All across the globe, people have taken propagating plants in water (or hydroponic gardening) to a whole new level of style… we’d go as far to say there’s an interior trend of growing and styling plants in water!
There’s a lot more than just good looks to plants in water — for people with feline friends, you can overcome the issue of them turning your houseplants into their personal litter box.
It’s also a more low maintenance way of growing plants — water only needs to be replaced occasionally rather than weekly or twice-weekly watering, and by eliminating soil your plants are less likely to face disease or pest problems. People with allergies may also find this dirt-free method of growing plants a better solution.
In this article we’ve rounded up our favourite pics and share all the tricks on how to grow plants in water.
How to grow plants in water
1. Identify a plant you can grow in water
Before you get carried away and start placing plant cuttings all around your house, it’s important that you find a plant variety that will root in water. Below is a list of some of our favourite plants and herbs that grow in water.
- Devil’s Ivy (find all our tips to propagate Devil’s Ivy)
- Fiddle Leaf Fig
- Jade plant
- Rubber plant
- Prayer plant
- Aloe Vera
- Spider plant
- Peace Lily.
2. Take a good cutting
Despite popular belief, you shouldn’t place a large plant cutting in water and hope that it will grow roots. When you take a cutting, the ability for the plant to draw in water is reduced to the small stem placed in water. So if you have a large branch or long vine of leaves, the plant has to work extra hard to try and draw in enough water to stay alive which wastes precious energy that should be used to grow new roots.
Generally, a single leaf cutting taken along a stem, just below a node is best. Essentially you want to have a small section of stem and a large, healthy leaf (we explain this in more detail in our video).
Depending on your plant variety, you may need to wash the cuttings to remove sap. For example, the rubber plant will have a sticky white sap that can cause rot and reduce your chances of success. An optional step is to apply a rooting hormone powder or honey at the stem to promote roots.
3. Find a suitable vessel
There is a whole range of hydroponic pots and vases available but all you need is a vessel that will support your plant to stand upright. Look for a vase with a thinner neck like the rounded glass vases pictured.
4. Place it in an ideal spot
A bright location out of direct sunlight is best. Generally cuttings also grow best in mild-to-warm temperatures so avoid placing the cuttings under air-conditioning vents or too close to heaters; an ideal spot is often on your kitchen bench. There are a variety of factors that can affect your cutting, so be sure to check out these tips to avoid killing your indoor plants.
5. Watch and care
While waiting for roots to establish, you need to give your cuttings a little extra care — roots need oxygen as much as they need water to grow. The water from your tap has oxygen in it but it needs to be refreshed regularly (at least once weekly) as over time the oxygen is evaporated and water becomes stale.
Check on the cuttings every week for root formation. Depending on the plant variety, this could happen anywhere between 3-12 weeks from taking the cutting.
Don’t be disheartened if not all your cuttings form roots, it’s common for some cuttings to simply die so set up a few cuttings at once to increase your chances of success.
Once roots have formed, you can either continue to grow your plant in water by replacing the water monthly or transfer the plant into a pot with soil.
Do you like the look of growing plants in water? Will you try or have you tried propagating plants in water? Tell us in the comments below!
This article was first published in September 2018 and has been republished as the plants in water trend re-emerges.