plants without soil
HORTICULTURE is fun. Growing
fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants both indoors and
outdoors is a routine matter. Do something like growing
plants without soil and you will find in it an element of
surprise and curiosity. That makes all the difference.
Plant propagation is a matter of routine with any garden
enthusiast. A suitable plant part is propagated in a
suitable medium and then transplanted in a pot or bed.
But do you know that most of the indoor plants that are
grown in soil could take roots and grow equally well in
water? The accompanying photograph is of one of the most
common indoor plants, dracaena. This plant was propagated
by me in pure sand. When it struck roots in abundance, I
transplanted it in water bottle and not the soil pot. It
is now more than 10 months that it is flourishing well,
putting forth excellent growth and a good amount of
When the plants strike roots these are usually brown at
the time of transplanting. When such plants are put in
water the old roots are shed one by one to be replaced by
brilliant white roots, which are also an excellent
showpiece when grown in glass containers. However, under
this type of plant culture there are certain things to
Never use fresh water for filling the bottles. Your
plants will decline in no time. This is due to the
chlorine present in fresh water. Use stale (stored)
water. Keep the plant straight and secured in place with
some artificial support like a piece of cork or pith or a
splinter. Do not fill the bottle to the brim. Leave some
space for the roots to breathe. There is no need to
change water every second day. You can keep it for 15
days or even more. However, if at any stage you find any
foreign growth, replace it. You can also add some
fungicide like bavistin a pinch of it to
keep the water free from any fungal growth. Do not put
fertiliser in the bottle. Unnecessary concentration of
salts in the roots might kill them. Another precaution
you can take is that the plant should be kept at a place
where it gets sufficient light but not the direct sun.
Confined to the darkness of a room for long, the growth
will be unnatural i.e. elongated and frail. The leaves
may also die. The plants that could be subjected to such
an adventure are dieffenbachia dracaena, syngonium, money
plant, philodendrons and yucca (even a grown up plant
could be rooted in water)
It is very easy to handle and carry such plants in
bottles for display at prominent places. Many plants
could be accommodated in a small space.
Another interesting venture with plants could be growing
these in small glass containers especially bulbs. The
plants grown in bulbs give an excellent miniature effect.
The best size for this purpose is a 500 w bulb. In this
case it is growing the plant in a sand-soil mixture like
any other plant. As the glass bulb is an enclosed
structure, a few precautions have to be taken.
The wired part of the bulb has to be carefully removed.
The glass should be thoroughly washed with soap solution
to make it spotless. At the base, add small marble chips.
Above this add a mixture of soil and sand.
Give a little water.
The loss of water from such containers is minimum. Do not
add water frequently. Moreover, the water requirement of
bryophullum is minimum. You can hang this pot
with thread at a suitable place. The bryophullum plant is
easy to obtain as it can be produced by placing a mature
leaf on any growing medium. The plant lets appear on the
margin or tip of the plant. In case there is moisture or
dirt on the inner side of the bulb, clean it with the
help of a cotton swab tied on a half broken and bent
feature was published on June 20, 1999