9 Small Plants That Don’t Need Drainage

For people who have limited space in their living areas but still want to be able to grow numerous plants, their best choice will be smaller plants that do not need drainage in order to survive and thrive.

These types of plants are usually low-maintenance and require the barest minimum of care to grow, yet they will still be able to add just the right amount of life and brightness to your home.

In this article, we will discuss nine plants that you can keep in pots or baskets without drainage holes and are also compact enough to place on tables or hang from your ceiling. So, if you are looking for suggestions for this kind of plant, just keep reading.

9 Small Plants That Do Not Need Drainage

1. Snake plant

Snake Plant
Image: istockphoto.com / FeelPic

The snake plant is often considered the most indestructible houseplant because of its ability to withstand both drought and overwatering. This plant is extremely low-maintenance and a great choice as a gift for people who are just starting to get into plants as a hobby, because it requires very little care.

Snake plants are also small enough to keep indoors and are usually displayed in a pot on the floor. It has dark green leaves with white stripes, growing vertically out of the ground, making the plant look very much like its reptilian namesake.

Simply place this plant’s pot in a spot where it can get ample light, and water it once a month during the warmer months and once every two months during the colder months. To avoid overwatering, only water the plant if the top two inches of soil in the pot are dry to the touch.

2. Spider plant

Spider Plant
Image: istockphoto.com / dropStock

The spider plant is another low-maintenance plant that does not need drainage to thrive. These plants are typically placed in baskets and hung from the ceiling, so that their dangling leaves can spill over the edges of the basket.

They can be kept indoors as long as they can get bright, indirect light, so that their soil can dry out quickly despite the container not having drainage holes at the bottom.

Like snake plants, spider plants can also tolerate a certain degree of drought and a little excess water from time to time.

3. Pothos

Image: istockphoto.com / Astafiana

Pothos plants have gained a lot of popularity recently, thanks to their aesthetically-pleasing leaves that come in a variety of combinations of green and cream colors. They make great hanging plants because their vines droop beautifully over the sides of the pot.

Pothos are also known for their air-purifying qualities which make them the perfect plant to keep indoors. They are also very easy to grow and care for. You can keep this plant in low light conditions and you will only need to water it when the soil has dried out.

You can allow the plant to grow longer up a pole or any other structure, but if you want to keep it small, you can also prune off the trailing vines and propagate them.

4. Aloe vera

Aloe Vera
Image: istockphoto.com / Sundaemorning

Succulents are a great choice if you want small plants that do well in pots without drainage. These plants are native to very arid regions; they like their soil to dry out completely between waterings and they like more sun than most other plants.

Aloe vera plants are small enough to keep in a pretty pot on a table top. They also have plenty of medicinal attributes that make their presence in your home an advantage. For example you can break off a leaf and rub it on a minor burn to soothe it.

The aloe’s fleshy leaves store plenty of water in case of drought, so you only need to water this plant very rarely. This makes it a great choice for busy people who do not have a lot of time for plants but still love the presence of some greenery in their home.

Just remember not to overwater the aloe vera; only water it when the top two inches of soil are dry. An overwatered aloe vera can develop root rot and could die.

5. Lucky bamboo

Lucky Bamboo
Image: istockphoto.com / Epitavi

Lucky bamboo is a popular houseplant because of its signature look. Its stalks can also be manipulated to create whatever shape you want, and it can be grown both in water and in soil. As with most small plants that do not need drainage, the lucky bamboo only needs to be watered when the top two inches of soil in its pot are dry to the touch.

Lucky bamboo prefers indirect light, and typically does not need that much care or attention to thrive.

Plant your lucky bamboo in a pot or container that does not have drainage holes, water it only when necessary, and you should not have to worry about overwatering it.

6. Oleander

Image: istockphoto.com / Lucas Renders

The oleander plant can get quite big if planted in the ground outside, but it can actually be a small indoor plant if you keep it in a pot. This plant can endure being in standing water for short periods of time, which is why it makes a good choice when you are looking for a plant that does not need drainage. 

It is native to south Asia and produces very colorful flowers, making it a great floor plant.

This plant grows quite well even without any drainage, as long as you water it only when the soil is dry to the touch. Once a week should be enough. Make sure you do not water it more often than you need to, to avoid overwatering and possible root rot.

7. Chinese evergreen

Chinese Evergreen
Image: istockphoto.com / dropStock

The chinese evergreen can grow fairly large in the ground, but a pot will restrict the plant’s growth, making it a good choice of houseplant. It’s leaves are green with brown and white edges.

This plant does not need drainage because it uses up the water in the soil quite quickly. Simply water the plant when the top two inches of soil feel dry to the touch. Try not to water it more than it needs, because this can lead to overwatering and possible root rot.

If you accidentally give the plant more water than you meant to, you can always just tip the pot to one side to get rid of the excess water.

8. Echeveria

Image: istockphoto.com / Fobo

Another popular, pint-sized succulent is the echeveria. Plenty of people have echeverias in tiny pots on their office desks, because they are low-maintenance and bring a pop of color and life to a drab workplace or living space.

You can plant your echeveria in a pot with no drainage holes, making sure that you only water it when the soil is completely dry. Remember that this plant is native to dry, arid desert conditions and its fleshy leaves store plenty of water for times of drought, so it does not need to be watered very often.

9. Coleus

Image: istockphoto.com / dmf87

The coleus plant is an evergreen that comes in a variety of colors and color combinations. It is a relatively low-maintenance plant that requires very little attention while providing your living space with a much-needed pop of color.

Coleus plants are semi-succulents, meaning their stems are able to store a significant amount of water, so you do not need to water them that often.

Place your plant in a spot where it can get lots of bright, indirect light so that the soil in the pot can dry out quickly despite the pot not having any drainage holes.

Remember only to water the plant when the top two inches of soil in the pot are dry to the touch. This practice is an important factor in avoiding overwatering.


For people who do not have a lot of space for plants in their homes, and who are too busy to devote much time to said plants, the perfect plant is one that is small enough to tuck into a corner or to place on top of a table, and that does not necessarily need drainage.

There is an abundance of choices when it comes to these types of plants. The most important thing to remember is not to overwater the plant; in other words, not to give it water when you do not need to. As long as you let the soil in the pot dry out between waterings, these plants will have no issue thriving in pots without drainage.