How to Grow Plants in Water – A Beginners Guide

Introduction on How to Grow Plants in Water

Growing plants in water are soil-free, pest resistant and low maintenance. Furthermore, this dirt-free method of growing plants can be more allergies friendly. The plants growing in water have low pests and diseases. This method for growing plants in water is not only low maintenance but disease and pest resistant. It’s possible to grow plants in the water year-round with little investment of time or effort.

A Step by Step Guide to Grow Plants in Water

Many plants grow easily in water. An indoor water garden has clippings from existing houseplants in bottles covering every surface available, to a couple of plants in water perched on the windowsill. Growing plants in water allow for flexibility in arrangement and can be accomplished in any type of receptacle that will hold water. Growing plants in water may be a slower process than soil-based planting; however, the indoor water garden will remain lush for a lengthy period.

Growing Plants in Water by Cuttings

Cuttings can be used for propagating new plants and root in water;

  • First, cut 6 inches from the end of the mother plant towards the end of spring or the beginning of summer season.
  • Make sure that the cut is made just beneath a set of plant leaves.
  • Remove the plant leaves growing on the bottom half and then place the cutting in a glass containing water.
  • Place on a windowsill where it can get bright light.
  • After 2 weeks you should see plant roots starting to grow. Once they have grown to at least ½ an inch you can transplant the cutting to the soil if you want.
  • If the plant starts to become too large as it grows, and then you can trim it back to size. Giving you more cuttings to use for propagation.
  • Being a tropical plant, it does prefer warm temperatures, with around 21-22°C being preferable.

When you place plants in the water they react badly to chlorine. So it’s a good idea to fill vase or container with tap water and leave it standing overnight. Then, this allows the chlorine to evaporate out and the water to adjust to room temperature.

Feeding Water Growing Plants

Simply add a good quality, water-soluble fertilizer to the container every time you change the water usually every 4 to 6 weeks or sooner if half of the water has evaporated. For best results, use bottled spring water, or well water, as city water tends to be heavily chlorinated and devoid of most natural nutrients.

Although water plants get some important elements from the air, they draw most of their nutrients through their roots. Water contains a significant amount of calcium, magnesium, sodium and chloride, and in some cases, may have excessive amounts of boron and manganese. On the other hand, iron, potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen and certain micronutrients can be lacking. A water test reveals exactly what your water needs for houseplants to flourish. As a general rule, feeding plants growing in water isn’t that complicated and, there’s no need to stress over a complicated formulation of nutrients. Every living organism needs food to survive and plants are no different, so be sure to invest in a fertilizer that will make sure plants get the vital nutrients they need to thrive.

Process of Growing Plants in Water

Step 1) Find a Plant That Can Grow in Water

Devil’s Ivy, Fiddled Leaf Fig, Jade Plant, Rubber Plant, Aloe Vera, Snake Plant, ZZ Plant, Spider Plant and a Peace Lily will all grow in water.

Step 2) Take a Cutting from an Existing or Mother Plant

Take a good-sized (but not large) cutting with a leaf or two from an existing plant just below a node.

Step 3) Find a Vessel for Your Plant

A glass vase with a thin neck (to help hold the plant upright) will do just fine. Growing an indoor water garden can be completed using any container that will hold water. Growing plants in bottles are one option, but almost any type of waterproof receptacle will work except those forged of copper, brass or lead. Metals could corrode when reacting to fertilizer and cause plant damage. Also, a dark container will help to prevent algae formation. Once you have picked the suitable container, fill it three-quarters full with crumbled Styrofoam, pearl chips, gravel, pebbles, sand, marbles, or any similar material that sparks your imagination. Then, add a pinch of a powdered or small piece of charcoal to keep the water clear.

Step 4) Find a Spot for It

A place in your home with bright and indirect light is perfect. Try to find a spot that is slightly warm where the temperature doesn’t change too often, so avoid places next to heaters.

Step 5) Wait For It to Grow

For the first couple of months (or until roots appear) change the water weekly in containers. Once plant roots have formed you can either move the cutting to soil or continue to grow it in water, replacing the water monthly. Then, mix a diluted concoction of water and fertilizer, by using a water-soluble fertilizer in the amount of one-quarter the manufacturer’s recommendation. Now it is time to pick your plant.

Choose Plants That Grown in Water

Some plants grow in water and do not need any soil or potting. These plants are very easy to care and planted into glass jars, vases, fish bowls, or terrariums. Many popular indoor plants will grow in water. Most plant varieties will thrive in water, but unfortunately, not all plants are suitable to move from soil to water. Some of the easiest houseplants to grow in water are Spider Plant, Pathos, English Ivy, Wandering Jew, Purple Heart, Snake plant, ZZ plant, and Monstera deliciosa.

Some other good plants for water “planting” may include any of the following;

Chinese evergreen, Dumbcane, Philodendron, Pothos, Wax plant, Arrowhead, Devil’s ivy, Aloe Vera, Rubber Plants, Lucky Bamboo and Peace Lilies will all take to water very well.


In all the philodendron species, heart-leaf philodendron is adaptable for growing in water. Don’t forget to change the water once in 3 to 4 days and it’ll keep growing.

The Philodendron plant is easy to grow and care for houseplants. There are over 500 different species of Philodendron plants. The two main types of plant species are vines and non-climbers. The vine Philodendron can rise around the windows. The non-climbers have lush, broad green colour leaves. You can suspend the plant in the pot it from the basket. To grow a philodendron plant in water, cut about 6-inch stem from a healthy philodendron plant. You can use scissors, best pruning shears, or a sharp knife to make a cleaner cut. Then, fill a jar with water, and if you are using tap water, then let the chlorine in the water settles overnight. Remove a couple of leaves from the plant to expose 2 or 3 nodes on the stem.

Lucky Bamboo

The lucky bamboo plant is one of the best indoor plants that grow in water. Narrow vases are perfect for this lucky bamboo plant, depending on the size. Make sure the plant roots are submerged in the water and then add some gravels around them for firm placement.

To grow the lucky bamboo in water, use a layer of pebbles to stabilize the stems of the bamboo plant. Add enough water to keep the roots covered. Filtered or distilled water is best, especially if you have fluoride or chlorine in your tap water. These chemicals can cause the green tips of the plant leaves to burn and turn brown. A clear container makes it easy to see the plant roots and check the water level, but it can also cause algae to grow, so you may want to use a coloured container.


Pothos can thrive in tap water, but don’t want it to be full of chlorine. Don’t use solid fertilizers when feeding your Pothos. Keep changing the water every few days to take care of the proper oxygen level. It is a trailing house plant with gorgeous, heart-shaped green leaves.

Chinese evergreen

The Chinese evergreen plant can be easily grown in water. You can easily propagate the plant cuttings in a transparent vase filled with aquarium rocks. After a few months, once the plant roots appear and become bigger, transfer them in the soil.

Spider Plant

Spider plants easily growing in water. You can grow the plants permanently in a glass jar or change the cuttings into a new pot. Keep changing the water in the pot every 2 to 3 days. The spider plant is low maintenance and does quite well in both soil and water. And, always be careful when it comes to changing the water. Once every 5 to 7 days is the right interval. If you notice water getting pale or discoloured before, then replace it before the scheduled time. Clean water will allow you to keep a close eye at the development of the roots.

Arrowhead Plant

This plant is pretty straightforward to grow indoors in water. Keep adding fresh water twice a week and it will keep on growing. If you like, transplant it into a potting soil once the cutting sets new plant roots.

African violet

Growing an African violet in water from leaves is a good way to get a clone of the parent plant, although some multicolour violets will yield plants with solid colour flowers. Select young, healthy African violet leaves to start new plants. Cut the leaf with about 2 inches of stem, and place the leaf during a narrow-necked bottle. Plant roots take about a month to form. Over time a small plantlet will form, complete with its crown. 


Begonia is a beautiful flowery plant that can be easily grown in water. The thick stems of begonias are forgiving when harvesting the stems to grow in water. Practice with hardy wax begonias, which have knobby leaf nodes that form roots easily.


Having colourful leaves, coleus will be the most colourful addition to glasses and jars. This plant likes indirect light; you can keep it as a tabletop in a decorative Mason jar filled with water.

English Ivy

English Ivy Plant.
English Ivy

You can easily plant English Ivy indoor in water. For propagation, you need to cut the stem of the Ivy plant above the triangular fold. These angular folds are between the leaves stem. Clear the bottom part of the Ivy from plant leaves and fill the pot with un-chlorinated water. You can also use bottled water. Insert the leafless bottom part of the stem in the water and then place it in a warm partial sunny area. Change water every other day, and in a couple of days, it starts growing new plant roots.

Wandering Jew

Wandering Jew plant is a Tradescantia genus species of plant. It includes 75 different perennial species. This plant grows in water as long as you get the right growing conditions. Wandering Jew plants are tough plants that grow like a weed in warm climates.


Many indoor dracaena plant varieties can adapt to growing in water. Glass jugs and narrow jars are good for these plants. Just remember to use chlorine and fluoride-free water. Also, never let the water in the jar to become mushy and unclear and keep changing it 2 to 3 times a week.

Peace Lillies

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Peace Lillies.
Peace Lillies

Peace Lillies is known to clean the indoor air and oxygen, which is why many people plant it in their house as a natural air freshener. To grow Peace Lilly plants in water, remove it from the pot and clean the soil in lukewarm water. When there is no more mud left on it, remove any overshoot or damaged plant roots. Leave 4 or 5 leaves on the plant and then place it in the water container. Make sure the plant roots of Peace Lilly remain submerged in the water. Then, every week, change old water with fresh water. It helps the Lilly plant roots to absorb the nutrients from the water.

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