14 Plants That Don't Need Drainage

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By Ashley Hanson

Updated: Jun 05, 2024

8 min read

Plants that don't need drainage
Photo: @nz_unflitered & @anaplantyana

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    When opting for plants that thrive without drainage, it is crucial to weigh factors such as aesthetics and intended location. For instance, select suitable options for patio or deck arrangements, hanging baskets, or indoor displays.

    If you are considering cultivating a houseplant in a container minus drainage holes, opt for varieties that thrive in moist conditions and exercise caution with watering frequency. While they may initially fare well, signs of root rot, like wilting, indicate the need for repotting.

    The Perfect Addition - Selaginella

    Selaginella in pot
    Photo: @owys_garden

    Club moss, Selaginella, thrives in shade, moist environments like the tropics, making it suitable for drainage-free dish gardens. It benefits from higher humidity, so placing it in bathrooms is ideal. This plant easily roots along its stems, but be cautious as cold water can shock it. Hence, room-temperature water is recommended.

    Caring of Peace Lily

    Peace Lily
    Photo: @baghban_plant_world

    Peace Lily, Spathiphyllum, historically grown in water-only setups, tolerates moist soil well. If the soil dries out, it wilts but recovers promptly after watering. Water is present in containers without drainage holes when the soil surface is dry or upon initial signs of wilting. Adjust watering frequency if wilting occurs in wet soil.

    Elevating Bird of Paradise

    Bird of Paradise - Strelitzia reginae
    Photo: @alamedagardens

    Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia reginae, is a tropical plant that can thrive in drainage-free pots if not overwatered. Check soil moisture by inserting a finger into it and watering carefully to prevent any accumulation. Maintain high humidity levels, occasionally misting the plant. Reduce watering frequency to once a month during winter due to slower growth.

    Also Read: 23 Indoor Plants to Grow With Purple Flowers and Leaves

    Vibrant Coleus

    Coleus Plant
    Photo: @floralhardyskippack

    Coleus, scientifically known as Coleus, is a well-liked choice for borders or container gardening. This perennial plant boasts a variety of color combinations, offering striking foliage displays. It thrives in bright, indirect sunlight and requires cautious watering to avoid overhydration. With semi-succulent stems, it prefers consistently moist soil without becoming waterlogged. Additionally, it occasionally blooms with small purple-blue flowers.

    Caring Dieffenbachia

    Dieffenbachia Plant
    Photo: @wikyplants

    This species demands ample watering, including misting, mirroring its native rainforest environment. Overwatering should be avoided, as it hinders optimal growth, while insufficient moisture leads to stunted development. Dieffenbachia, known as a dumb cane for its temporary effect on vocal cords when ingested, doesn't require drainage holes. A popular choice for indoor gardening, it features lush foliage in dark green with yellow and ivory-white speckles.

    Lucky Bamboo

    Dracaena Plant
    Photo: @sophanya_indoorplants

    A widely embraced plant in feng shui, lucky bamboo (Dracaena ) originates from Africa, though it is often referred to as Chinese water bamboo or by several other names. It thrives in indirect sunlight and can be cultivated in either water or soil. For water cultivation, a substrate layer like rocks is recommended, and fresh water should be replenished regularly every 2-3 days. When opting for soil, maintaining moisture without excessive watering is essential. Its distinctive green-grey leaves, slightly irregular, emerge from a stem that reminds of bamboo.

    Toughness of Adiantum, the Maidenhair Fern

    Maidenhair Fern
    Photo: @abideawhile

    The plant commonly referred to as Maidenhair fern, scientifically known as Adiantum, exhibits a unique character of quickly shedding water from its leaves after rainfall. While its native habitat lies in damp woodlands, it is adaptable as a container plant suitable for indoor and outdoor settings. Ideal for spaces with limited natural light, this fern thrives in full or partial shade areas. Ensuring well-draining soil is crucial, yet it is important to maintain consistent moisture levels to meet the fern's preference for damp conditions.

    Charming Pothos

    Scientifically labeled as Epipremnum, Pothos earned the nickname devil's ivy due to its remarkable strength. Thriving in low-light conditions with minimal attention, it doesn't require frequent watering. However, waiting until the soil's top layer dries before watering is advisable. This versatile plant complements hanging baskets or adds charm when allowed to trail from high furniture pieces like bookcases or cabinets.

    Photo: @paz_plantlife

    Additionally, it offers the option for pruning and rooting cuttings or letting it grow to its full length, reaching approximately eight feet.

    The Miniature Umbrella Tree

    The Miniature Umbrella Tree- Schefflera
    Photo: @estabrooksmaine

    The Schefflera can thrive without drainage openings and is commonly referred to as miniature umbrella trees. This indoor plant also blooms flowers, providing aesthetic pleasure. It is very easy to care for, preferring consistently moist soil and tolerating moisture levels that would harm other plants. Achieving the optimal saturation level requires understanding your plant's needs, as both overwatering and underwatering should be avoided.

    A Swedish Ivy

    Swedish Ivy
    Photo: @viverokaki

    Swedish ivy, or Plectranthus verticillatus, boasts green leaves with wrinkle edges similar to lemon balm. It is ideal for hanging baskets, and incorporating rock into the soil mixture helps maintain root moisture. Watering once a week suffices unless the soil is already damp. This plant thrives in hanging baskets and is straightforward to cultivate, making it an excellent choice for indoor gardening.

    Growing Oleander

    Oleander Plant
    Photo: @natureloveaustralia

    Oleander exhibits rapid growth when cultivated in a container, and its size can be managed effectively. It is adaptable to various soil types and does not require precise watering conditions. Typically found near rivers and water bodies, it grows in drought and excessive moisture. However, to promote optimal health and minimize the risk of water-related diseases, providing this drought-resistant species with limited water is advisable.

    The Evergreen Chinese

    Aglaonema Modestum
    Photo: @bottabloom

    Chinese evergreen plants, scientifically known as aglaonema modestum, are recognized for their large leaves spanning from light cream to deep green hues. Like other indoor plants that don't require drainage, this foliage thrives in low-light settings with minimal water requirements. It is crucial to water only when the soil is entirely dry, as a little water is sufficient for sustained growth, preventing soil saturation with each watering session.

    Exploring Rough Horsetail

    Rough Horsetail
    Photo: @theverdancyproject

    Rough horsetail, or equisetum hyemale, is a non-flowering plant that thrives in moist environments. Typically reserved for rain gardens or aquatic settings, this perennial can be cultivated indoors to tame its vigorous growth. Given its liking for wet conditions, it can withstand up to 4 inches of standing water without fear of overwatering. Maintaining consistently damp soil ensures optimal growth without concern for excess moisture.

    The Ultimate Spanish Moss

    Spanish Moss
    Photo: @syami.green.world

    Spanish moss, belonging to the Tillandsia usneoides genus, is an epiphytic plant that doesn't rely on soil for growth. Like air plants, epiphytes are ideal for container cultivation as they can be placed atop surfaces and watered more deeply as needed. Optimal growth for these plants requires bright indirect light and humid air conditions, as insufficient light or moisture can cause wilting and loss of color.


    Growing plants in pots requires careful supervision and watering to keep them thriving. Check out the easy-to-grow houseplants mentioned above that can thrive even without drainage.

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