Not all plants need soil to grow
To grow, a plant needs soil, light, water and air. But is that really always the case? Do all your plants need soil, water and nutrients to thrive? There are also indoor plants that do very well without soil:
The function of earth
For most plants, soil forms the basis for their growth. Bad or the wrong potting soil accordingly leads to poor plant growth. In the garden center or in the hardware store you can choose between different types and different qualities.
You can recognize high-quality potting soil by its smell, for example: it should smell of the forest. It's also loose and feels slightly damp and cool.
The soil you need for your plants has different ingredients. The different substances in the mixtures have different functions:
- Peat: It is responsible for water storage, improved structure and soil aeration.
- Compost: It has a high proportion of the nutrients nitrogen, phosphate, magnesium, sulfur and potassium oxide.
- Volcanic rock, sand, clay or perlite: These components serve to loosen the soil. Like peat, they are also responsible for storing water.
In most cases, a distinction is made between universal soil, growing soil and special soil. With their nutrient content, these potting soils are tailored to the special needs of the plants. This ensures healthy growth.
Can potting soil cause allergies?
Despite the great benefits of the soil for the plants, caution must be exercised in some cases. If you are very prone to allergies, then you should make sure that your potting soil is not infested with mold. Because the plant soil molds pretty quickly when exposed to high humidity.
The spores of the mold are almost everywhere in the air and are deposited on a suitable medium and form a white film. For example on the ground in your flowerpot.
If you have typical symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing fits and coughing, your potting soil could be moldy. You can recognize the mold on the potting soil by a white fluff that forms on the surface of the soil.
Tip: Ventilate sufficiently so that the humidity is not too high. You can also loosen the soil in the pot with a fork from time to time. This also ensures good ventilation and the mold cannot settle there so easily.
This is how gardening with plants without soil works
Some houseplants can also thrive just in the air or in water. So cuttings or aquatic plants can find a new place in your home. But plants like the Chinese dandelion or the philodendron can also find a new home with you in this way, as they love wet feet. You see, there are plants without soil.
Water as the basis for life
It doesn't take much to bring a glamorous water garden to your home. All you have to do is thoroughly rinse the soil off the roots until they are clearly visible. Put some liquid fertilizer in the water and put your plant in there.
In addition to normal aquatic plants, you can even grow entire branches or a shoot (e.g. from an ash tree) in your water garden. What would otherwise grow in the ground also thrives in a container full of water. So you can easily bring nature inside you.
If you change your mind, you can simply plant your offspring back in the ground
A life in the air
Besides the water garden, you can also decorate your home with plants that absorb their nutrients solely from the air.
The so-called Tillandsia (air plants, bromeliad family) live in their natural habitats on other plants or on rocks. The leaves of these extraordinary plants have tiny suction scales that they use to filter moisture and minerals from the air and therefore do not need soil.
Proper tillandsia care
If you want to furnish your home with tillandsia, then a certain amount of care is required. You can remember: spray or dip! The water for your tillandsia should be as lime-free as possible, otherwise the suction scales will become clogged with lime and this will prevent food intake.
Rainwater or boiled water is perfect for this. The advantage of these plants: They can easily survive 2-3 weeks without water. So you can go on vacation without hesitation. Afterwards, however, you should spray them vigorously with a spray bottle or immerse them in water.
Otherwise: provide sufficient water 1-2 times a week.
Floating plants without soil
Tillandsias grow better if you choose the right location for them. This can vary depending on the country of origin. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Sufficient light, relatively warm temperatures and high humidity should be available
- Light to shady location (depends on the variety)
- Sheltered place
- Avoid excessive sun exposure
- In the summer months, tillandsia species can also thrive on the balcony or in the garden
- In winter you should move them to a warm place (e.g. your bathroom)
You can also remember this rule of thumb: the greener your tillandsia is, the less sunlight it needs. On the other hand, if your tillandsia is slightly greyish in colour, then it needs more sun and therefore less humidity.
Your tillandsia family
If your tillandsia feels comfortable in its environment and you provide it with sufficient water, it will form daughter plants after a few years. Often these plants bloom in bright colors during this time as well. If you discover a small young plant on the trunk of your tillandsia, then you should note this:
- Remove the daughter plant very carefully and attach it to a new substrate.
- The site conditions should be the same as the mother plant.
- If your tillandsia blooms during this time, it may die after flowering. Therefore you can preventively transplant the daughter plant as a replacement for your old plant.
Have we sparked your interest in the wonderful tillandsia? Then have a look at our shop and discover our plants!