You have probably already heard of hydroponics – a method of growing plants without using soil. These plants can develop in an aquatic medium, so all they need is water with dissolved nutrients.
So, what are the examples of plants that don’t need soil to develop? We have made a list of the most common houseplants that grow easily without soil:
- Lucky Bamboo
- Spanish Moss
- Air Plants
- Spring onions
- Marimo Moss Balls
- Aloe vera
If you want to learn more about how growing without soil works and what these soilless plants need, continue reading!
- 14 Plants that Don’t Need Soil
14 Plants that Don’t Need Soil
1. Lucky Bamboo
Let’s start the list of dirtless plants with this specie – Dracaena sanderiana from Asparagaceae family.
Even though it is called a bamboo, this isn’t really a bamboo plant. It got its name after its looks and the plant is mostly used as a decoration. Also, it is super durable and able to resist the harshest conditions.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a typical member of the plants that don’t need soil – you can place the plant in the potting mix and get the same results as when growing it soilless.
However, growing it in a hydroponic system might be a bit easier. All it needs to thrive is a good support system and the right aquatic medium.
For support use a gravel system, and make sure that the container has a depth of at least one inch, so the roots have enough room to grow.
2. Spanish moss
Among plants that don’t need water or soil is Spanish moss or Tillandsia usneoides.
This is an epiphytic plant as well – it uses plants in its environment as support and ground for growing. So, not only it is able to grow without soil, in nature is does not use even an aquatic medium.
Spanish moss comes from warm climates and can be found all over North and South America, as well as the West Indies.
Growing this one as an indoor plant is a bit challenging.
Firstly, it will need a lot of fertilizer that is rich with phosphorus. The plant requires fertilizing every two weeks.
Furthermore, it will need frequent misting.
You should also inspect the house for insects since this type is quite attractive to these small creatures.
Herbs aren’t only beautiful plants, but quite beneficial.
By growing herbs, you will always have fresh spices for your favorite meals.
Also, herbs are among plants that don’t need soil but stones and water.
Spearmint can be grown in a variety of ways but it is the easiest to do it from cuttings.
Just get a piece from an already grown mint and use it in a pot or any transparent box.
The container should be filled with water so the roots have plenty of room.
Spearmint prefers indirect light and warmer temperatures. Keep in mind that this plant grows in the direction of light, so you should rotate the pot every few days.
At the end of the growing period, you will have a stunning plant that is equally tasteful.
If you are an amateur and want to grow plant without soil, Aechmea is a great choice.
It is an undemanding plant, so it is an ideal plant for beginners since there isn’t anything you can really screw up and accidentally kill the plant.
Firstly, let’s talk about the plant’s origin.
Its full scientific name is Aechmea distichantha, but gardeners just call it Aechmea. It is from a Bromeliaceae family and you can recognize the plant by stunning, pinkish flowers.
Besides an aquatic medium, the plant will also need a host plant. Once the roots develop in water, they start searching for another plant as support.
Even if you choose to grow the plant in soil, it will still need a host plant.
When it comes to other requirements, there isn’t anything you have to pay too much attention too. Frequent watering and medium-light are enough for it to blossom.
5. Air plants
When it comes to air plants, there are over 650 species to choose from and all belong plants that don’t need soil.
Air plants are from Bromeliaceae family and Tillandsia genus. As you can already conclude from their name, they do not grow in soil and prefer air.
Their natural habitats are mountains and deserts in Mexico, Argentina and Mesoamerica.
The leaves’ position is determining the lifestyle of these plants. Thanks to the rosette, they are absorbing all of the needed nutrients.
When you water the plant, water the leaves – you should see droplets of water all over their leaves.
Watering a few times each week is enough for these plants to blossom.
Do you like daffodils? Did you know that they were plants that don’t need soil?
Narcissuz tazetta (known as Paperwhites) are daffodils that originate from Morocco, Greece and can be found in Portugal as well.
You will recognize them by their stunning, small white flowers. These flowers also have a strong smell, however, not everyone finds this smell appealing. Some even describe it as cat urine so if you aren’t a fan of strong scents, this plant might not be the best fit for you.
Typically, paperwhites develop from bulbs during winter.
When it comes to general requirements, the plant will need frequent watering. Furthermore, make sure that it isn’t exposed to direct light since it doesn’t tolerate direct sun rays so well.
If you love colorful plants, you will love Orchids. These plants are from Orchidaceae family and come in a variety of colors – different shades of pink, purple, red, white and teal.
With these plants, growing without soil is super easy!
Orchids aren’t demanding, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally doing something wrong and damaging the plant.
When you are choosing the rocks, always go for lava rocks – they have just the right porosity and orchids use them for support.
Another thing you should know is that orchids have a soft membrane on the surface of their roots – thanks to this membrane, the plant is able to absorb more water.
8. Spring Onions
As said, a variety of herbs are plants without soil, but what about vegetables? Can vegetables be plants that grow in water without soil?
Well, some types as Spring Onions can!
All you need to grow spring onions soilless are roots – buy some spring onions at the supermarket and cut off their roots.
Then wait until their color changes – they should become dark green.
Use a transparent container (it can be a jar, pot, or any plastic box) and add water. The roots should be facing down.
Spring onion needs plenty of light to grow so place the pot on a sunny window.
After a few weeks, you will have healthy and tasty spring onions – ideal for salads!
By adding a philodendron to your home, you will turn it into a small tropical paradise.
This plant is recognizable by its vividly green leaves that are heart-shaped.
It is a popular indoor plant, but also a most favored office plant.
Taking care of the philodendron is super easy. It is an undemanding houseplant, which is probably why it is so liked among gardeners.
Firstly, it will need medium light so find a spot that has a few hours of direct sun rays but an equal amount of shade so that the plant can rest.
Moreover, water the plant once a week or every two weeks during fall and winter.
Philodendron can grow in soil as well, so you can switch between an aquatic medium and soil as you wish.
English ivy is scientifically called Hedera helix and it is the most popular type of ivy plant. It belongs to the Araliaceae family and can be found in Europe and some parts of Asia.
This stunning plant comes in different colors and shapes.
If you already own English Ivy, you can easily make more plants from cuttings.
The cuttings can be placed in water and roots develop in just a few weeks.
Growing English ivy indoors is slightly more challenging than doing it in an outdoor garden.
Your indoor ivy plant will need plenty of water, and frequent fertilizing.
Also, it is prone to different pests, so you will need to inspect the leaves and wash the plant periodically.
11. Marimo Moss Balls
Out of all plants on this list, this one is the most stunning! At first, you might be a bit confused by its looks, but then you will be astonished.
Marimo Moss ball does in fact resemble a ball. Its scientific name is Aegagropila linnaei and it is a type of spherical algae.
This algae lives underwater, so all you need is a large, transparent bowl or a fish tank – animals won’t be harmed by sharing the space with this plant.
Because it lives underwater, it won’t need watering – all it requires is a periodical change of water inside the tank.
Also, make sure that it doesn’t stay in direct light for too long – this algae prefers low sunlight.
Some gardeners love this plant because of its flowers, while others are amazed by the leaves. Either way, it is a stunning houseplant that can be grown hydroponically.
Begonia is a succulent plant, so it is quite easy to take care of. There are three types of begonias, and requirements are similar for all.
When taking care of begonias, you should carefully choose the spot. These plants love sunlight and need plenty of it to blossom.
A sunny window is the best spot!
Furthermore, the watering schedule needs to be established as soon as possible. This plant can tolerate drought, but not for too long.
When watering, make sure that you aren’t overwatering it. Begonias are prone to root rot and different fungal diseases – both are quite hard to resolve when they happen.
Another great houseplant for all gardeners that love flowering plants.
Hyacinths can grow the most stunning blossoms in many different colors.
This plant comes from Asparagaceae family and allows growing in water as well as in soil.
Hyacinths can be quite tall plants, but to get them to grow so tall, you will have to fulfill some requirements.
In the beginning, the plant shouldn’t be exposed to too much sunlight. During this period, the root will develop and then you can place them on a sunny shelf.
Make sure that the sun rays are filtered, so the plant doesn’t get sunburns.
With enough exposure to light, the flowers will slowly start to develop.
One thing you should avoid doing is overwatering – this could stop the proper development of the plant.
14. Aloe vera
This is probably one of the most popular indoor plants. There are plenty of different ways you can grow it and growing aloe vera without soil is just one.
This is a succulent plant – remember, this type of indoor plant does not need much water to thrive.
Shade, light, humidity and proper temperature are much more important to this plant.
When all these criteria are met, it develops into a stunning plant with surprisingly thick leaves. It’s well known that this one can and often is used as medicine.
Aloe vera gel is used for treating bug bites and a variety of rashes, but you could use it as a cream for healing cracked skin.
Like Lucky bamboo, it can be grown in soil as well, so determine which way works the best for you.
1. Are there any other plants that do not need soil?
Of course! The list above is just a list of some of the most popular houseplants you can grow without soil.
There are many others you can grow indoor entirely soilless.
Herbs are one type, and there are plenty of vegetables also such as sweet potato, lettuce, celery and carrots.
2. Are bamboos among soilless plants?
No, bamboos require soil for growing.
As you might remember, we mentioned lucky bamboo. However, this isn’t a true bamboo, so it does belong to soilless plants.
Real bamboos on the other hand require soil and frequent watering. These plants thrive in damp soil and besides water, need plenty of nutrients, so fertilizing has to be done frequently as well.
So if you want to grow bamboo, find a good potting mix and fertilizer.
3. How can plants grow without a potting mix?
For growing and developing, plants are using carbon dioxide, different nutrients and water. Some plants can get those things without sitting in a pot with a growing mix.
These plants are often called hydroponics, and for growing, hydroponic systems are used.
There are different types available but they all have the same purpose – delivering water and nutrients to the plant.
That is our list of soilless plants! We hope that this article helped you to better understand how these plants can be grown and gave you enough tips to grow one of them in your soilless garden.