If you are looking to find a fast-growing, easy-care plant, you will need to look no further than pothos, otherwise known as Devil’s Ivy. And did you know that these beautiful vines can be grown in water apart from soil?
Growing pothos in water is exciting, as you can see the roots grow right in front of you!
So, It’S True: Pothos Can Grow in Water?
Yes! Pothos, or ‘Epipremnum Aureum,’ can be grown in water easily. With the proper care, your pothos can flourish and thrive when grown in plain old water. This goes for all the popular pothos varieties, such as Golden Pothos, Marble Queen pothos, the trending Baltic Blue pothos, or Jade pothos.
Why Grow Pothos in Water Vs. Soil
Many houseplant owners like the appeal of growing their plants in water rather than soil. The main reason is that growing plants in water is less messy, and through clear-glass containers, you can see what’s going on with the roots of your houseplants.
It also significantly reduces the risk of indoor plant pests (which often lay eggs in the soil), and you don’t have to worry about under or overwatering your houseplants.
However, growing your pothos in water is more challenging than it may sound.
Your plant’s roots need three essential things to thrive:
These three things are naturally present in soil.
Growing your pothos inside glass jars will give it an abundance of moisture, but water lacks oxygen and nutrients. But don’t worry- you can manually add oxygen and nutrients to the water your plant is growing in.
2 Methods For Growing Pothos In Water
1.) Grow Pothos Cuttings in Water
The easiest and most effective way to grow pothos plants in water is through water propagation.
To propagate pothos in water, you will need a mother pothos plant with lots of healthy vines, sharp shears or scissors, and a vessel that can hold water, such as a jar, vase, glass container, etc.
- Start by choosing a section of your pothos vines to cut. Aim for at least 3 to 4 inches, and ensure that there is a node on the cutting. A node is the thick part of the stem from which leaves and aerial roots grow.
- Get your scissors or pruners, and cut below the node. You can take propagations with 2-3 nodes to increase the success chances of propagations.
- Optionally, you can dip the cut ends of the cuttings into a rooting hormone. A rooting hormone will speed up the process of root development. However, because Pothos plants are easy to propagate, this is optional.
- Fill your vessel with clean water. Add your pothos cuttings, refresh the water once a week, and wait for the roots to grow. Ensure to place the cutting where it gets bright, indirect sunlight. Within 1-2 weeks, roots should start to grow on the cuttings.
Here is an excellent video that highlights growing a pothos plant in water from cuttings:
2.) Transition Soil-Grown Pothos To Water
While it is possible to transfer a pothos that has been living in soil to water, it does come with some risks. Because the change from soil to water is extreme, there is a chance that the roots will rot when placed directly in water.
But don’t get discouraged. You can easily transition your pothos from soil to water by following the steps below to minimize the risk of root rot.
- Take your pothos out of its original pot and remove the soil. Try to remove as much of the soil as possible, but be gentle! Roots are very prone to breakage, and this can lead to transplant shock.
- Try rinsing off the roots with lukewarm water. Avoid ice-cold water. Extreme temperatures can stress the plant.
- Remove any part of the roots that seems dead, rotten, or otherwise ill. Make sure to use sterilized, clean scissors to do this.
- Get a jar, vase, or another vessel to hold water. Make sure it is large enough for the root system of your pothos. Fill it up with water and add your plant.
Even if you do everything right, your plant will likely drop some leaves or develop some rot when transferred to the water.
Don’t panic; cut off the dead leaves and roots as you go. Give the plant some time to acclimate. It will surely bounce back and grow new roots before you know it.
How To Care For Pothos Grown in Water
These plants can grow very well in water. However, you will need to ensure that the plant has enough access to oxygen and nutrients when you grow pothos in water.
Fertilizer & Oxygen
Freshly rooted cuttings won’t need any fertilization for the first few months, but at some point, the plant will require additional nutrients to keep growing. Mature plants will benefit from some extra food when they live in water.
You can introduce fresh oxygen to the plant’s roots by refreshing the water every one to two weeks. When supplying fresh water, you can add a few drops of water-soluble liquid fertilizer to the water once a month.
Most all-purpose liquid houseplants fertilizers will work, but the best option is a fertilizer targeted explicitly for hydroponic use.
Be careful not to add too much. Excess fertilizers in the water can burn the roots and result in dying leaves.
Avoid fertilizing during winter since pothos plants rest during the colder, darker months. Feed from March to October for the best results.
Plants grown in water will require the same pothos light needs as those growing in soil. Low light conditions will slow down your plant’s growth significantly. Place your pothos in a well-lit location, such as a south- or east-facing window where it can receive bright indirect light.
Avoid exposure to direct sunlight. The hot, burning sun can burn the heart-shaped leaves of your pothos.
Pothos will thrive in a temperature range between 70° to 90°F (21° to 32°C). If you want your pothos to grow faster, it’s best to keep it on the warmer side, somewhere around 80 to 90F.
Ph & Repotting
Make sure that the roots stay submerged in water as your plant’s root system grows. When water roots get exposed to air for too long, they can begin to rot. This rot can spread over your entire root system fast.
Switch up the plant’s water reservoir for a bigger one as it outgrows its previous one.
Aim to keep the pH of the water between 6.1 and 6.8. It’s best to purchase a pH meter to test the acidity of your tap water if you plan on growing your pothos in water long-term. Adjust the pH if necessary to prevent issues with your plant.
2 Common Problems
1.) Algae Growing in Water Vessel
Algae growth is almost inevitable when growing a pothos in water. But don’t worry- it won’t cause significant harm to your plant. When refreshing the water, take some time to clean the water vessel using organic dish soap and gently rinse off any algae buildup on your pothos’ roots.
We do not recommend using chemicals such as chlorine to treat algae. But, if dish soap does not remove all the buildup, you can try to use harsher materials such as chlorine. However, the growth of algae should be manageable if you clean the vessel frequently.
2.) Pothos’ Roots Are Turning Brown or Black
Brown or black roots are most often a sign of rot. If this happens to your plant, you will need to take some sterilized scissors and cut off any infected part of the roots.
Root rot will most likely come from overfeeding or lack of oxygen. Please refresh the water at least once every two weeks to prevent drowning in the roots. Only add a few drops of fertilizer to your water to prevent root burn from fertilizers.
Can Pothos Live In Water Forever?
When given the proper care, yes, pothos can grow in water indefinitely. If it has access to sufficient nutrients, oxygen, and moisture- your plant will continue to grow.
Can You Grow a Big Pothos In Water?
Even though Pothos may grow slower when grown in water, it will eventually get big. You can plant multiple cuttings in the same vessel to create a bigger, fuller, and healthy Pothos.
How Fast Will Pothos Grow In Water?
Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.