Most of the times, you will find indoor plants being grown in soil.
While there is nothing wrong with plants in soil, having water plants can add to the decor and save you some time and effort in maintaining these.
The method of growing plants without soil is called Hydroponics.
There are two methods to do this – active hydroponics and passive hydroponics.
- Active hydroponics is a method of growing plants using nutrient mineral-rich solutions in water.
- Passive hydroponics is a method of growing plants in an inorganic solid medium like clay pebbles or perlite. This method uses two pots. The inner pot is for plant and clay pebbles while the outer pot has water.
Indoor Water Plants that are Easy to Maintain
Let me now tell you the best indoor water plants that you can keep in your houses or offices.
For each plant, I have covered how to grow it and take care of it.
GOLDEN POTHOS PLANT
Pothos is also called money plant.
It is also called devils ivy as its a strong plant and can grow even when kept in the dark. In my experience, this is one of the hardest plants to kill (not that I am out there to kill it!). It can withstand extreme neglect and harsh conditions.
Apart from adding to the decor, the money plant reduces harmful substances from the indoor air and gives out the oxygen (even during the night).
Growing Pothos (Money plant)
It is very easy to grow money plant from an existing money plant. It is also called rooting.
- Cut a stem with three nodes on it. Nodes are points from where the leaves grow. You can take plants with more nodes but take care that the stem is delicate and cannot stand lots of weight.
- Cut from just below a nodal point.
- Remove one or two leaves near the cut point
- Take a glass container. Prefer a dark or tinted one with a thin neck to support the stem.
- Put water and liquid fertilizer and add the stem. Cut end should be immersed in water.
- You will see roots appearing in 2-3 weeks time.
While I recommend having some liquid fertilizer or minerals in the water, even if you use tap water and put the money plant in it, it will grow and thrive.
How to Take Care of Pothos (Money plant)
- Keep checking for water level. Refill when it goes down.
- Keep in the indirect filtered light. Replace the water every week (recommended, although it can grow even if you don’t change the water).
- This plant can sustain in water for a long time giving healthier foliage.
- If algae growth appears, clean the container thoroughly and replace the entire solution.
- If the roots are overgrown, replace the plant in a larger vase.
ENGLISH IVY PLANT
It is also called European ivy or common ivy.
It grows fast and is an invasive plant. It is also called as a rapid climber.
Roots develop quickly along the stems. It is an ornamental plant and helps remove formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the air.
Growing English Ivy
English ivy grows quickly. One vine can be cut into multiple stems resulting in many new plants in a short time
- Cut a four-inch-long stem. It should have 4 to 5 nodes. Make sure to make a clean cut.
- Make sure the cut is just below a leaf below the triangular areas protruding from the stem.
- Remove the leaves from where the cut is made
- Take a dark glass container and add liquid fertilizer plus water.
- Make sure the cut part is in submerged in water whereas the leaves are above the rim of the container.
- Keep it near an area of direct sunlight.
- Soon in a few weeks, you will see roots forming.
Taking Care of English Ivy
It is difficult to soil English ivy once it’s rooted in water. It’s best to transfer it into a larger vase with water once the roots grow big.
It is poisonous to cats/dogs.
It is an invasive climber. Be ready for a lot of space and a stand for the creeper to climb on.
Philodendrons are green leafy plants which grow in various shapes and sizes. They are super easy to grow in water and can stay in the water for life.
They require very less light. They grow very well year-long indoors. They are of two types, vining philodendron which needs a poll to climb and non-vining philodendron which grow spreading outwards. This increases the width of the plant.
How to Grow Philodendron
Philodendrons can be grown from an existing plant by taking stems
- Take 6-inch long stem. Cut right below the leaf point.
- Make a smooth cut. Remove the leaves
- Make sure at least 2 nodes are devoid of leaves.
- Take a water solution. Keep it for a day in an open container if chlorinated.
- Keep the cut part in water and leaves part above water.
- Use an opaque container to avoid too much light into the roots
- Change the water every three days
- After about 10 days roots will start to appear
- Keep it away from direct sunlight. Preferably near the filtered light. You can also keep this in shade.
Taking Care of Philodendron
Philodendrons do not experience much stress when moved from outdoors to indoors.
It is easy to care for the plant and very hard to kill since it can adapt and survive in all environments.
Small leaves and slow growth means it needs added fertilizer.
WANDERING JEW PLANT
It is also called as tradescantia zebrina or Inch plant. It is famous for its rapid growth.
New roots are formed wherever the stem touches the ground. It has beautiful zebra pattern leaves with green, silver, and purple color. It is an invasive plant and forms a mat-like structure on the floor.
How to Grow Wandering Jew Plant
Propagating works very well with wandering jew plant because of its thick stems
- Water the plant one day before taking the cutting. It will avoid stress to the plant.
- Cut six inch from just above a node
- Make a clean cut
- If possible take the section that contains a growing tip
- Remove leaves from the bottom half of the cut edge
- Make sure there are 2 nodes on the stem which has leaves
- Place the leafless bottom half from the cut side into a water plus fertilizer solution.
- Make sure the leaves are above the rim of the container.
- Avoid direct sunlight. keep in in filtered light.
- Roots will start to form in one to four weeks
- Once the roots become long, it is ready to be potted in soil.
Taking Care of Wandering Jew Plant
It is an invasive species. Its stems take root when they touch the ground.so it has to be manipulated and maintained.
Keeping charcoal will help remove any odor which is a bit common in this plant.
If the stem starts to rot, change the solution, clean the jar and attempt again with fresh cuttings.
LUCKY BAMBOO PLANT
Lucky bamboos are one of the few plants which can be grown and kept in water permanently.
They look beautiful aesthetically and hold cultural significance in many parts of Asia. It is a feng shui plant. They do not require much care and can grow very well indoors.
How to Grow Lucky Bamboo
Lucky bamboo is grown both hydroponically and in the soil.
It is available in the market grown in water in a glass jar with decorative beads, stones, gels, etc.
These are mostly tied up with a red ribbon. One may remove the ribbon and enjoy it as it is. The ribbon is mostly for cultural significance.
They come in bunches of five, six, nine, ten, etc. You can create your own lucky bamboo by propagation method mentioned below:
- Make sure to use a tall container to support the length of the plant. It can grow quite tall up to 3 feet. Go for a one feet high container.
- Make a clean cut from the offshoot above the nodal point.
- Remove leaves
- Use pebbles and stones to stabilize it in the glass container
- Do not use chlorinated water. Leave the water in an open container for 24 hours for the chlorine to dissipate in the air.
- Keep it in a place of bright indirect sunlight.
- It loves humidity. Better to switch off AC and leave it in humid conditions once you leave home.
- To encourage more roots, keep the water level high on the stalk.
How to Take Care of Lucky Bamboo
Change the water every week. It grows quickly so add fertilizer monthly.
The bamboo stalks are flexible and can be manipulated into a twisting, curving form with help of a change in light directions, wires etc. They are poisonous to pets. If the leaves turn yellow it is because of too much sunlight or fertilizer and if they turn brown, it means they require humidity.
CHINESE EVERGREEN PLANT
They are also called as aglaonema.
They are beautiful plants which grow in different shapes are colors.
They can survive in low light as well as indirect light. They purify the air by giving out high content oxygen and remove harmful toxins from the air.
How to Grow Chinese Evergreen
Its thick stem makes it a good candidate for growing it in water.
- Take a good colored glass container
- Add clay stones or gels. They help absorb water and air.
- Cut a stem from just below the nodes.
- Remove the leaves from the cut end.
- Add nutrient-rich water or you can also add fish food to the water. Place the plant with leaves over the rims.
- Place them in low light areas or indirect light
- They can be kept in cool temperatures or in humid areas.
- After a few weeks, roots will start to appear.
- Change water every week
Taking Care of Chinese Evergreen
Avoid direct sun as it will burn the plant.
Take care not to add too much fertilizer as it will injure the plant.
It is toxic to pets.
It is disease resistant and easy to maintain.
The Spider plant is one of the easiest to grow the adaptable plant.
It is so-called because of the shape of its leaves.
It is one of the house plants which can be grown in water for a long time. These plants can grow in plain water and need nutrients only when the roots form.
How to Grow Spider Plant
- Cut the plantlet from the stolen
- Keep it in a glass of water
- Keep changing the water every three days
- Make sure to use a non-chlorinated water
- Once the root is formed, remove the plant and place pebbles down in the container
- Add a water-soluble nutrient like fish food or liquid fertilizer to the water.
- Change water weekly to avoid salt build-up
- Add nutrients monthly
- Keep it in bright, indirect light
Taking Care of Spider Plant
Make sure the leaves do not submerge in water as that will cause them to rot and stem will turn limp. Use a pair of chopsticks or skewers to stop the leaves from falling into the water.
If you see the plant turning yellow, remove the plant and put it in the soil after washing off the roots.
Useful Tips to Manage Indoor Water Plants
- Avoid using a metal container as that can react with fertilizer.
- Avoid plastic bottles as growth is hampered and chances of algae are high
- In the case of rooting, when the roots become crowded, prune them
- You can add colorful fishes for aesthetics and they will remove the algae as well. Good examples would be a betta and Siamese fighting fish.
- In summers, it is better to change water weekly to avoid fungal infection.
- It is better to use well water or spring water as tap water in cities is full of chlorine and devoid of minerals.
- Make sure the bottle is clear and see-through so the roots get light.
- If you can afford a filter for oxygen to circulate inside the pot, it will help in the growth of the plant and ensure good oxygen levels.
- Keep checking for the water level and top up water when required.
- Adding too much fertilizer can kill the plant. Follow the instructions of the manufacturer.
- After boiling eggs, cool the water, strain and use the nutrition-rich water for the plants.
- You can add a little bit of soda to your water as it helps in growth.
- If your leaves look bit dull, wipe the leaves with a cotton cloth dipped in a mix of warm water and milk.
- To improve the shine on the leaves, rub a little mayonnaise with a paper towel.
- If only chlorinated tap water is available, then let the tap water sit in an open container for a day. The chlorine will dissipate into the atmosphere.
- Be very careful while adding liquid fertilizer as plants can directly absorb it in water so a little bit can be too much. Read the instructions carefully.
- The water-soluble nutrient can also be added like fish food. Be careful not to overdose. Try adding little by little to monitor results.
- If the roots overgrow, trim them or place them in bigger containers.
Advantages of Indoor Water Plants
- Overwatering and water logging is no longer an issue. When we plant in soil, the overwatering causes waterlogging. It cuts off oxygen to the roots leading to the death of the plant
- No pests and soil-borne diseases.
- No problem of under watering
- It doesn’t need water frequently
- It can be left on its own for quite some time.
- Less messy when compared to soil plants
- The roots are healthier than ones grown in soil. This leads to long-lasting plants
- There is no problem of weeding
- It is a stress-free and relaxing to grow plants in water.
- It gives excellent results in a short time.
Rooting Water Plants
For an Indoor houseplant, you can either root a plant by taking a cutting of the plant or you can use an already rooted plant.
Here is how to get started:
- Take any container. Preferably a dark opaque one as it prevents algae formation.
- Take a cutting from just below the leaf of the plant as that is where the plant’s rooting hormone is most active.
- Place the fresh segment in a thin neck bottle as that will support the stem of the plant
- If you want to add decoration, you can fill the container three fourth with pebbles, stones, pearl chips beads, etc.
- Adding small charcoal keeps the water clean. It prevents water from having a bad odor.
- You can use colorful fishes to prevent algae growth.
- Finally, mix the water with a water-soluble fertilizer according to the instructions of the fertilizers manufacturer and fill the container with water.
- Rooting of the plant will start at approximately, 2 weeks
- Add more water once the water level comes down. Approximately once per week.
- Remove the entire solution in four weeks and replace with a new solution
- Place the plant in a shaded area of indirect sunlight.
- If the water starts changing color, change the water entirely.
- Whenever you change the water, take out the entire plant & wash the whole plant under tap water.
- Keep the glass clean from inside.
Rooting a soil-rooted plant in Water
Some plants can be rooted in water as well as soil (such as money plant).
If you have plants that are already rooted in the soil and you want to shift them to water, here are the steps:
- In case of an already rooted plant in soil, remove it from the soil by digging around the margins of the pot to loosen the soil.
- Wash off all the soil completely from the roots. Cut off any dead or decayed stem or leaf.
- Follow the same procedures as above (described in ‘Rooting Water Plants’ section)
This is however not a good option. The best option for growing plants in water is by taking a cutting from an existing plant as plants may not adopt from soil to water.
Plants can, however, be shifted from water to soil easily (except for pothos). Pothos will not grow very well in soil once grown in water.
If you’re interested in knowing more about water plants, here are some interesting things I came to know while doing my research.
History of Indoor Water Plants
William Frederick Gericke is the father of water culture, hydroponics. He grew around 7.6 meters tall tomatoes in a nutrient-rich solution instead of soil. In 1937 he named his technique as hydroponics. Hydro is water and ‘ponos’ meaning labor.
Water Plants Being Called Future of Farming
In recent decades, NASA has done extensive research in hydroponics (growing plants in water) and they are intending to grow plants on Mars using this technique with LED lights.
It is also being called the future of farming.
In fact, the name “vertical farming” is coined because it allows plants to be grown in shelves or layers one above the other.
A hydroponic farm can be located on a terrace of any building in the urban area and it can supply fresh and hygienic crops to the surrounding areas.
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