What Plants Are Growing Without Soil?
When we think about planting, the first thought that comes to our minds is that of soil. But you know what? Growing plants in mediums other than soil, like water or a prepared mixture of nutrients and support, is possible. In other words, no matter where the plant grows, it still requires the soil’s necessities. It is common practice to grow ivy plants, sweet potatoes, and orchids at home in water vases. However, we then need to monitor the temperature and other conditions required for the healthy growth of a plant.
Soil plays multiple functions required for a healthy plant. Let us discuss these functions:
- Nutrients: Like all living beings, plants need nutrients for a healthy life. The roots absorb the majority of these nutrients from the soil.
- Foothold: The soil provides the roots firm foothold for the plant to stand tall.
- Filtering the water: The soil helps the roots filter through the water. It helps with utilizing or getting rid of excess water or absorbing extra water in case of a shortage.
- Stores Carbon: Soil can store organic carbon, which helps buffer against pollutants.
What Plants Can Grow Without Water?
Water forms an essential element for the survival of all living things; however, depending upon the environment, many adapt to their circumstances. For example, a camel can live in the desert without water for a long time. Likewise, some plants can survive without water.
It goes beyond saying that water plays an essential part in the life of all plants. It is a significant part of the plant cell structure, due to which the plant has the flexibility that allows it to move in all directions. Because of water, the plants’ nutrients can move from the roots to up above the stem.
Plants use water to regulate their temperature. Even for germination, water plays an important role. Despite water’s vital role, some plants can survive without water for some time. However, it is wrong to say that these plants can live without water as they need water for survival, but they have a storage system to store water and survive on it for a long time. Below are examples of a few of these plants.
The cactus is the most popular plant that can grow in any dry environment. It is best known for growing in deserts. It uses its entire body to store water for later use.
2. Aloe Vera
It is well known for its healing powers. The plant stores the water in its leaves in the form of a gel well known for its beauty and medicinal uses.
This is an ornamental plant and can survive long periods without water. Its roots go deep and can absorb moisture even from dry arid land. It is ideal for places where outdoor life is not possible. The beautiful flowers add color and life to the room.
Again, a typical desert plant. Its water intake is very low, and it can die from overwatering it. It is used as a spice and is used in medicines as well.
Another plant which can survive without water and special care for a long time. It uses its entire body to store water and the beautiful flowers add beauty to it.
What Plants Can Grow Without Soil?
A plant can grow without soil, but it will not be able to survive without the necessities that the earth provides. For example, apart from water and minerals, soil offers an even distribution of oxygen to the roots. Without oxygen, the plant will not be able to survive. The earth helps regulate the temperature of the plant. We cannot control all these factors if the plant is forced to grow without soil. Here are a few plants that can survive without soil.
1. Lucky Bamboo
It grows well in soil, but it can also be grown without it. All you require is some gravel to hold it up and some water. It makes excellent house plants.
2. Paperwhite Narcissus
You can enjoy these white flowers’ beauty without handling the soil’s mess. They make wonderful houseplants as they give out a good fragrance as well.
These beautiful plants can grow without soil as well. They are not as simple to grow without soil, though. They require some other plant to grow from, for instance, moss. Once mature, they can grow on a piece of bark. They look beautiful, and their fragrance is wonderful.
4. Air Plants
Most people do not know about these beautiful Air Plants that are plants growing without soil. They grow in air and require neither soil nor water. They absorb their energy from the environment. There are more than 650 varieties of plants to choose from.
5. Spider Plant
These plants thrive well in the soil as well as without it. They are low-maintenance and can absorb their nutrients from air and water.
What Can We Use Instead of Soil?
Because of changing environments, the availability of land for plantations is growing less and less. This is why gardeners have a solution. They have started growing Hydroponics, a type of horticulture that promotes the growth of plants without soil. There are now alternatives for soil. Let us discuss a few here.
Many plants can thrive equally well in a little water instead of soil. For example, the spider plant and the lucky bamboo.
2. Potting soil alternatives
There are various soil alternatives, like mulch paper and vegetable fibers. We can also use different mixtures (according to the need) made from moss, vermiculite, nut husks, shredded bark, mushroom compost, sand, animal manure, and coir.
It involves different methods using aggregate clay pellets, volcanic rocks, and other materials, all cultivating plants growing without soil.
This simply means using liquids with nutrients and planting in a regular potting mix. This is a simple way of planting and can be used in homes and offices. It is not messy and yet produces healthy plants with thick foliage.
Technically speaking, plants can’t live without either water or soil. But humans have found ways to deal with both. Now there are substitutes for soil, and plants can store water for some time.
Can Lotus Grow Without Soil?
Lotus tubers require rich and nutritious soil. For healthy growth, they require both soil and water. They grow best in wet mud. However, modern horticulturists have found a way to grow Lotus Tubers with soil. The method is difficult and requires a lot of maintenance and care of the plant. It is not recommended that those new to gardening should not attempt it. Only those with previous experience growing lotus plants should attempt to grow them.