15 Popular Plants That Don’t Need Drainage

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By Bryan Peters

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Are you tired of dealing with plants that require constant drainage and leave a watery mess in their wake? If so, it’s time to consider plants that don’t need drainage – in other words, plants that can thrive without a pot with a drainage system.

While many houseplants require well-draining soil to grow and thrive, a lack of proper water drainage can cause root rot or eventual death. But don’t worry – there are plenty of easy-care options out there that can survive soggy soil for an extended period and even grow directly in water in a watertight medium.

From spider plants to Spanish moss, snake plants to Chinese evergreens, these plants are a game-changer for those who want to simplify their plant care routine. However, it’s important to provide them with rocks underneath the pot to distribute excess water out of their roots and enhance their growth and health.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the most common plants that don’t need drainage, so you can find the perfect low-maintenance addition to your plant collection.

Most Common Plants That Don’t Need Drainage

If you want to save yourself the hassle of overwatering, we recommend you go for plants that don’t need drainage or don’t mind excess water, such as the ones below!

1. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

If you are looking for a plant that has no drainage system, the spider plant is the most popular option for every plant enthusiast, thanks to its ability to adapt so easily to growing in water.

This species is native to the tropical areas of Africa, where they often receive huge amounts of water and indirect sunlight, so, it can easily recover from water destruction.

Scientifically known as Chlorophytum comosum, the spider plant is popularly known for its rapid growth and long, light green, and white leaves. It does well in warm, humid conditions and thrives when it receives bright, indirect sunlight.

You must water every once a week or when the soil partially dries.

However, when you notice that the edges of the leaves are beginning to turn brown in tap water, it would be best to start using distilled water or rainwater.

Therefore, in as much as the spider plant doesn’t need a pot with drainage, if you are growing it in soil, you will use a drainage system.

2. Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)

If you are a beginner planter, the snake plant should be on your top list of plants to consider when looking for plants that don’t need drainage.

It is native to the tropical climates of West Africa and is most common for its blade-shaped leaves that are steadily upright. Even though it is traditionally grown in soil, the snake plant can also grow in a bowl of water.

The best way to grow them is to pluck some plant cuttings in a little water bowl and wait for about two days. In the next few days, the cuttings will consistently turn into stunning snake plants.

At this point, you have to ensure you tie the plant’s base gradually as it sprouts because it will enable the leaves to stay upright.

3. Pineapple Plant (Ananas comosus)

You may not have heard of the pineapple plant, yet it is one of the most popular plants that don’t need drainage. It significantly thrives indoors when you don’t use drainage holes.

The pineapple plant is a tropical plant, yet enjoys more direct sunlight than in a sheltered jungle-like environment.

Scientifically called Ananas comosus, the pineapple plant features sturdy leaves, which stop them from drying out.

Again, it doesn’t require much water to do well and thrives in warm, humid conditions with direct sunlight. Ensure you water the plant only when the top inches of its soil are completely dry.

4. Coleus (Coleus scutellarioides)

Another popular plant you must consider when looking for plants without drainage is the Coleus. It is an evergreen plant that you can grow both in borders or containers.

However, it also has other types with color varieties and combinations that offer stunning foliage appearance.

Meanwhile, the Coleus scutellarioides thrive best in bright, indirect sunlight, and ensure you don’t overwater it.

Also, given that the coleus has a semi-succulent stem, you must plant it in moist, but not soggy soil. This plant is very attractive thanks to the tiny purple-blue blooms it produces.

5. Dumb Cane Plant (Dieffenbachiam seguine)

Botanically known as Dieffenbachia seguine, the dumb cane plant derived its name from the temporary loss of voice from chewing on the cane.

This plant doesn’t need a drainage system to thrive and needs a considerable amount of water. It is a popular indoor plant that features dark green leaves with stunning yellow and ivory white stripes.

Meanwhile, the dumb cane plant requires misting and root watering, given that it originates from tropical rainforests. However, you should ensure you don’t overwater, yet it doesn’t need under-watering, as it will stunt the plant’s growth and health.

6. Pothos Plants (Epipremnum aureum)

The most common pothos plants are called Devil’s Ivy and commonly grow more abundantly in the wild. Just like others we have mentioned, pothos is a very hardy plant that doesn’t reject watering at least once in a while.

These plants also feature gorgeous heart-shaped leaves and grow aerial roots that join to climbing surfaces.

Meanwhile, the Epipremnum aureum, as scientifically called, often derives its nutrient from humidity; hence, require misting when you grow them as houseplants.

It also thrives in warm temperature conditions and needs watering at least once a week in warmer seasons and once in two weeks during colder periods.

7. Oleander Plant (Oleander spp.)

Popularly referred to as a shrub plant, the Oleander plant is a specie that comes from the Apocynaceae family. Given that it is planted almost everywhere across the world, no one can be quite certain about its true native region.

However, some professionals have it that the plant originates from the Southwestern areas of Asia.

Even though the oleander plant is significantly notable for its bright and gorgeous flowers, these blooms can be quite poisonous. Most gardeners believe the plant itself, is toxic; hence do not recommend it for homes that have kids or pets. 

As we earlier noted, these plants are mainly grown as houseplants, yet, there’s nothing wrong with growing them outside, as long as they can survive long periods without water.

In other words, they can deal with almost little to no water conditions. Again, unlike most other houseplants, the oleander cares less about soil.

The best way to keep them happy is to give them about one or two inches of watering about once a week or once every 10 days.

Also, place them where they can get enough sunlight, but ensure the rays are not too harsh to avoid stunting the growth or health of your plants.

8. Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)

If you are looking for a perfect low or no-drainage houseplant, you should look no further than the Spanish moss.

This type of plant grows from trees in high humidity conditions. Given that it can absorb water and nutrients from the air, the Spanish moss doesn’t need soil; hence, it doesn’t require drainage holes.

You can also plant Spanish moss in a piece of bark in a warm environment or a greenhouse. By misting the gray-green tendrils at least two times a week and fertilizing them with a high-phosphorus liquid fertilizer every two weeks, you will be ensuring their healthy growth.

Again, if you are gathering your Spanish moss in the wild, ensure you microwave it to eliminate any little insects before planting it in your house. You can also find this lovely specie in garden centers at affordable prices.

9. Chinese Evergreens (Aglaonema spp)

Chinese evergreen, as commonly called, is a hardy perennial that originates from tropical areas of Asia.

It features floppy green leaves that have various shades and can do well in both water and wet or moist soil conditions. In other words, it will thrive best in pots that lack drainage holes.

Given that this aglaonema specie can survive under minimal watering and little light conditions, it is a perfect low-maintenance plant for beginner gardeners.

However, don’t forget that it is poisonous to pets, and its leaves will burn with excessive exposure to bright direct sunlight.

Therefore, the best way to care for this plant is to change the water at least once every three days, especially if you’re growing the plant in water only.

But if you are growing the Chinese evergreen in soil, you can water it once a week or whenever the top half inch of the soil becomes dry.

10. Schefflera Plant (Schefflera arboricola)

You must have been hearing about a plant that is called the umbrella tree, it is referring to the Schefflera plant. It is another perfect option if you are looking for plants without drainage.

In the wild, you can find it in tropical areas in direct sun, and outdoors, it can grow as tall as 60 feet or above.

However, as houseplants, the Schefflera plants can grow up to 10 feet, especially when you use a pot with the proper size.

They will do best in warm, humid conditions, and thrive in direct sunlight, yet can survive shaded conditions too. You must water this plant at least once a week or whenever the soil becomes dry.

11. Cordyline Plant (Cordyline fruticosa)

Commonly known as Hawaiian Ti’ Plant, the Cordyline plant is one of the most popular low or no-drainage plants. It is primarily known for its stunning fuschia to maroon sprays of foliage and sometimes resembles a diva plant, even though it is not as demanding.

The Cordyline plant is native to Hawaii, which is where its common name comes from and doesn’t require drainage holes.

However, it will do well in coarse, well-draining soil and wet soil. So, you must water it to keep it happy. It will also do well in warm humid conditions with indirect sunlight.

12. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

Commonly known as a money tree, the jade plant features succulent leaves with an oval shape that resembles a coin. It is an evergreen specie that comes with thick, bright leaves.

Unlike others on this list, the jade plant doesn’t need much water, as overwatering can kill it or cause it to develop root rot. Hence, you must only water whenever the top inch of soil is completely dry.

13. Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)

Scientifically called Dracaena sanderiana, the lucky bamboo is a famous feng shui plant that doesn’t need drainage. In other words, it requires indirect light and can thrive when you grow it in water or soil.

However, if you’re growing in water, you’ll require a substrate layer, such as rocks. You can also add fresh water about 2 to 3 times a week.

Meanwhile, if you are growing in soil, ensure you keep it moist but not soggy or overwatered.

The lucky bamboo tree features partially twisted leaves with a green-gray color and is attached to a bamboo-looking stem. It is a very excellent option for low drainage pots.

14. Succulents (Assorted species)

If you are looking for plants that are well-suited to indoor conditions, you can trust succulent plants to offer you even more than that.

Most succulent species possess fleshy leaves that enable them to keep hold of moisture during dry spells, and this feature has made them even more popular.

Succulents such as climbing hoya hearts can produce flowers of different beautiful colors, shapes, textures, and foliage formations. Mini-succulents and cuttings are commonly seen as collectibles, while the larger varieties can add personality to any home space.

If you always experience difficulty keeping plants alive, then succulents or any other species in the cacti family are your best bets. They do not require low or no drainage and do their best indoors. It needs minimal watering once every 14 to 21 days without soggy water.

The ideal climate for these species is low humidity and direct sun, and rocky soil or a container filled with well-draining soil is suitable for them.

15. Birds Of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

Are you looking for a plant that produces an abundance of flowers, you shouldn’t look beyond birds of paradise. Native to South and Central Africa, this unique plant comes with dark green leaves alongside orange, blue, and pink blooms that look like a bird’s head.

Birds of paradise don’t need much soil to grow, thanks to its shallow, sturdy root system. It would be best to plant this plant in a deep pot that lacks drainage holes to enable its roots to stay kiddy-pool depth and avoid root rot.

They also require warm, humid areas with indirect light, and moderate watering once every week to enable the soil to dry between watering.

Conclusion

Several plants don’t need a drainage system. We have been able to highlight some of them to give you a better opportunity to choose the one that suits your indoor conditions.

However, if you want these plants to thrive, then you must provide them with the adequate growing conditions they need, even though they are low-maintenance plants.