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Pothos (Devil’s Ivy) is an excellent plant if you’re starting your plant collection. They’re super easy to care for and can produce new growth in both water and soil. This plant is an easy fix if you need some green in your house.
If you’re wondering whether or not your pothos will thrive in water, the answer is: yes it will. As long as it has enough nutrients and the right amount of light, your pothos can grow in water. You can quickly even propagate pothos using water.
So, how can you propagate pothos from cuttings, and is there a way to optimize the water it’s growing in to produce new growth continually? Well, this post will cover those questions and nearly everything else you need to know about if pothos can grow in water and how to propagate pothos in water.
Pothos is one of the few vining houseplants that pride themselves on being easy to propagate and grow in water.
As long as the pothos grows in a nutrient-rich medium — be that soil or water — the plant will do just fine.
Now that you know that pothos is a pretty easy plant to grow and maintain, let’s see how you can quickly propagate and continually grow your pothos in water.
Here are the two simple steps you want to follow to water propagate pothos:
- You want to cut the vine part of the pothos (the stem) that connects two leaves to create a cutting.
- You have to find a viable cutting with one leaf and one node, preferably with existing roots or small brown bumps.
- It’s no biggie if your pothos doesn’t have existing aerial roots; these will grow once you place your pothos cuttings in water.
- You don’t want to use brown or yellowing leaves to take a cutting from, as these have a meager chance of success.
- Prepare a container you want to place your pothos cuttings into. Your container can be anything clean, and that can contain water — this can be an old food jar, a wine bottle, or even sample tubes.
- Add clean water to your container and ensure that your pothos nodes are submerged in the water. Whenever the water level drops below the node, top up the container with some new water.
And that’s it! Just make sure to place the container in a spot where it’ll receive light but no direct sunlight.
Note: Don’t add too much fertilizer too soon as it might burn your plant. Try to add Epsom salts if you don’t have liquid fertilizer.
You’ll see signs of root growth within two weeks (if not in the first week!), and you can either keep it in the container with water or transplant it to a pot of soil once you have three or four 1-inch roots.
If you choose to continue growing the pothos in water, you want to pick a high-quality liquid fertilizer.
By keeping the pothos in water, they miss out on the nutrients they’d get from the soil. To prevent your pothos cuttings from dying, you want to ensure that you use the correct fertilizer once every four to six weeks.
How much fertilizer you add will vary depending on the size of your container, the number of cuttings you have in the container, and the instructions on the fertilizer.
Generally, you wouldn’t add more than a few drops to the water. Because you’re growing it in water, you can easily over-fertilize your pothos, which can result in stunted growth and an increased risk of disease or pests.
Rather under-fertilize than over-fertilize your pothos!
Another aspect to be mindful of is algae build-up in your container. The nutrient-rich water and sunlight will create an environment for algae to thrive.
To avoid algae from growing in your container, a good rule of thumb is replacing the water and cleaning the jar every 4-6 weeks when adding fertilizer.
You can also place the pothos container in a north-facing window and use sheer curtains or blinds to filter the sunlight.
Unfortunately, you can’t just place your pothos cuttings in the water and forget about it – it requires maintenance to stay alive and healthy.
Here’s how you can ensure your pothos remains healthy and happy:
- Change out the water in the container every 4 weeks
- Top up the container with water whenever the roots are exposed
- Use a high-quality liquid fertilizer to add nutrients to the water
- Clean your containers whenever you change out the water
- Remove algae build-up when you see it
Follow these steps, and you’ll have very happy water-propagated pothos. You can follow these steps with any pothos variety, though some can be a bit more demanding than others.
Now that you know how to water propagate your pothos, you may be wondering if you can grow pothos in an aquarium.
Well, the answer is yes!
Traditionally, pothos isn’t grown as aquarium plants, but they definitely can be.
Growing pothos in your aquarium can provide the water with oxygen while also getting rid of the excess carbon dioxide.
Below, I’ll go into the details of how you can easily grow pothos in your aquarium.
Adding pothos to your aquarium substrate will benefit the plant and the general fish environment.
Pothos can grow in various conditions but thrives in very bright indirect sunlight.
It also prefers water temperatures between 60 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 30 degrees Celsius). It will also grow well in any humid or dry environment as long as the roots are constantly moist.
While photos won’t grow underwater, they can add to your aquarium’s general plant aesthetic.
Here’s how you can grow pothos in aquariums:
- Take cuttings from your pothos plant and place them in clean water.
- Once they’ve developed roots of between 4 to 5 inches, transfer the plants to your aquarium.
- Anchor the pothos roots that only the stem is in the water – do not let any of the leaves become submerged in the water.
- Let the pothos develop and grow new roots and leaves using artificial grow lights. The plant will establish itself in the next 3 to 6 weeks.
Once the pothos is well-established and in good light conditions, they will grow super well.
They’re essentially growing in a nutrient-dense environment with plenty of carbon dioxide that needs to be filtered out – what more could a pothos want?
Frequently Asked Questions About Pothos in Water
Below are questions frequently asked about growing pothos in water, how to ensure it remains happy in the water, and even how long it can live:
So, how long can pothos live in water?
Well, with proper maintenance and care, they can thrive in water for their entire lifespan.
As long as you ensure the plant receives proper nutrients, clean water, and lives algae-free, then there’s no reason why it couldn’t grow in water indefinitely.
You want to ensure that you regularly replace the oxygen-depleted water and fertilize to make up for nutrients it’s not getting from being in a soil environment.
You also want to ensure that your pothos doesn’t grow in a container with algae in it – algae is essentially the “weeds” in hydroponic gardens.
Few algae won’t be detrimental to your pothos, but if you leave it to build up, it could leach the water of all its nutrients and oxygen, leaving the pothos without resources to maintain it.
You can reduce algae growth by choosing an opaque container to grow the pothos in, regularly checking that there aren’t any signs of algae growth, and cleaning if there is.
While pothos propagates very efficiently in water, it does prefer soil environments if the water isn’t correctly maintained (cleaning and adding fertilizer).
It is, however, easier to maintain pothos in water, and it reduces how often you’ll have to re-pot the plant to keep it happy.
Growing pothos in water is a low-maintenance way to keep the plant happy and thriving – provided you ensure that the water it grows in is regularly replaced and nutrient-rich.
Growing pothos in water will also slow down their growth compared to healthy soil and allow you to see if their root systems are developing healthily.
Generally, pothos will grow better in soil than water if the water lacks nutrients and oxygen and the soil is nutrient dense.
It’s all about how well you can maintain the plant’s growing environment. If the pothos’ soil is old and leeched of its nutrients, it’ll do better in water containing fertilizer, and that’s regularly changed out – and vice versa.
If you’re often forgetful when watering your plants, transplanting your pothos to water will eliminate having to water it weekly, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about it altogether.
Growing pothos in water will still require you to change out the water, top up the container with new water frequently, and add liquid fertilizer.
When kept in optimal water conditions, your pothos may even outgrow your soil-grown pothos.
While it’s possible to transplant pothos from soil to water, it can take time for them to adapt to their new environment.
In the process of transplanting the pothos from soil to water, you may initially lose a leaf or two. After the adjustment period, it’ll continue growing just fine.
If you are going to transplant the pothos from soil to water, you want to ensure that you gently remove all the soil from the existing roots by rinsing them with cold water.
Any soil that’s left behind runs the risk of creating a fungal infection in your now water-growing pothos.
To reduce the risk of disease, you can add 2-3 drops of hydrogen peroxide into the container to oxygenate the water.
You also want to keep a close eye on the roots while growing in the water and remove any rotting or dying roots when you notice them.
A healthy pothos can live between 5-10 years. There are a few things that can affect its lifespan, including:
- The growing environment
- Possible infection
- Bug infestation
- Under, or overwatering
Taking proper care of your pothos (regardless of if their growing in water or soil) will reward you with continual growth, and they may even live beyond 10 years.
While it won’t die with a little bit of neglect, try to maintain a healthy growing environment as much as possible.
Most liquid fertilizers will suffice for growing pothos.
You generally want to look for a fertilizer that contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in either a 12:4:8 ratio or a 1:1:1 ratio.
Miracle-Gro is one of the most common liquid fertilizers available on the market and optimizes the fertilizer ratios to be best suited to growing indoor plants in water.
There you have it! Growing pothos in water can be a gratifying experience.
As long as you ensure that you keep the water clean, add a high-quality liquid fertilizer, and remove algae, you can grow pothos in water.
You can also use it in aquariums, transplant it from soil to water, and even keep it in water for its lifetime.
Growing them in water also allows you to gauge their growth through monitoring their root systems. As long as you keep the pothos in a well-balanced environment, there’s no reason why you can’t grow them in water.