Hydroponics 101: What Houseplants Can Live in Just Water?


Explore the fascinating world of hydroponics and learn what houseplants can live in just water. Get expert tips for a thriving indoor garden.

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Did you know that what houseplants can live in just water is not as limited a list as you might think? Hydroponics, a branch of horticulture that involves cultivating plants without soil, has given rise to fresh options for indoor gardening.

This method isn’t just a recent trend, civilizations have been using hydroponic techniques since ancient times! The beauty of this approach? You don’t need a green thumb or sprawling garden space to grow lush, vibrant houseplants. All it takes is some clean water and your favorite plant cuttings!

The Magic of Water-Grown Plants

Indoor plants can add a unique aesthetic appeal to your living space, and growing houseplants in water take this charm up another notch. The concept is simple: instead of using potting soil, you let the roots bask in clean water. This method has gained popularity among plant lovers for its simplicity and success. You can put your plants in various cups, a mason jar, decorative vases or you can invest in a propagation station.

You may be questioning how it’s feasible for plants to flourish without dirt. When we talk about hydroponics or indoor growing with tap or bottled water, these essential nutrients are directly dissolved into the freshwater rather than absorbed from the soil.

This isn’t some modern-day gimmick; many popular houseplants have been successfully grown this way. Imagine beautiful glass jars filled with clear filtered rainwater showcasing vibrant root systems – such setups serve as attractive vessels, adding greenery to any corner of your home or office.

monstera roots in vase

Top Houseplants That Thrive in Water

Several houseplants can grow in just water, a method known as water propagation or hydroponics. Here are some popular choices:

  1. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum): Pothos is one of the easiest houseplants to grow in water. Simply cut a vine with a few leaves and place it in a jar or vase with water. It will develop roots and continue to grow.
  2. Devil’s Ivy (Scindapsus pictus): Similar to Pothos, Devil’s Ivy can be propagated in water. You can take a cutting with several nodes and place it in a container with water. (Devil’s Ivy typically denotes Golden Pothos, while Pothos may encompass other Epipremnum plants.)
  3. Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana): Lucky Bamboo is typically grown in water and is known for its distinctive appearance. It can thrive with minimal care.
  4. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum): Spider Plants can be propagated in water by placing baby spider plantlets (offshoots) in a jar of water until they develop roots.
  5. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema): You can propagate Chinese Evergreen by taking stem cuttings and placing them in a jar of water. They will root and can later be transferred to soil.
  6. African Violet (Saintpaulia): African violet leaves can be propagated in water. Place a leaf in a container with water and watch for new plantlets to form.
  7. Begonia (Begonia spp.): Begonias can be propagated by taking leaf cuttings and placing them in water until roots appear.
  8. Philodendron (Philodendron spp.): Many philodendron varieties can be propagated in water by taking stem cuttings and allowing them to root before transferring them to soil.

Remember to change the water regularly to prevent stagnation and provide a clean environment for your plants. Some plants may eventually benefit from being transferred to soil for more robust growth, while others can continue to thrive in water. Be patient, as it may take some time for roots to develop and for the plant to establish itself in water.

Essential Care Tips for Water-Grown Plants

If you find the concept of raising houseplants in water appealing, it’s essential to remember that this method needs more than simply plonking your plant into a container with tap or bottled H2O. Despite its simplicity, understanding how to care for these plants is crucial.

Light is integral to the growth and health of popular houseplants like Lucky Bamboo, Spider Plants, and Chinese evergreen plants when grown in water. These beauties thrive best under bright but indirect light conditions. Be mindful; too much direct sunlight can scorch their leaves, while inadequate lighting may lead to leggy growth patterns.

Tackling Common Challenges

Growing houseplants hydroponically comes with its own set of challenges, such as algae formation – a common issue many gardeners face when they grow indoors using this method. Algae usually feed on nutrients present in the water or due to excessive exposure to light, which promotes their proliferation.

To prevent unwanted green guests from invading your glass containers, consider moving them away from direct sunlight; alternatively, use opaque vessels instead of clear ones if possible. Regularly changing old, stale tap/bottled/filtered/rainwater helps maintain a clean environment free from harmful organisms.

Apart from algal blooms, root rot could become another potential problem, especially if you don’t frequently change out stagnant waters, causing fungal infections leading to brown mushy roots and foul smell situations, ultimately affecting overall health adversely over time.

Therefore, ensuring a regular replacement schedule becomes a vital part of maintaining a healthy aquatic ecosystem within the home setting itself without any additional fuss involved whatsoever at all times throughout the year-round period.

vase with philodendron cuttings

Propagating Houseplants in Water

The art of propagating houseplants using water is a rewarding and fascinating journey. This method involves taking cuttings from your favorite indoor plants placing them directly into clean, fresh water where they can grow roots and flourish as new plants.

Succulent stems or single stems with aerial roots often succeed in producing new roots when propagated this way. The secret to success lies within the selection of appropriate plant species for propagation and their subsequent care during growth phases.

Propagation Success Stories

Inspiring tales abound about successful propagation efforts involving various types of houseplant varieties. One such story revolves around Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema modestum). These tropical beauties have been known to root successfully in tap or bottled water long-term, providing an opportunity for gardeners to expand their indoor growing plant collection without needing additional mature specimens.

Vining plants like inch plants (Tradescantia zebrina) also propagate well under these conditions. A simple cutting placed into a jar filled with fresh, clean water can produce robust, healthy plant roots within weeks if kept under ideal conditions, making it one of the easiest ways to multiply popular houseplants efficiently at home.

Tips for Successful Propagation

To increase your chances while propagating plants indoors using just plain old tap or bottled rainwater, there are several tips you should keep in mind:

  • Select Healthy Parent Plants: A healthier parent will yield more resilient offspring that will likely take root successfully.
  • Clean Containers Thoroughly: Your chosen container must be cleaned thoroughly before use so as not to contaminate budding life forms.
  • Maintain Optimal Temperature: Ideal temperatures may vary by species but generally fall between 65°F – 75°F (18°C – 24°C).

Growth Monitoring & Care Post Propagation

After placing your precious cuttings into pristine waters, it’s vital to monitor closely over time and watch how they begin sprouting fresh white nodules, which indicate the beginnings of development beneath

Key Takeaway:

Propagating houseplants in water is a captivating and rewarding venture. The key to success lies in selecting the right plant species, using clean containers, maintaining optimal temperatures, and vigilant monitoring of growth post-propagation.

Transitioning Water-Grown Plants to Soil

If you’ve mastered the art of growing houseplants in water, there might come a time when you want these indoor beauties to experience potting soil. This transition could be motivated by various reasons – perhaps your spider plant or lucky bamboo has outgrown its glass vase and needs more room for expansion, or maybe it’s part of an experiment on how different environments affect plant growth.

Moving plants from their comfortable water homes into the soil isn’t as daunting as it sounds if approached carefully and patiently. The key is ensuring that the delicate root system developed through hydroponics doesn’t get damaged during this process.

Transplanting Techniques

The first step towards successful transplantation involves acclimatization. Before plunging your Chinese evergreen plants directly into fresh potting mix, allow them to adjust gradually by introducing small amounts of soil into their existing water over a week-long period.

This helps prepare those succulent stems for life within new confines without causing shock, which can stunt growth or even kill off some species altogether.

Choosing just any old dirt won’t do either. You need a well-draining potting mixture ideally suited for each specific type, such as tropical ones like Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema modestum), because too much moisture retention leads straight down the path toward dreaded root rot.

Picking the right size container matters equally – go slightly bigger than the current vessel so roots don’t feel overwhelmed but still have enough space to spread out comfortably, establishing themselves firmly inside their new home.

Remember, though: overwatering post-transplantation must absolutely be avoided since newly transplanted plants require dry-out periods between watering sessions for healthy development according to their needs.

plant cuttings in cups

Caring For Transplanted Houseplants

After successfully transplanting, continue caring for your plants as usual while keeping in mind that they may take some adjusting initially and may appear stressed.

Watch for signs of wilting leaves and drooping stems, indicating adjustment issues, and respond promptly by tweaking light levels and humidity based on what the particular species prefers.

Key Takeaway:

Transitioning your water-grown houseplants to soil isn’t rocket science. With careful planning, patience, and the right potting mix, you can help your plants acclimate to their new environment. Remember: avoid overwatering post-transplantation and keep an eye out for signs of stress.

man watering plant cuttings in propagation station

FAQs in Relation to What Houseplants Can Live in Just Water

What plants can survive with only water?

Lucky bamboo, spider plant, Chinese evergreen, English ivy, and sweet potato vine are some houseplants that can thrive in just water.

Can houseplants survive in just water?

Yes. Certain houseplants like lucky bamboo or spider plants can grow and live indefinitely when submerged in a nutrient-rich water solution.

What plants can be potted in water?

You can pot aquatic plants such as arrowhead plant and phalaenopsis spp., along with other adaptable varieties like the popular lucky bamboo or spider plant.

What houseplants can I grow submerged?

Aquatic species like Anubias nana or Java ferns do well fully submerged. Additionally, terrestrial species such as pothos and philodendrons adapt to being grown underwater too.


Hydroponics is a fascinating world, opening up new possibilities for indoor gardening. Propagation of your favorite houseplants through cuttings placed directly into freshwater offers endless opportunities for growth.

House Fur has got you covered if you’re excited about exploring gardening or need tips on transitioning your water-grown plants to the soil!

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