1. African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)
Growing African violet leaves in water is usually a good way to create a clone of the parent plant. However, some multicolor violets will yield plants with solid color flowers.
Choose young, healthy African violet leaves to start new plants. Cut the leaf with about two inches of stem, and place the leaf in a narrow-necked bottle that keeps the leaf suspended and dry.
Roots take about a month to form. Over time a tiny plantlet will form, complete with its own crown.
2. Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii)
Baby’s tears plants produce a myriad of tiny leaves on creeping plants that form a dense yet delicate trailing mat.
Pinch off a cluster of stems, with or without roots, and watch how easily this plant adapts to growing in water. Because baby’s tears plants grow so many leaves along their stems, leaves that are constantly submerged may begin to rot.
Change the water weekly to remove any leaves floating in the water, and allow the water level to drop once roots are well-formed.
3. Begonia (Begonia spp.)
The thick, succulent stems of begonias are very forgiving when harvesting the stems to grow in water.
Practice with hardy wax begonias, which have very knobby leaf nodes that form roots easily. Even the fancy rex begonias and tuberous begonias will grow in water, and only a single leaf is necessary to start a whole new plant.
Roots can take a couple of months to form, and it’s wise to perform weekly water changes to prevent bacteria that can lead to rot.
4. Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides)
With many new coleus varieties hitting the market each spring, it’s easy to design an entire garden around this tropical plant’s colorful leaves.
As coleus plants have grown in popularity, their prices have increased accordingly. Still, coleus plants are easy to propagate and grow in water, allowing you to create a colony of handsome plants.
Take a six-inch cutting and remove the leaves from the bottom four inches. Place the cutting in a glass or vase of water, and you will see roots begin to form in several weeks.
Adding a bit of compost tea to the water during monthly changes will help your coleus plants thrive.
5. Impatiens (Impatiens spp.)
Impatiens are a standby for shady gardens, but sometimes it can be challenging to keep them moist enough. Impatiens can grow as marginal pond plants: that’s how much they adore the water.
Snip off a few stems at the end of the growing season, and overwinter them in a vase where they will root and grow as clones of the parent plant.
You’ll have a free supply of impatiens in the spring to plant in your shady garden.
6. Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
The hardy stalks of lucky bamboo can become a living centerpiece with no soil required.
Growers often train the stalks of lucky bamboo into spirals or woven shapes, and while these extensions don’t affect the plant’s ability to grow in water, plants can become very top-heavy and require more than just water to stay in place.
Surround your lucky bamboo with colorful gravel or rocks, adding to the ornamental value and providing some support.
7. Philodendron (Philodendron spp.)
Remember that trailing philodendron stem your mom had in the windowsill that seemed immortal? This ultra-easy houseplant is a no-fail introduction to growing plants in water.
An established philodendron won’t mind donating several of its stems to water cultivation, and they look charming scattered about in vases of different sizes and colors.
Philodendron plants thrive in all types of sunlight conditions, but if it seems as if there is more stem than leaf growth on your plants, brighter lighting will produce more leaves.
8. Spiderwort (Tradescantia zebrina)
Spiderwort plants, also called inch plant,, fill a color gap in the houseplant collection like no other low-care plant can. Both the zebra-striped variety and the purple-leafed cultivar are well-adapted to indoor living and make a handsome focal point in rooms with moderate light.
Look closely at the leaf nodes along a spiderwort stem, and you’ll see root nubs waiting to grow. Add some stems to a mason jar or vase of water, and you will soon have spiderwort babies to add to your collection.
Spiderwort is an aggressive grower and needs to be pruned regularly, especially when gown in a water-only medium. If left untended, the plant can grow top-heavy and topple out of its vase.
9. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
This trailing vine with pointed, heart-shaped green leaves hails from the South Pacific. Its leaves are sometimes variegated with white, yellow, or pale green striations.
Cut a length of pothos vine with three or four nodes. Remove the leaves on the lower part of the vine because any leaves left under the water will rot.
Pothos grows quickly; it can grow over a foot in a month.
10. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum)
Despite evergreen in its common name, it’s not an evergreen tree; it’s a tropical plant with floppy green leaves native to Asia and only grows in warmer climates.
To grow it in water, use a sterilized pruner or snips to cut a healthy six-inch stem from a healthy Chinese evergreen plant. Place the cut end of the stem into water, and remove the bottom leaves that are under water. Roots should appear in three to four weeks.
Put the plant in indirect sunlight and change the water every three days or so when the water becomes dirty or cloudy.
Give the plant a few drops of water-soluble, liquid fertilizer monthly to encourage growth.
11. English Ivy (Hedera helix)
English ivy is a climbing vine that is an invasive species, growing easily anywhere (and in many ways). It’s prized for its evergreen leaves.
Ivy plant cuttings are easy to root in water, usually taking about two to three weeks for roots to appear. Trim off any bottom leaves and place your cutting in a jar on a well-lit window sill.
12. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Spider plant has long, spindly leaf blades, giving it its spidery name. Take cuttings or the plantlets from the plant. Spider plants make little tufted growths at the end of their stems. You can cut the plantlet from the stolon with clean, sharp scissors.
Cuttings root quickly. Change the water every three to five days. Add fertilizer to the water once a month. Keep the plant in bright, indirect light. Never let the leaves fall into the water. Roots should be the only submerged part of the plant. Add rocks to the bottom of the glass for roots to grab onto.
13. Dracaena (Dracaena or Cordyline spp.)
Take a stem cutting from an established, healthy dracaena. Keep only a few leaves at the top of the stem. Remove all leaves below the water line. Change the water every week, especially If you have a clear glass container; the light will encourage algae to grow. In 60 days, the plant will have developed a complete root system.
It prefers bright, indirect light and temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. During the growing season in spring and summer, give dracaena liquid fertilizer every two weeks at 1/4 the recommended strength on the package instructions.
14. Peace Lilly (Spathiphyllum spp.)
Peace lilies have large, glossy green leaves that bloom with a white spathe or “flag of surrender” sheath, hence its name.
You can use narrow vases to grow peace lilies in water, but you can also use a simple tall glass to suspend the base of the plant above the water but hold the stems in place at the mouth of the container. The base of the plant must be above the water, either by using a narrow-necked vase or a layer of small river rocks or pea gravel. The roots grow in the water, but the base of the plant and its leaves can’t be constantly wet, which can cause rot.
Unroot the plant from its pot, and clean off the roots with running water. Submerge the plant in water up to the roots only. Replace the water as the water line goes down. Completely change the water once every two weeks.
Place the plant in a spot that gets bright, indirect light. Fertilize the plant with hydroponic fertilizer, a few drops during water changes. Ideal temperatures for the plant are 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
15. Pancake Plant (Pilea peperomioides)
Also called the Chinese money plant or coin plant for its attractive coin-shaped foliage, the pancake plant is easy to care for and grow in water.
You can transfer an established plant with roots into a container with water or take a stem cutting and submerge the newly cut stem into the water. The stem will form roots after several weeks.
To replace the nutrients the plant is missing from soil or rainwater, give the plant houseplant or hydroponics fertilizer once a month. Change the water every two weeks or sooner if the water appears murky.
16. Lotus (Nelumbo spp.)
Lotus flowers are a marvel to behold, round and centered around a radial notch, appearing to float above the water’s surface.
The plant’s root structure grows below the muddy surface, sending a stem above the water’s surface. You can replicate this growing method using a dwarf lotus plant in a shallow, six-inch bowl with pea gravel as the substrate to hold down the rhizome (root).
Provide hydroponic nutrients during the regular growing season; stop fertilizer during the dormant months (winter). Change the water every few weeks when it looks like it’s about to get murky.
The plant can survive in bright, full sun, with temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below freezing can kill the plant.
17. Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)
Rosemary takes two to six weeks to root in water. Take six-inch cuttings from new growth, place the bottom of the stem in water (remove the leaves below the water line), and place the plant in a bright window. Refresh the water daily or every few days.
For long-term growth in water, rosemary will need hydroponic fertilizer.
18. Mint (Mentha spp.)
Mint is such a vigorous grower; it will root within ten days. Take stem cuttings, remove all the lower leaves, and place the bottom half of the stems in water. Change the water and wash the glass once a week.
Place the plant in a bright window. You can maintain mint this way for some time with occasional drops of hydroponic fertilizer.
19. Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia spp.)
Dieffenbachia has large pointed, oval-shaped leaves with green, cream, and white striations, with large, thick stems. They are easy to grow in water.
When cultivated in water, they don’t grow as quickly as they do in soil, but with fertilizer every few weeks during the growing season, they will grow beautifully.
Grow it in indirect, bright light and maintain it in an environment between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You will need to change the water every few weeks and rinse the roots off, removing any algae growth.
20. Arrowhead Vine (Syngonium podophyllum)
Arrowhead vine grows year-round as a houseplant. Its leaf structure changes as it matures, growing from a simple arrow shape to a deeply lobed leaf. Its leaf colors range from dark green and white to lime green and bright pink.
Arrowhead plants can easily grow in water. Clip a mature, healthy stem below a node, which appears like a bump on the stem. Put the cut end in the water. Roots will start growing within weeks.
Change the water once a week, place the plant in bright, indirect light, and keep it in a room between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
21. Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas)
Sweet potato vines produce leaves that are heart-shaped, deeply lobed, or lacy, occasionally producing darling morning glory-like flowers.
You can grow roots from a stem cutting placed in water or half-suspend the tuber (root structure) with its pointy end down, using toothpicks around the rim of the jar to prop up the top half of the tuber above the water. Roots can form within ten days to two weeks.
Keep the water level constant. Refill the water every few weeks to discourage algae, mold, or bacteria from growing.
22. Paperwhite Narcissus (Narcissus papyraceus)
Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) are popular indoor plants for winter with their clusters of very fragrant, white blooms.
Forcing them to bloom indoors is as easy as putting the bulbs in a water dish with some stones or marbles to anchor them. Position the paperwhite bulbs with the pointed end up on top of the stone layer. Add another layer of stones to fill in any gaps and nearly cover the bulbs. The pointed tip of the bulbs should still be showing. Tight spacing is fine. Paperwhites not only look better in a group, but the tight fit will provide support and help keep them from toppling over.
Paperwhites will bloom for a week or two before fading. The flowers will last longer in a cooler spot with dappled light.
23. Caladium (Caladium spp.)
Caladium has beautiful, colorful, shield-like leaves that can be variegated, stippled, or striped in shades of pinks, whites, reds, greens, and purples.
To grow them in water, remove the entire plant gently from its pot and clean off all soil from the roots. Use a clean sharp knife or scissors to divide the tubers on the petiole. Place the plant’s roots and stems into a jar or vase filled with fresh, non-chlorinated water. Place the vessel in an area with partial to full shade; full sun can burn the foliage. As a South American understory plant, it only needs dim, indirect light.
Change the water weekly and feed the plant water-soluble plant food every four to six weeks.
24. Stingray Alocasia (Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’ )
Stingray alocasia hails from the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. It looks somewhat similar to Alocasia zebrina but has leaves that are more in the shape of a stingray body.
Remove the alocasia from its container and wash the soil off the roots. Submerge only the roots in water. Change the water every week and provide it with indirect sunlight. Feed the plant with water soluble fertilizer every three weeks.
25. Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa)
Ti plant, also called the good luck plant, can easily grow in water, with roots forming in about two weeks.
Take a five- to eight-inch cutting from a healthy plant. Remove the bottom leaves, and put the cutting in a clean glass jar or vase with some pebbles and fill it with non-chlorinated water. Place the plant near bright, filtered sunlight. The cuttings will form roots in 10-14 days. Give the plant water-soluble fertilizer every three weeks.
26. Sweetheart Hoya (Hoya kerrii)
These Valentine’s Day sweetheart plants have gained their name for their thick, heart-shaped leaves.
To cultivate these plants in water, take a five- to ten-inch cutting from a healthy, established plant with at least two nodes (bumps along the stem) and about five to six leaves. Add a few drops of fertilizer to the water once a month, or use a foliar fertilizer sprayed on the leaves.
Keep the plant in indirect sunlight; the bright sun can burn its leaves. Keep the plant warmer than 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Any colder and the plant can fail. Don’t let the temperature become hotter than 75 degrees Fahrenheit for a sustained length of time.
27. Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis spp.)
Growing these stunning tropical beauties in water can sometimes be much easier than figuring out how much water they need when growing in traditional orchid growing medium. The key to growing orchids in water is that only part of the root system is in water. Orchids need their roots to dry out somewhat.
Remove the plant from its container and remove all growing medium from its roots. If the roots are tangled, gently tease them apart and remove any diseased or damaged roots. In a clean vessel, add enough non-chlorinated water to cover 1/2 to 2/3 of the orchid’s roots. The leaves must be kept dry.
Sometimes, when growing an orchid in water, you can have the roots sit above the water line and let them grow into the water.
Replenish the water, keeping it at a constant level. Change the water once every week or two. Provide a very weak dose of fertilizer with every water change, but only for a few hours, then change out the water again.
Orchids might need supports and ties to keep their stems upright.
28. Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
Prayer plants are native to Brazil, growing beautifully in the understory of the rainforest. It loves humidity and protection from the strong sun.
Prayer plants can produce roots when a stem cutting is placed in water and it will probably produce foliage. Feed the water-grown plants with a water soluble hydroponic fertilizer every three weeks to provide the nutrients it needs. Change the water every two to three weeks.
The ideal growing environment for a prayer plant is in moist. well-draining soil.
29. Monstera (Monstera deliciosa)
Monsteras produce beautiful showy leaves filled with dramatic splits and holes called fenestrations.
To grow them in water, take a stem cutting with several nodes and leaves and place the cut end of the stem in a tall and narrow vessel filled with non-chlorinated water.
They prefer bright indirect light for several hours a day, but keep them out of direct sunlight because it can burn the leaves and encourage algae growth in the water.
Top off any water that evaporates and change the water every three to five days. Clean the roots once a month and clip away any brown or rotting roots. Use hydroponic fertilizer to feed your monstera once or twice a month.
30. Aluminum Plant (Pilea cadierei)
Pilea cadierei, also called the aluminum plant or watermelon pilea, is an Asian native species of flowering plant in the nettle family.
You can transfer an established plant with roots into a container with water or take a stem cutting and submerge the newly cut stem into the water. The stem will form roots after several weeks.
To replace the nutrients the plant is missing from soil or rainwater, feed the plant with hydroponic fertilizer once a month. Change the water every two weeks or sooner if the water appears murky.
31. Diffenbachia (Dieffenbachia)
Dieffenbachia is a fast-growing tropical plant that can grow two feet tall in one year when propagated from a cutting. However, in a water-only medium, the plant rarely reaches max height.
Remove the plant from its container and wash the soil off the roots. Fill a container part way with non-chlorinated water, and submerge the roots in water. It’s fine if the base of the plant touches the water. Change the water every week and place the vessel in indirect sunlight
Dieffenbachia likes a partial sun exposure and will grow well in the middle of the room on a coffee table or in any room in your home with filtered sunlight.
Change dieffenbachia’s water regularly to refresh its oxygen content. Remove any leaves that fall into the vase.
Dieffenbachia can easily be repotted when it grows out of its vessel—simply move the plant to a bigger vase.
32. Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
Croton’s speckled leaves make it an interesting addition to your hydroponic garden. It can also be grown outdoors in the right environment.
Croton likes direct sunlight from a nearby window, so make sure to grow it in a south- or west-facing window of your home. Change a croton’s water regularly, and make sure to give it a light fertilization every few weeks.
Croton is finicky about temperature and like things warm. Make sure to grow it in a room above 60 degrees Fahrenheit that is free of drafts.
33. Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
Fiddle leaf fig is a tropical plant that grows best in warm, wet conditions, making it perfect for a soilless vase.
Fiddle leaf fig likes bright, filtered sunlight and needs to be turned every few days so that all leaves receive consistent sun exposure. If it’s not rotated, it tends to lean towards one side, usually the side with more sun.
This plant’s large leaves make it top-heavy, so make sure the vase or jar you use is extremely sturdy.
34. String of Hearts (Ceropegia)
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String of hearts is a popular ground cover that can also be cultivated in a water-only medium indoors.
Filtered sunlight will allow your string of hearts to grow abundantly and produce magenta flowers. So, place this plant near a window, out of direct sunlight.
String of hearts grown in soil dislikes overwatering, so make sure that only the roots of the plant are submerged in water to prevent rotting. Change the water every two weeks and regularly provide a diluted liquid fertilizer.