a saucer which you can empty manually. If you are using an auto-watering system, the catchment should be large enough to hold the run-off from several fertigation events. I designed an “Auto-pumping drain bucket” which serves as my catchment. It receives the water from the saucers and automatically pumps it out into a separate bucket that sits outside my tent.

Self-Draining Saucers Supplies

  • Purchased Locally:
    • A 2x4 cut into 8” sections (need three sections per finished saucer)
    • Wood Screws 1.5” to 2” in length

Hydrofarm 14" Saucer
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You want a durable saucer that is thick and fairly rigid. Avoid the cheap flimsy saucers! These Hydrofarm saucers are perfect. They are light and rugged and deep and perfect! They come in sets of 10, enough to make 5 self-draining saucers. Don’t worry if you think you don’t need that many, you’d be surprised how handy extra saucers can be!

Drain Line: 3/8"ID 1/2"OD Clear Vinyl Tubing
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These lines attach to the saucers and move the run-off water to the catchment.

Filter Washers
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These little washers (3/4 Inch Hose Connectors) serve several purposes. They hold the drain line, provide a surface to attach to the bottom of the saucer, and prevent debris from cloging the drain lines.

Silicon Sealant
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This is used to attach the drain lines to the washers and to seal up the screw holes. It is not strong enough to attach the washer to the saucer - you need super glue for that.

Brush-On Super-Glue
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When I first made these saucers I tried a ton of different sealants. Super-glue is the only one that provided a reliable long-term seal. I have now used the same saucers for almost two years with no leaks.

Assembling Your Self-Draining Saucers

Step 1: Prepare the Component Parts

The 2x4s:

  • Cut the 2x4 into 8” Sections.
  • You will need 3 sections per self-draining saucer.
  • If you do not have a circular saw, you can ask the lumber yard to cut the 2x4 when you buy it.

Top Saucers:

  • Drill ½” hole in the bottom near edge of the top saucer
  • This is the hole where you will attach the drain line

Bottom Saucers:

  • Drill ½” hole in the side wall of the bottom saucer for the drain line to pass through (see picture).
  • This hole will hold the drain line in place and provide added stability.

Drain Lines:

  • Use scissors to cut the vinyl tubing to the approximate length needed for drain lines.
  • Use superglue or silicon sealant to attach the vinyl tubing to the filter washers

Step 2: Attach 2x4s to Bottom Saucer

  1. Arrange the 2x4s as shown in the diagram below.
  2. The area where you position the drain hole is intentionally unsupported
  3. Pre-drill holes for the wood screws from the bottom, through the saucer and into the 2x4s.
  4. Put a dollop of silicon sealant in the hole and then insert the wood screw.

Step 3: Attach Top Saucer

  1. Position the drain hole above the unsupported area and aligned with the hole in the side wall of the bottom saucer.
  2. Drill down through the top saucer into the 2x4s. Apply silicone sealant and then the screws.

Step 4: Attach the Drain Lines

  1. Feed the loose end of the drain line through the hole in the side wall of the bottom saucer
  2. The Filter washer provides a large flat surface to glue to the bottom of the top saucer.
  3. Use ample super glue and attach to the bottom of the top saucer.
  4. Superglue provides the most reliable seal. Using the brush-on superglue allows you to paint additional glue around the edge of the saucer.

Step 5: Install Self-Draining Saucers in your Grow Tent

  1. Keep lines below the level of the saucers.
  2. Run all lines to a catchment

A Complete Automatic Drainage System

Self-draining saucers are the first half of an automatic drainage system. You will need a catchment to complete the system. We have plans for an easy “DIY Auto-Pumping Drain Bucket” that is designed to work with these saucers. Together they create a complete automatic drainage solution for any grow.

The Coco For Cannabis Guide to Automatic Watering

The Self-Draining saucers work great on their own, but they work the best with an automatic watering system. Putting one together is easier than you may think (The self-draining saucers are the hardest part)! Be sure to see our guides!

Get Support from our Community!

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We also have a live chat room, which is a great place to ask questions, get quick answers, and chat with fellow growers. We welcome all growers who want to learn, share and grow together!

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Author: Dr Coco

I am a university professor and have taught courses in horticulture. I am coco for cannabis and I hope you are coco for cannabis too :) Grower Love!

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