The Dirt on Plants Without the Dirt

This may sound like a weird concept, but yes, some plants can grow without soil. Soil, as talked about in our previous blog, The Dirt on Soil, is an important factor for growing plants. Soil allows plants to thrive by creating a space for plants to anchor their roots down into. This also helps plants consume and gain the necessary nutrients they need to stay alive, strong, and healthy. However, even though this is true for most plants, there are some odd-ball plants that are unique and receive nutrients and necessities in other ways. Some plants that can grow in water or nothing at all include:

1. Air Plants, Tillandsia, are a popular houseplant that does not need water or soil to grow. Air plants come in all sizes and shapes, and they are a low maintenance houseplant option that works great for small spaces. To care for air plants, every two weeks or so put them in a bowl of water and soak for ten minutes. You can also mist air plants occasionally.

2. Philodendron, which is part of the Araceae family, is a great houseplant option. They have large, heart shaped leaves that are typically a bright green color. They are relatively easy houseplants to care for. Philodendrons are adaptable houseplants and can easily grow in tap water.

3. Orchids are another popular houseplant option that comes in many different varieties. Orchids are super unique and prefer a humid environment. Orchids can be grown on lava rocks, so that the orchid’s roots can latch onto the pores in the rock. Orchids also grow great on trees, other rocks, and moss.

4. Aechmea, part of the Bromeliaceae family, are unusually unique plants that grow pink, spiky flowers and gray-green leaves. Aechmea’s roots will grab onto a host plant that is nearby and can get it’s nutrients this way. This plant requires plentiful water, however, it grows in any type of lighting.

5. Lucky Bamboo, which despite being called bamboo, is actually a houseplant and not bamboo. This plant is decorative, and it can be planted in soil, however, they grow well in a dish with an inch deep of water. They like some sort of medium like gravel to keep them standing upright.

There are more plants that can grow in just water and there are more plants that can grow without soil or water. Epiphytes or air plants are plants that grow on another plant, known as the host plant, mostly for support. They typically wrap their roots on these host plants which allows them to grow and thrive, and they are not parasitic to the host plant. These plants can be great houseplants, easy to care for, and add to the aesthetics of your place!