Yes. The soil is indeed important for growing plants as it provides support, water, and nutrients. But if these needs can be satisfied by other means, then soil can be done away with.
Some plants can grow in plain water in a vase. Their roots are able to extract oxygen dissolved in the water, while the vase offers them the necessary support.
Scientists have developed a new method of growing plants without soil- hydroponics. The plants are grown with their roots immersed in a mineral nutrient solution or in an inert medium, such as gravel, mineral wool, or coconut husk. Many types of fruits and vegetables can be grown by this method.
In the 1980s, inventor Richard Stoner devised the system of aeroponics in which the plants’ roots are kept in an environment saturated with fine drops of nutrient solution.