Pothos is a good houseplant to grow for a beginner because it’s hardy and won’t give trouble growing. But I was curious to know if I can propagate pothos in water and then continue growing it in water as well.
Pothos can live in water forever as long as you provide it with the right care and maintenance. You need to change the water every couple of weeks and provide the right nutrients using liquid fertilizer. You need to clean the container every few weeks especially if algae is growing in it.
Once you know the basics, it’s easy to grow pothos in water. I’ve written a step-by-step process that will help you do the same.
How to grow pothos in water
Things you need
The main things you need when growing pothos in water are:
- A clean glass jar or container
- A balanced liquid fertilizer
- Clean water (rainwater, distilled water, tap water free from chemicals)
- Bypass pruner (if you are getting the cuttings from another plant)
- A pothos cutting (either from another plant or from a garden center or nursery)
Choose the right container
When growing the pothos in water, it’s best if you can get a glass jar or container that can hold water without leakages. If you use a transparent glass container, you can see the roots forming and the condition of the plant as it grows.
The problem with a transparent container is that it will allow light inside. This light will encourage the algae to grow using the nutrients in the water. And the algae will compete for the nutrients as well as invite bacteria in the container that can harm your pothos plant.
When using such a container, you need to take care of washing the container every few weeks especially if you see algae growing in it.
The other option is to use an opaque glass container that will avoid the problem of algae growth but you won’t be able to observe how well the roots are growing in it.
Get the pothos cutting
The best way to grow a pothos plant is from a cutting. You can get this from another pothos plant that you’re already growing in the garden. If you don’t have one, you can ask for it from your family and friends if they’re growing pothos. The other option is to buy the cutting from a local garden center or nursery.
Make sure that the cutting is healthy when you get it. There should not be pests or diseases on the cutting. Check that the leaves on the cutting are not turning yellow or brown. Also, make sure the roots are not already growing out of the cutting as that would require a bit more work for the propagation in water.
If you can manage to get the cutting from another plant, check the section below on how you need to extract the cutting from a pothos plant.
Choose the right water
Since you’ll be growing the pothos plant in water, make sure you use clean water. I would recommend using rainwater or distilled water if you can get it. Such water is free from chemicals that can harm the plant.
If you don’t have such water available, you can use tap water. But you need to keep the tap water standing in an open container for at least 24 hours. This helps the chemicals like fluoride and chlorine to dissipate from the water.
If the tap water contains a lot of salts, this might hamper the growth of the plant. You need to check the quality of your tap water by conducting a water test.
Provide enough light
Pothos is a hardy plant that can grow in partial or full shade. It can also survive in the low light areas of your house. But that can slow down the growth of the plant.
I would suggest growing pothos near a windowsill that gets a lot of indirect sunlight. If you are growing it indoors, you need to get yourself artificial lights and use them for at least 12-14 hours.
Add the right nutrients
You need to add diluted liquid fertilizer to the water that can provide nutrients for the plant. I suggest using a balanced fertilizer such as one having NPK values of 5-5-5. This will help in the overall development of the pothos roots, stem, and leaves.
It’s best to follow the instructions on the fertilizer bottle or box on how much quantity to use and how often. This depends on the size of the plant and the amount of water being used.
Typically, you need to add the diluted liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks into the water. The liquid fertilizer provides an instant source of nutrients to the pothos plant growing in water.
Propagate the pothos in water
Once you have the cutting, you’re ready to start growing it in water. You need to fill the container with clean water and place the 1-2 nodes of the pothos plant in it. Add the diluted liquid fertilizer to the water so it can provide nutrients during the propagation.
Make sure there are no leaves submerged in the water as they will rot and suffocate the roots. This would lead to the problem of root rot that will cause the roots to become black and soggy. And the plant would eventually die.
After about a month, the roots will have developed on the pothos plant. And the plant will start growing bigger with new leaves.
Maintain the pothos plant in water
Once the pothos plant has developed roots and started growing in water, you need to maintain it so it grows for a long time. The most important thing is to keep a good source of clean water and nutrients.
You need to change the water every couple of weeks. This helps keep the water clean for the plant and replenishes the oxygen in the water that the plant needs.
You need to provide liquid fertilizer to the plant every 4 weeks. This is required so the plant can get the required nutrients to grow well.
If you find algae growing in the water, you will need to throw the water, clean the container with soap, and replenish with fresh water.
If the pothos plant is growing large but you want to limit its growth to the container, you will need to prune some leaves and part of the stem. You can use a clean pair of bypass pruners to do this.
Make sure to sterilize the bypass pruner with rubbing alcohol before and after pruning the pothos plant. This will help protect the plant from being infected by diseases.
How to get the cutting from a pothos plant
The easiest way to grow a pothos plant is from the cutting of another pothos plant. You could get this from a pothos you are already growing or ask your friends and family.
You want to cut the pothos stem keeping at least 2-3 nodes in the cutting. A node is a brown module on the stem opposite to the leaf. You can use a bypass pruner that has been sterilized with rubbing alcohol to cut the stem from the plant.
Make sure to pick a part of the stem that is not having any pests or diseases. Also, avoid the portion that is having yellowing leaves.
You can trim the leaves from the lowest node because that will be planted in the water to form roots. And you don’t want the leaves to soak in the water, rot, and create problems for the roots.
You can keep some leaves on the other nodes because that will help the pothos plant get the energy while developing roots and growing.
Does pothos grow faster in water than soil?
Pothos will not grow faster because you are growing it in water or soil. The main reason for pothos growing well or faster is how much care and maintenance you provide to it.
If you give the plant the right amount of water, light, nutrients, and pruning, the pothos plant will grow well regardless of growing in water or soil.
You do need to remember that the size of the container will be limited when growing in water. So if you do grow the plant outdoors in the soil, it has a good chance of growing bigger because the roots can expand and get more energy for plant growth.
Here are some of my favorite container gardening tools
Thank you for reading this post. I hope it helps you with your gardening needs. I’ve listed some tools below that can help you with container gardening. These are affiliate links so I’ll earn a commission if you use them.
Gardening Gloves – I find the Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Gardening Gloves really good for both men and women. It’s made from bamboo so helps absorb perspiration. They are also comfortable and fit very well.
Containers – You know picking the right container is crucial for your container gardening. I’ve written a detailed post on the best containers you can choose from. If you’re happy with a plastic container, you can check out the Bloem Saturn Planter.
Watering Can – This is a must-have tool when you’re growing plants in pots or grow bags. It helps to water the potting soil without splashing on the foliage. The Kensington Watering Can is stylish, strong, and can provide precision when watering potted plants.
Trowel – Garden Guru Trowel is my favorite because it’s durable and comfortable to use. My gardening friends really love having a trowel because they use it for digging soil, mixing fertilizer, moving seeds, leveling out the soil, mixing compost or mulch, and also dividing tubers
Bypass Pruner – I really like the Corona Bypass Pruner because it’s durable and gives a clean cut that helps plants recover faster. If you’re looking for something cheap, get the Fiskars Bypass Pruner that is really good as well.
To see an extensive list of the best container gardening tools gardeners recommend, check out this resource that I made for you.
Kevin is the founder of Gardening Mentor, a website that aims to teach people to grow their own food in a limited space. As a self-taught gardener, Kevin has spent several years growing plants and creating gardening content on the website. He is certified in Home Horticulture and Organic Gardening by expert gardeners from Oregon State University.