A novel patterning method for the selective growth of ZnO nanorods has been developed, which can avoid any etching steps and longtime lift-off processes. In the simplified process, the deposition of a titanium buffer layer is omitted, and a 50 nm ZnO thin-film seed layer is deposited by e-beam evaporation directly onto the silicon patterned with the photoresist. The omitted titanium buffer layer has been observed to result in the absence of the ZnO seed layer on the photoresist. Then, the ZnO nanorods with diameters ranging from 50 to 500 nm have been found to grow hydrothermally only on the regions without the photoresist. The photoresist remains on the substrate after the hydrothermal growth, which can protect areas from the polluted solution and unwanted nanorods. After all processes, the photoresist can be removed easily by the solvent without any unwanted damage of nanorods. With this simplified method, ZnO nanorods can be synthesized and patterned with only one step of lithography, which can be used for novel ZnO based devices.