Do Plants Need Soil to Grow | Soil Biology, Plant Nutrition & Nature Factor


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All of the life necessities are some, how related to plants. For instance, if we talk about food, all the foodstuff directly or indirectly comes from plants. Other than water, all the things of eating and drinking are related to plants. So, one cannot ignore the importance of Plants. But, is there anything more important for plants also. You will say water is most essential for plants, but actually, it’s the soil from which the roots of plants observe water. The soil is the leading cause of the existence of plants, but one may question do plants need soil to grow? This query requires a well-searched answer with all the specs and figures to support the answer. Today we will answer the question do plants need soil to grow with the required specifications.

Biology of Soil 

Biology of Soil

The biology of soil demonstrates its importance. Soil is compulsory for the growth of plants. But, the following biological factors further strengthen this belief. All of these factors require soil to function;

  • The substrate is an underlying material on which the organism gets its nourishment.
  • The macronutrient present in the soil is essential for the growth and development of the plant.
  • The micronutrient is required for the average growth and development of the plant.
  • Some essential nutrients present in the plant are necessary for normal functioning.
  • The set of metabolic activities, which is called cellular respiration, takes place in the plant.

Soil and Plant Nutrition

Do Plants Need Soil to Grow

Plants are the producers of earth. All the carnivores, herbivores, omnivores depend on the plant for their food and shelter. Plants produce their food through the process of photosynthesis. To maintain the environmental balance, plants release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.

Plants need nutrition to grow. They grow in fertile soil, which is always rich in nutrients. The unfertile soil does not promote the growth of plants. Depending on the habitat of the plants, they require different types of soil to grow. Each area’s soil is distinct for its content and the retention of water.

The soils with the decomposition of the fallen leaves, other plants, droppings of birds, and animals are the perfect organic soil that can promote the growth of plants. You can add fertilizer to the soil to further enhancing the nutrients. About 0.03 percent of air containing carbon dioxide is released in the air by the respiration of animals and humans, combustion of fossil fuels, and decomposition of waste matter.

Can Plants Grow Without Soil?

Do Plants Need Soil to Grow

The researcher discovers many years back that the soil keeps the mineral nutrients bounded to plants. However, the soil itself is not necessary for the proper growth of the plant. 

The plant needs phosphorous, nitrogen, and other mineral nutrients. If these nutrients are available in water, then you can go without soil. But, typically, these nutrients are present in the soils. Growing the plant without soil is called “hydroponics.” With this technique, you can grow plants in a water solution having all the mineral nutrients.

However, the soil is a natural organic source of nutrients. Therefore, if the organic soil is kept inside the house, you can even grow fresh food.

Learn More: How to Lower Nitrogen in Soil

8 Plants You Can Grow Without Soil

Some plants can even grow without the soil; these include;

  • Orchids
  • Philodendron
  • Lucky Bamboo
  • Marimo Moss Balls
  • Paperwhites
  • Aechmea
  • Air Plants
  • Wax Plants

Environmental factors Affecting Plant Growth

Environmental factors Affecting Plant Growth

Many environmental factors affect the growth of plant life. These factors include;

  • The most common factor that affects the growth of the plant is light.
  • Temperature also has an impact on the plant’s development.
  • Water plays a role in plants’ growth.
  • Humidity and nutrition are also essential for plant growth.
  • Food pollution affects the growth of plants from the beginning.
  • The parasites prohibit the growth of plants up to a great extent.
  • The diversity in the environmental stresses also affects the growth of plants as many essential factors of development are related to it.
  • Overall environment has a comprehensive and long-lasting impact on the plants, which is difficult to tolerate for plants. The growth and the development process are significantly affected, but at the same time, food production is also prohibited there for environmental factors have significant impacts on plants.

Do Plants Need Soil to Grow: FAQs

Can you grow plants without soil?

The plants need essential nutrients to begin their growth and then develop. The nutrients are present in the soil. But soil itself is not a necessary part as the nutrients present in it are more critical. Therefore many methods are introduced that can grow plants without soil. If the water is provided all the essential nutrients, the plant can grow in water. This technique is called Hydroponic.

Why do plants need soil to grow?

Soil plays a vital role in the growth of plants. All the vital nutrients that a plant requires for development are present in the soil. The primary role of soil is to keep the mineral and nutrients bound to the roots of the plants. So, it is easy for the plants to grow and proceed; that’s the main role of soil in plant growth.

Is it better to grow plants in water or soil?

Plants usually grow in the soil. But, with innovation, such a method is introduced that makes it possible to enhance the growth of plants. The most common method is the hydroponic method.

What is needed to make a plant grow?

Plants mainly need five things to grow. These things are sunlight, moisture, air, temperature, and essential nutrients. The natural environments provide all these things to meet the standard of growth for plants. These things can be provided artificially. If any of these things are missing, the plant’s growth prohibits.

Which plants do not need soil to grow?

Plants need certain nutrients to grow. Soil is the best place where all these nutrients are available easily. Some plants can grow without soil if provided all the nutrients externally; these plants are

  • Marimo Moss Balls
  • Hyacinths
  • Spanish Moss
  • Aechmea
  • Aloe Vera
  • Paperwhites
  • Philodendrons

How long can plants last without soil?

The effect of nutrients depends upon the characteristics of the plants. Plants can grow without soil if desired nutrients and the sunlight is provided. But that’s not for all plants. Some plants can survive for an indefinite time without soil in water. At the same time, some plants like broccoli cannot survive if the roots are flooded. Some plants cannot survive even up to 24 hours with their hearts flooded in water.

Which soil is best for plant growth?

There are mainly three types of soil; 

  • The first type of soil is sand.
  • The second type of soil is silt.
  • The third type of soil is clay.

So, the quality of soil changes with the type of soil. The best soil that promotes plant growth and plays a role in development is the sandy loam soil. This soil is rich in nutrients. You can mix all three types of soil to make a sandy loam. The ideal “Loam” comprises 40% Sand, 40% Silt, and 20% Clay. However, in most cases, the sandy loam soil is made from soil and compost.

Do plants need sunlight to grow?

Sun is the main source of energy for plants. Without the Sun, the plants cannot grow. The required food for the proper growth and development of plants is provided by the Sun. The primary things that a plant needs to grow are sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. The plants use the Sun’s energy to convert carbon dioxide, nutrients, and water into food. So keeping all the specs in mind, a plant can’t grow without sunlight.

Does the soil need sunlight?

The sunlight has all the essential nutrients that plants use. The nutrients present in the soil are the direct effect of the Sun. Sunlight directly affects the soil, so the nutrients can’t sustain in the absence of the Sun. The plants use the sunlight energy for photosynthesis. Some plants like algae and cyanobacteria use the energy from sunlight synthesis carbohydrates.


The carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores all depend on the plants for their shelter and food. Therefore, plants are an essential part of the ecosystem. Likewise, the habitat of the world depends on the plants for food and other necessities. With innovation, many changes in the genetics of plants are made to meet society’s needs. But, still queries arise that is it possible to grow plants without soil, or do plants need soil to grow? The soil is an essential part of plants’ life when it comes to providing nutrients but, not for now because many techniques have made it possible to grow plants without the soil. 

Plants need sunlight and essential nutrients to live upon. If these nutrients are provided without the soil’s involvement, plants can grow without the soil. This article explains how you can grow plants without soil and the importance of soil for plants. Please read the whole essay and tell us whether you find it informative or not.

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