Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), also known as devil’s ivy, is a trailing house plant with gorgeous, heart-shaped green leaves. The most common pothos variety, golden pothos, has golden and cream shades that make it a simple but standout houseplant.
But did you know…
Pothos is one of the easiest houseplants to propagate or grow in water!?
Yes, you read that right. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can easily grow your sturdy, low-maintenance pothos in water. I love growing houseplants this way, so read on for the pro tips in this post.
You’ll learn the following:
- How do you propagate your pothos plant in water?
- How long do you have to keep your pothos in water to thrive?
- What fertilizers should you use for your pothos, if any?
A Quick Primer on Plant Propagation
Propagation is the practice of creating new plants from already existing ones. It’s an easy, fast, and convenient way to grow plants.
To propagate a plant, you need one of its vegetative parts – stems, roots, leaves, and rhizomes. You use these cuttings and root them in soil or water, depending on the plant. Once fully grown and rooted, you have a fresh, new plant growing in your home!
Learning to make more of a plant always comes in handy. You’ll always have a supply of plants on hand that you can add to your collection, or — my favorite — give out to family and friends!
Does Growing Pothos Plants in Water Make Sense?
Devil’s Ivy is happy in soil, as conditions are perfect. But it can get overwhelming and out of control pretty quickly. You have to water them on a consistent schedule, choose the right location, and overall give them a decent amount of love.
If you grow your golden pothos in glass jars filled with water, you won’t need any pumps, special fertilizers, or drainage holes. On top of that, your plant won’t grow as fast, which keeps it more manageable and frees up space while still adding some greenery to your day.
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You need to remember that most plants don’t absolutely need soil to thrive – what they need is water and nutrients which they get from the soil. So, as long as you can provide those to your plant, you don’t really need to root your devil’s ivy cuttings in soil.
They grow easily in water as long as you provide them with sufficient sunlight and nutrients.
So, here are a few basic things that you’ll need:
- A water container (any vase or glass jar that can hold water will do)
- Tap water (unless it’s overly chlorinated)
- Liquid fertilizer to supply nutrients
How to Water Propagate Your Pothos
Now that you know what plant propagation is, let’s come back to our beloved pothos, a.k.a., devil’s ivy.
To grow pothos in water, take a healthy vine from an existing plant – avoid brown or yellowing leaves – and cut it right below a node. Make sure your chosen stem has at least 3 nodes. Remove all the leaves below the node. This is crucial to ensure that the leaves don’t decay underwater and suffocate the new roots.
You will see that your pothos cutting has little brown bumps forming along the vine near each node. These are aerial roots that will start to grow once you place your pothos vine in water.
Place your cutting in a vase full of clean water and ensure that at least one or two nodes of your pothos cuttings are submerged in water. Also, ensure that you pick a vine cutting that has at least two leaves to encourage quick growing pothos.
How long does it take pothos plants to root in water?
Place the vase in indirect sunlight in your home. New roots will sprout from the nodes submerged in water after 7-14 days or so. You can place the cutting in soil once your plant roots are an inch or two long, or you can grow pothos in water only.
If you decide to let it grow in water, pick a good quality liquid fertilizer to feed your plant. Make sure to fertilize your pothos plant growing in water every 4 to 6 weeks.
The amount of fertilizer you use can vary depending on the instructions on your fertilizer’s box and the size of your plant and jar. However, as a rule of thumb, it should never be more than a few drops. It’s always better to under fertilize than over fertilize when it comes to growing plants in jars of water. You don’t want any algae buildup, which happens as a result of nutrients + sunlight.
Place your growing pothos in front of north-facing window and use blinds to filter out some sunlight. Also, make sure you change the water every other week to make sure your plant remains fresh.
How to Keep Your Pothos Alive in Water?
You can’t just stick your cuttings in water, forget about them for months, and expect them to stay alive. Follow this checklist to ensure you keep a healthy pothos plant:
- Make sure to change the water in your containers every now and then – ideally, after a week or two at most – and add new water if required. Water eventually loses oxygen, and your pothos’ roots need oxygen to stay alive!
- Feeding your pothos is vital! Use a high quality liquid fertilizer to feed your new plant baby. You can also use a water-fertilizer mix – water with a few drops of liquid fertilizer to refill the containers as the existing water slowly evaporates.
- Keep your containers clean! If you have opted for a glass container and you see algae growing in it, instantly remove your plant and wash out the jar before placing your pothos back in it.
As long as you check it every so often, pothos vines will flourish in water. I followed these simple steps to grow my golden pothos in water without any difficulty whatsoever.
Things to Consider When Growing Pothos in Water
Choose an opaque vase if possible, as it will block more light and prevent algae growth. If you choose a clear vase, you’ll need to clean the inside of it more often.
Pothos plants can thrive in tap water, but don’t want it to be full of chlorine. To off-gas chlorine in your tap water, leave it out for at least 24 hours in an open container, then pour it into your vase.
Don’t use solid fertilizers when feeding your pothos plant. A liquid fertilizer is bioavailable to your plant’s roots immediately and gives it quick access to all of the nutrients it needs.
Does Pothos Grow Faster in Water or Soil?
In short – it depends. If you’re giving your plant a ton of nutrients in water, it should actually grow faster in water! But if you’re caring for a healthy pothos in soil and watering appropriately, it will probably match the growth rate of the water-planted pothos.
We already know that pothos can survive in water, but what about pothos that you grew in soil before? Will a plant that you grew in soil survive and thrive when you try to grow it in water?
In short – yes, although it may take some time to adjust. It will slow down if you transplant into water and you may see a leaf or two yellow and die off. It’s best to grow new pothos vines in water and let them grow in water forever instead of transplanting an existing soil plant into water.
However, if you can’t avoid changing the medium, make sure to thoroughly rinse off the soil before placing it in water. This will allow the stems and roots to be completely soil-free, preventing the risk of fungal infections.
Ensure that you don’t damage the roots during rinsing; it will hinder the plant’s adjustment to being in water. Also, before placing your plant in water, carefully prune out any roots that appear to be rotting – if you don’t, they will kill the other roots.
Once your pothos is in water, put a drop or two of hydrogen peroxide to oxygenate the water and to prevent the risk of fungal infection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can pothos live in just water?
A: It can! However, if you grow pothos in water for long enough, it will be difficult to grow it in soil.
Q: Do pothos do better in water or soil?
A: You can grow pothos in water or in soil. They do well in either medium.
Q: How do you take care of a pothos plant in water?
A: That’s what this whole piece is about! Check it out.
Q: How long should I let my pothos sit in water?
A: If you’re growing pothos in water, you can keep it there until it’s time to switch out the contents for fresh water. When you’re watering a pothos plant, try not to let it sit in a drainage tray of water for more than 20 minutes.
Q: Can you keep plants in water forever?
A: It depends on the plant. In the case of pothos and many other houseplants, it’s possible to just grow them in water.
Q: Why are pothos dying in water?
A: Plant cuttings often emit urea as they sit in water. If you don’t change out the water frequently, your plant could be poisoned by its own secretions. Another issue that can cause pothos death is when there is algae growth present. Therefore, keep the water somewhat clean, and ensure damaged parts of the plant are removed as they crop up.
Q: Do pothos grow slower in water?
A: Yes. Because the water itself doesn’t contain nutrients, and soil does, your pothos plant will grow faster in a soil-based medium.
Q: How do you make pothos grow faster in water?
A: First, ensure the conditions for growing pothos in water are correct. Ensure temperature, water quality, and container are all up to speed. Then you can add a heavily diluted plant fertilizer to the container.