4 Houseplants That Don’t Need Drainage [& How to Grow Any Plant with No Drainage]

Dieffenbachia or dumbcane plant newly sprayed with waterHaving houseplants is an amazing way to add color and life to your interior design. They purify the air, and they just look nice. However, plants that require a lot of drainage, can really limit you on your choice of decorative pot. The fact is, few plants thrive with no drainage. While some plants grow in water – hydroponic plants – most need their roots to have access to air as well as water. Too much water and the roots begin to rot.

A plant that can grow in water should do ok in soaked soil, but even then a pot with no drainage can create a challenging environment. In this post, we’ll suggest a few plants that can survive with no drainage, but also offer you a quick way to turn a container with no holes in it into a well-drained potting system. And it’s a no-drill solution! 

Plants that don’t need drainage (or at least may survive without it)

First, here are the plants that can survive in soaked soil, or even grow in water. Remember, they may still be susceptible to rot if you over water. They’re simply hardier than other plans and can tolerate wet soil for longer. Don’t over-water them if you can avoid it.

1. Sprenger’s Asparagus 

This gorgeous fern does well in drained soil but doesn’t mind excess water either. A plant that adjusted to growing in water from an early age, won’t require as much aeration for its roots. Even if you happen to water it too much, a Sprenger’s Asparagus should be ok. 

Sprenger's Asparagus 

This is also a great plant for outdoor yes, or in a well-drained container. You can read more about caring for this verdant fern and even order yours here.

2. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Maria)

This popular houseplant thrives in moist soil. In fact, if you grow a Chinese Evergreen in a pot that has drainage holes, make sure the soil doesn’t dry out completely. It shouldn’t be soggy, just moist enough. And that can be easier to do if you have no drainage. Watering every week should be enough, but as always, check the soil and learn the needs of your own plant. This plant would need more water during the spring and summer months when most of the growth occurs. 

Chinese Evergreen thrives in wet soil

Where to buy a Chinese Evergreen

These popular plants are readily available in many nurseries. You can also order yours online on Amazon.

Click to see more on Amazon

3. Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)

Dumbcane, or Dumb Cane, is a tropical plant and as such loves water. This makes it another candidate for surviving a pot with no drainage. Its large beautiful leaves love the occasional spray of mist too, just like it would be getting in a tropical jungle. Dieffenbachia (its Latin name) can tolerate varying amounts of light, depending on the cultivar that you’re getting. 

Dieffenbachia

Where to buy Dumbcane

You can order your Dumbcane plant online. 

Click here to see this plant on Amazon

4. Rough Horsetail (Equisetum Hyemale)

It may look like a miniature striped bamboo but Rough Horsetail is actually a type of fern. This hardy plant grows in boggy areas in the wild and will even grow well in water. Should you water your no-drainage container too much, this plant is likely to survive. 

Rough Horsetail

Where to buy Rough Horsetail

A great plant, as a houseplant or for your outdoor landscaping needs, you can order this plant online.

Click here to order live Rough Horsetail on Amazon

How to grow any plant in a container without drainage

You won’t need a drill, promise!

So, you have a gorgeous container that you want to use for your household plant. Alas, it has no drainage holes and you can’t or won’t drill any. Here’s a trick suggested to us by agronomist Ofer El Hashahar.

Place a layer of gravel inside your container, at least an inch high. That would be your large beautiful container that doesn’t have drainage holes. Now, place a proper pot, with drainage, over the gravel. This is where your soil and plant go. Finally, fill in the space around the actual pot with more gravel. You can even add another thin layer on top, for a unified look. 

You’ve now used your container that doesn’t have holes while providing your plan with adequate drainage. 

And since that opens up a world of choices, we thought we’d throw in a few of our favorite houseplants as suggestions.

1. Schefflera

Keeping a Schefflera plant hydrated is easy, so easy that over-watering is a common problem among owners of this plant type. Simply water the plant when the soil inside of the pot has run dry, making sure to saturate all the soil when you do. If leaves of the plant are turning yellow and/or falling off on their own, this is a sign of over-watering.

Where to Buy Schefflera Plants

9GreenBox sells its own Schefflera plant, which prefers sandy soil and comes in a 4-inch pot. If you give this plant a moderate amount of sunlight and plenty of shade, it will thrive inside or outside of your home.

Click here to see on Amazon

From United Nursery comes this bushier variant of the Schefflera plant. It is just as low-maintenance as you’d expect but offers a more full-bodied look than some other plants sold online or in-person.

Click here to see on Amazon

2. Cordyline

Also commonly referred to as the “Hawaiin Ti Plant,” Cordyline plants are known for being easy to maintain and grow indoors or outside. Whether or not potted, make sure that your cordyline plant is living in well-draining soil and then keep the soil wet. Whenever the top layer of soilhas dried out, it is time to water this tropical beauty.

Where to Buy Cordyline Plants

Makao Beach Trading Co. offers a 2-pack of Hawaiian cordyline plants: one plant is green while the other boasts colorful purple leaves. It is typically recommended that greener cordyline plants should have more frequent and direct sunlight than cordyline plants that have a pop of color. These plants are sold on logs shipped directly from a nursery in Hawaii.

Click here to see on Amazon

3. Croton

Croton plants are shrubs that can grow to an impressive 5-6 feet in height. There are several varieties of croton, all of which flourish in tropical or warm locations. It is necessary to use a soil that drains well. Many plant owners also add peat moss to ensure adequate drainage, as over-watering is a very real concern with these tropical shrubs.

These plants must be watered whenever the top of the soil is dry. They also thrive best when in a more humid environment.

Where to Buy Croton Plants

Costa Farms sells a variety 4-pack of croton plants, all contained within 3.8-inch planters. When you order this pack from Costa Farms, you are guaranteed to receive at least one Mamey, Luna Batik, Red Batik, Sunny Star, Banana, Red Banana or Petra croton species. This is a great way to spruce up your indoor or outdoor garden and add variety all at once.

Click here to see on Amazon

House Plant Shop sells this individual Gold Dust variant of the croton plant, which comes in a planter and is also sent with a care guide for first-time growers. It can’t get any easier than this to get acquainted with the beauty of the croton plant.

Click here to see on Amazon

4. Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo plants thrive when grown either in water or in soil. Growing in water is exceptionally easy. All you need to do is change the water every 7 to 10 days. There’s no fertilizer needed to help your lucky bamboo reach its fullest potential. This plant prefers indirect light and warm temperatures, around 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Using wire, you can even influence the shape of the stalks and make them curl – which is a fun, but a time-consuming project.

Warning: Lucky bamboo is toxic to felines, so avoid putting your plants in reach of your house cats!

Where to Buy Lucky Bamboo Stalks

From Betterdecor comes a 20-pack of 4-inch lucky bamboo stalks. The number of stalks and their size are perfect for any indoor bamboo growing project. Simply submerge the roots in water, avoid direct sunlight, and watch your lucky bamboo grow.

Click here to see on Amazon

Many consumers are fascinated by the curling that is seen often with lucky bamboo plants. JM Bamboo sells a package of 10 24-inch lucky bamboo stalks, each one with a signature spiral located at the top.

Click here to see on Amazon

5. Anthurium

Anthurium is grown because it is colorful, purifies the air and is relatively easy to cultivate indoors or outdoors. Their heart-shaped flowers are a signature feature of this plant.

There are over 800 species of anthurium (also known as Painted Tongue or Flamingo Flower) native to the area spanning between Mexico and northern Uruguay. These plants require a well-draining soil and should not be planted further than 5 centimeters into the soil. This helps to prevent the rotting of the stem.

A peat moss base is recommended, as is bright but indirect sunlight.

Where to Buy Anthurium

American Plant Exchange sells a beautiful, single, potted anthurium that grow up to a foot and a half in height and a foot in width.

Click here to see on Amazon

Optiflora also sells anthurium plants, including a 4-pack variety of differently colored anthuriums. Why not invest in a variety like this, especially when you really want to add a bunch of color to your indoor or outdoor garden?

Click here to see on Amazon

6. Kupukupu Fern

Kupukupu ferns, also known as sword ferns, have fronds that extend skyward at heights of up to 2 feet upon reaching maturity. When grown in full sunlight, a fern will take on a brighter and more rigid appearance in its fronds. Kupukupu ferns grown with less sunlight may appear a darker green in color and are also more prone to slight drooping.

This Hawaiian fern thrives with minimal water, so you only need to add hydration once a week or so. It also does well in nearly any type of soil, except for sandy soil.

Where to Buy a Kupukupu Fern

LOR Nursery grows and ships bare-root sword ferns of this variety, Bare-rooted ferns are easy to transplant into any environment you choose, whether it’s a pot, your garden, or another type of planter.

Click here to see on Amazon

7. Pothos

This tropical houseplant, which is also known as Devil’s Ivy, is one of the easiest houseplants to grow. Pothos plants and their heart-shaped leaves practically thrive on neglect, especially in low-lit and humid conditions. The name Devi’s Ivy refers to the fact that this plant is nearly impossible to kill.

What’s surprising about the ease of growing pothos is how much you get out of it. These plants, when given proper room to grow, can reach a massive 10 feet overall. Consider planting them in a hanging planter to get the full visual benefit of their sprawling nature. Watering is easy: wait until the soil is dry and then add water. You can be pretty inattentive to the plant’s watering needs and still have it thrive indoors.

Warning: Pothos plants are toxic if ingested, so keep them away from small children and curious pets.

Where to Buy Pothos Plants

The Marble Queen Pothos plant from American Plant Exchange adds a beautiful contrast of stark white on vivid green. It will look great in any hanging planter and infuse a breath of fresh air into any room.

Click here to see on Amazon

This Golden Pothos is sold by Costa Farms and shipped in a beautifully decorative 6-inch planter pot. When you receive this plant at your door, it will stand at 10 to 12 inches in height.

Click here to see on Amazon

9. Succulents

Succulents are drought-resistant plants that have fleshy leaves or thickened stems to store water. One of the most well-known species of succulent is the cacti family of plants, but not all succulents are cacti (however, all cacti are succulents). There are many different species of succulent, all of which thrive in direct sunlight.

Water, as you can expect, is not something to worry about too much with succulents. After planting your succulents into a coarse soil that’s good for drainage and aeration, you only need to water them once the soil becomes dry. Perlite and pumice can be added to the soil for extra plant health benefits.

Where to Buy Succulents

Shop Succulents wants to help you showcase the sheer variety afforded by succulent plants with this 20-pack collection of varied succulents. What you receive will depend on the health and time of year relating to the succulents available, but you won’t be disappointed with what you receive regardless!

Click here to see on Amazon

10. Spider Plants

Spider plants, despite their off-putting name, make a beautiful addition to any type of garden. Their long, draping leaves come in a variety of hues of green and white, so you can even add some variety with these little beauties. Growing them is exceptionally easy whether outdoors, in a hanging flower basket, or indoors in a flowerpot. Simply host your spider plant in a well-draining potting soil, leave it in moderate and indirect light, and water when the soil is nearly completely dry.

Where to Buy Spider Plants

Hanging baskets are the most popular methods of growing and displaying spider plants, which retailer JM Bamboo affords with this option. The 6-inch hanging basket is standard with the shipment of your spider plant, but you can transplant it to something larger if you feel the need has arisen.

Click here to see on Amazon

Shop Succulents’ curly spider plant is an eye-catching variation of a traditional spider plant. Not only does its leaves curl for added drama, but the coloration of these leaves possesses more white coloration than many other spider plants feature.

Click here to see on Amazon

More about indoor gardening and house plants you might want to check out –

15 Fast-Growing House Plants You’re Going to Love

17 Extra Large Indoor Planters That Will Transform Your Home

6 Types of Window Boxes to Add to Your Home

21 White Hanging Planters That Will Look Great on Your Wall

68 Cactus landscaping ideas that will inspire you

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. May

    Succulents do need a pot with drainage. If you dont have one, then yes water way less but they really dont belong on this list

  2. Anne

    Thanks for your reply, Kia. Just to keep it in context, the timing was great. We just adjusted the article today, so we have better plants in the actual list (and then others that do require drainage, as additional suggestions following our trick for using no drainage containers).

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