41 Plants That Grow in Water Indefinitely
Don’t like getting your hands dirty? You don’t have to when growing plants in water. Houseplant expert Madison Moulton lists 41 plants you can grow in water indoors indefinitely without worrying about watering.
If you’re an indoor gardener tired of getting your hands dirty when caring for your plants, I’ve got the perfect solution.
We all know you can root cuttings in water, but few consider leaving them in the water long-term rather than transplanting them into soil. Hydroponic houseplants eliminate the need for soil indoors and take the stress out of the watering process while turning your cuttings into stunning decorative features.
Not all houseplants can grow in water permanently, but many can. Choose a few plants on this list to start your hydroponic houseplant collection.
Swiss Cheese Plant
One of the best houseplants to grow with this method, for both looks and ease of care, is the classic Monstera deliciosa. The large and tropical leaves are often cut for use in vases, but if you take a full cutting with some roots attached, you can enjoy the foliage indefinitely.
I like to take cuttings from larger plants every few months to keep in vases, continuously expanding my collection of hydroponic monsteras. Don’t forget to trim the roots back once they fill the vase, as the cuttings will grow rapidly in the right conditions.
Swiss Cheese Vine
This delicious monster relative is another candidate for this growing method. Rather than remaining stiff and upright like larger Monstera deliciosa leaves, Monstera adansonii vines will cascade down the side of a vase and make an interesting pairing with other vining houseplants.
The benefit of keeping these adorable plants in water is that you can cut the vines to perfectly fit any container, as long as the original plant is large enough. Giving them plenty of bright indirect light will ensure any new leaves have the characteristic holes we all look forward to.
The heartleaf philodendron is a beginner houseplant staple beloved for its easy care. A few adjustments, like a dash of fertilizer in the water and a clean vase, will allow the glossy leaves to shine.
It’s best to take cuttings from an established plant rather than transplanting from soil to water to prevent rot. Using sharp shears, cut the stem right below a node (the bump in the stem where the leaf emerges) and root for long-term growth.
Similar in appearance to the heartleaf philodendron, this species has risen in popularity to become one of the most sought-after philodendrons of them all. The deep burgundy and green leaves are appreciated for their color and texture, like shimmering velvet in the sunlight.
Like the other vining species, cut the vine below a node and pop into a vase to root. The stems of this species are much thinner than the previous two mentions, so you may need to use a vase with a narrow neck to hold the vines in place.
A few years ago, you couldn’t go anywhere without spotting one of the many eye-catching pothos varieties. Today, there are even more to choose from, making it incredibly difficult to decide which to grow.
Luckily, you don’t need to choose just one. You can create your own Franken-pothos by grouping a few cuttings from different species in the same vase. Once the roots are intertwined, you’ll have a stunning centerpiece bound to make other houseplant collectors jealous.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
If you follow any houseplant community boards online, you’ve likely seen the impressive leaves of the fiddle leaf fig growing in water. Individual leaves produce long roots that keep the leaf lush and green, making for an interesting display.
Unfortunately, growing a single leaf won’t propagate the fiddle leaf to give you a brand-new plant. However, these leaves will survive in water in the right conditions if you’re happy to keep them on display long-term.
Hoyas are commonly known as wax plants for their thick and waxy leaves, along with their interesting sticky clusters of flowers. Hoya carnosa is one of the most common species to grow indoors, not in small part because it is wonderfully low-maintenance and beginner-friendly.
The vines of these plants will happily grow in water as long as you keep the water and the vase itself clean. They are unlikely to flower in a vase, so stick to growing in soil if the blooms are what you’re after.
Another easy-to-grow member of the Hoya genus, Hoya bella is (by definition) a beautiful addition to any houseplant collection. The pointed leaves add a sense of structure to the naturally cascading or climbing vines, topped off by their adorable clusters of flowers.
Hoya bella is a more compact species, ideal for keeping in smaller spaces. Choose a shorter vase and give the vines plenty of indirect light to help them grow to their full potential.
Aglaonema are perfect houseplants for foliage lovers. The large and patterned leaves make quite a statement indoors, especially when their roots are visible through a decorative vase. If you want to add a pop of color without the hassle of growing in soil (or opting for the disappointing alternative of fake plants), Chinese evergreen is the answer.
Their tolerance of lower light makes these plants suitable for less bright rooms with smaller or north-facing windows. Choose a vase with a narrow neck to stop the leaves from drooping into the water.
Despite the ‘monstera’ in the common name, the mini monstera is not a monstera at all. It is scientifically known as Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, quite a mouthful compared to the common name. With unique splits and holes like monsteras, this vine is an eye-catching addition to any vase.
The stems of this plant can become quite thick, so choose a vase that will accommodate a few thicker vines at once. The more cuttings you root, the fuller your display will look.
The snake plant is the perfect beginner houseplant, often labeled as almost impossible to kill. It can handle multiple lighting conditions, doesn’t require much watering, and thrives even when neglected. To add to the long list of benefits, it’s also possible to root individual leaves in water to grow long-term.
I typically cut the leaves into several sections when rooting snake plants for propagation. However, when the leaves are on display, I like to keep them long for taller displays. Since they often fall over (thanks to their impressive height), place a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the vase to keep the leaves upright.
The spider plant is another beginner-friendly houseplant that is also pet-safe and great for keeping around prying paws without worry. Well, besides the worry of a vase being knocked over.
Spider plants produce small plantlets or babies on arching stems that can easily be removed to root and grow in water. Since they start small, you must choose your vase carefully or hold them up with plastic wrap to keep the leaves dry. Remove the supports once the strappy foliage is long enough to anchor outside the glass.
For luxurious texture and unique color indoors, satin pothos checks all the boxes. This species is related to the classic pothos (Epipremnum aureum) but is technically from a different genus, Scindapsus. Ease of care and growth habits are the same, making them ideal for growing in water.
Satin pothos vines are quite malleable and may fall out of shorter vases, exposing the roots to the air. To keep them upright, you can use clear tape to create a lattice on the vase opening, popping a vine into each gap.
Anthuriums are known for their unique spadix flowers surrounded by a colorful and waxy, modified leaf. The traditional red is always a standout, but thanks to the expertise of growers, there are cultivars available in almost any color you could hope for.
Rather than cutting individual anthurium blooms for the vase, you can cut part of the stem for a long-term display of foliage and flowers. Since growing in water isn’t natural for these plants, you’ll need to add fertilizer to the water regularly if you want them to flower.
Pink Princess Philodendron
When I think of famous rare houseplants, ‘Pink Princess’ is the first to come to mind, with the variegated monstera a close second. Although this philodendron is not quite rare anymore thanks to its online popularity, it still stands out from the crowd with stunning pink variegation.
Like other philodendrons, ‘Pink Princess’ will grow in water long-term with a bit of extra feeding. Also, give them plenty of bright indirect light to improve color.
Split Leaf Philodendron
Another confusing common name, Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum, is not technically a philodendron but looks like one. I like to display the leaves of this houseplant in a similar way to monstera leaves – especially the larger ones – to really fill out a vase.
When cutting to grow in water to grow long-term, you can’t remove single leaves at any point on the stem. You need to include a node (the bumps in the stems), as these are the points where roots will develop from. Cut just below a node with sharp shears for quick root growth.
Peperomias are one of my favorites of all the houseplants beloved by collectors. With such impressive variety between different species within the genus, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy.
Many peperomia species are quite small, so it’s best to choose a larger species to root in a vase. Watermelon peperomia is a great example. You can grow smaller species like the ripple peperomia as long as the vase is small enough to stop the individual leaves from falling below the water line.
Begonias are garden staples both indoors and out. If the uniquely patterned and colorful leaves aren’t convincing enough, you’ll certainly want one when you spot their adorable flowers. Begonias are reliable bloomers indoors, even when grown in water rather than soil.
Although they are classified as shade plants outdoors, they need an extra boost of light indoors to flower successfully. Place your vase in an area with plenty of bright indirect light, and don’t forget to feed.
Africa violets can seem like intimidating houseplants to grow, but they aren’t difficult to manage if you know their quirks. They’re so versatile that you can also grow them in water alone.
A single African violet leaf can be trimmed and rooted, eventually producing a small pup that will be happy to grow in water for a while. Just keep the leaves out of the water if you want to prevent rot.
You could be forgiven for mistaking prayer plants for fake foliage, considering how unreal the leaves look. Their glossy texture is one unique element, made even more unbelievable by the symmetrical patterns that look like they were painted on.
A prayer plant in a pot will steal the show, but there is something about growing them in water that makes the leaves stand out even more. Give them enough light to maintain their color and upright growth habits indoors.
Polka Dot Plant
The polka dot plant is another great choice for a pop of color, especially if you love pink. They are named for their spotty, mottled leaves in shades of pastel pink, almost neon pink, green, and creamy white.
Polka dot plants appreciate high humidity and have relatively thin leaves that wilt quickly. This may be a struggle for forgetful waterers to manage in soil, but you won’t have to worry about missing a water session when using this method. Trim long stems and remove the leaves below the water line to prevent rot.
Nerve plants are often paired with polka dot plants for their similar growth and lush leafy forms. But they are easy to tell apart with a quick look at the patterns on the leaves. While polka dot plants have dotted leaves, Fittonia has contrasting veins that resemble the nervous system from which they take their name.
The stems don’t grow as tall as other plants on this list, so it’s best to keep them in a shorter vase to stop the leaves from falling in.
The adorable Soleirolia soleirolii is named baby’s tears for the tiny leaves clustered along spreading vines. The leaves are so small they almost look like moss and make a wonderful ground cover but look even better as a houseplant.
Since the vines are thin and delicate, it can be hard to keep them inside a vase to grow in water. Take a tip from hydronic growers and use a medium like polystyrene with several holes to keep the vines in place.
Commonly known as arrowhead vines, syngoniums are vigorous growers. They can become invasive when planted outdoors in certain climates but will happily grow indoors when confined to a pot (or, in this case, a vase).
The classic green arrowhead vine will quickly fill out a vase, making a great centerpiece. However, if you’re looking for something more unique, choose one of the colorful cultivars like ‘Neon.’
English ivy has a wonderfully traditional look, with leaves that stand out from any other houseplants you may already have in your collection. The vines are known for their rapid growth that, while problematic outdoors, becomes a great asset indoors.
The vines will hang wonderfully over the side of a glass when rooted in water. But if you want to keep them upright, place the glass near a structure that the vines can climb along. You can also purchase wall clips for the vines to sprawl along in any pattern you choose.
Swedish ivy is a member of the Plectranthus genus, surprisingly not related to the traditional English ivy. This shade-lover is often grown as a houseplant, appreciating indoor conditions and growing quickly with little attention.
The vines can become quite long in the right environment (I’ve had one hanging vine almost reach the floor). This requires regular trimming to keep them tidy. But don’t get rid of any of those cuttings – pop them in a glass of water to grow long-term. They will survive for several months, even without an additional dose of fertilizer, as long as the leaves don’t drop into the water.
Tradescantia doesn’t have the best reputation among gardeners. It’s typically considered a troubling weed that should be avoided outdoors. But some species have stolen the hearts of houseplant growers, such as the popular Tradescantia zebrina, also known as the inch plant.
Inch plant cuttings root quickly in water and will be happy to stay there as long as they get a few drops of added nutrients. The purple leaves are great for pairing with green vines (like the previous Swedish ivy) in the same container.
When it comes to growing in water long-term, ZZ plants are usually not recommended. These plants grow from rhizomes, preferring propagation by division over rooting in water.
However, I have tried growing a few cuttings in water and was surprised to find they lived happily in the vase for several months. Small rhizomes developed at the bottom of each cutting, and only one cutting rotted before it could develop roots. The process takes several months, but it’s worth a try if you love ZZ Plants.
Chinese Money Plant
With the cutest pancake leaves and unique growth habit, it’s easy to see why the Chinese money plant has exploded in popularity. They are also great candidates for growing in water, particularly if you spot a few plantlets primed for rooting.
When you see a baby Chinese money plant pop up through the soil, remove it from the parent plant and place it in a small vase. Once growth improves, you can transplant into a slightly larger vase for long-term growth in water.
The aluminum plant is part of the same genus as the Chinese money plant – Pilea – but looks completely different. The leaves are pointed rather than rounded and have a metallic silver pattern (hence the common name).
The stems of this species remain relatively upright in the right conditions, perfect for growing in a taller vase. I would take several cuttings to root at once for a fuller display, helping the glossy silver and green leaves to shine.
While many mistake it for true bamboo, lucky bamboo is actually a member of the Dracaena genus. A symbol of good fortune and prosperity, the stalks can be trained into various shapes, making it a dynamic centerpiece for any room.
It’s also an ideal plant for growing in shallow water with the right vase. They don’t require much attention beyond clean water and plenty of light. To expand your collection, snip off the top and pop it into some water to continue growing.
Jade plant is a favorite for indoor growth thanks to its tolerance of lower light compared to other succulent plants. The plump, oval-shaped leaves and woody stems create an excellent shape, often compared to bonsai trees. They are also known as money plants, believed to bring their owners success in Feng Shui.
While they typically thrive in well-draining soil, jade plants can be trained to grow hydroponically with a little extra care. After removing a cutting, allow the stem to develop a callous before popping in water, and keep the water line low. Continually topping up and giving them plenty of sunlight will encourage root growth in water, allowing them to grow in a glass long-term.
You won’t find a more classic and beginner-friendly houseplant than the peace lily, often given as a gift on special occasions for its symbolism. Although the glossy green leaves make a wonderful houseplant, it’s the flowers that these plants are really known for.
Since peace lilies can’t be grown from cuttings, you’ll need to divide an existing plant to root a small section in water. When dividing, choose the section with fewer or shorter roots to make the transition to water growth easier.
String of Hearts
String of hearts is another succulent typically grown indoors and gifted on romantic holidays thanks to its heart-shaped leaves. The long vines can be left to cascade around the sides of a vase or guided into a specific shape based on the look you’re after.
Because the leaves and stems are so tiny, it’s best to group several cuttings together in one vase. Also, keep the container in bright light for most of the day to prevent any stretching in the stems.
Coleus is usually considered an outdoor ornamental rather than an indoor plant. However, their love of shade means they will grow happily indoors in bright, indirect light. And, to take the worries out of container growing, you can simply root a few of your coleus cuttings in water to keep indoors.
One of the great benefits of keeping these leafy plants in a vase is their impressive color. There are so many unique coleus cultivars that you’re bound to find one you love. You might even group a few together in the same vase as you would in a sprawling bed outdoors.
Sweet Potato Vine
A favorite for its vibrant and lush foliage, the sweet potato vine is typically grown as an annual due to its limited tolerance for cold weather. However, you can eliminate these concerns by keeping the vines indoors and in a vase where conditions are easier to control.
Sweet potato vines rooted in water make wonderful home décor, especially around holidays like Thanksgiving. Given the slender nature of the stems, it’s best to group a few together (perhaps of different colors) to create a fuller display.
Next, we move from the world of cuttings to bulbs. One of the most popular bulbs to grow indoors is the gorgeous hyacinth. You can enjoy their blooms slightly out of season and much closer to home. Specialized glasses allow the bulb to sit out of the water and the roots to grow below without using pebbles.
To get your hyacinths to bloom at the right time, you’ll need to chill them for several weeks first. Place them in a mesh bag in your refrigerator or in a cool room in your home. Bring them out later to root in water and enjoy their flowers.
Paperwhite narcissus is another bulb commonly grown indoors, thanks to its preference for warm conditions. Simply place the bulbs on a layer of pebbles and fill the container with water so the water line just touches the bottom of the bulbs. Continually top up with water while waiting for green growth to emerge.
These bulbs create a stunning indoor display, especially when planted in groups. This is the perfect solution if you haven’t decided on your holiday décor yet.
A staple in many kitchens, basil is present in so many dishes it’s well worth growing in your indoor garden. Growing a few cuttings in water for regular harvesting is a no-brainer for those who appreciate the plant’s looks, scent, and flavor.
To boost the ornamental value, choose a unique cultivar like ‘Purple Petra,’ with unique leaves bound to catch the eye. Also, place the plant in full sun and top up the water often as it evaporates.
If you’re interested in regrowing grocery store scraps, green onions are an ideal candidate for growing in water. If the white stalk and occasionally bulbous base has a few roots attached to it, you can pop the plant into a glass with shallow water.
To harvest, simply trim back the leaves as you need them with clean scissors. They will continue to grow back again and again, providing an almost endless supply of delicious garnish.
Mint is another herb ideal for growing in water. This plant comes with a range of uses that make it worthwhile to grow indoors. Harvest the leaves for savory and sweet dishes, dry them to make homemade tea, or leave them in the vase to enjoy the aromatic and ornamental value.
Mint is known for its aggressive growth outdoors. If you don’t want to manage its spread continuously, growing indoors and in water is the perfect form of control without maintenance.
Growing houseplants in water is a great alternative to soil for low-maintenance gardeners who want to take the stress out of watering. But be warned – once you try a few of these plants, it’s hard not to get addicted.