Can You Grow Philodendrons in Water?
You may probably know that you can root philodendrons in water. But do you know that you can grow them in water too? Philodendrons will grow both in soil and water.
You’ve probably been told before or you’ve read it on here multiple times that you should not overwater your philodendrons because they don’t tolerate their roots to be sitting in soggy soil. And that’s also true.
Simply put, soggy soil favors the growth of fungi and other microorganisms that will cause rotting, something that won’t happen when the plant is grown exclusively in water.
If you want to find out how you can grow a philodendron in nothing but water, check out my tips and tricks below for a thriving philodendron plant.
How to Grow Philodendrons in Water?
Technically, growing philodendrons in water follows pretty much the same rules as rooting philodendrons in water.
Here’s what you need to successfully grow a philodendron in water:
1. Grow in a glass jar or vase
Use a dark-colored glass jar or vase to grow your philodendrons. A completely transparent or light-colored vase will favor algae production which will compete with your philodendron for resources and also cause deposits on the side of the vase that you’ll need to clean off.
2. Use chlorine-free water (at room temperature)
Philodendrons need chlorine-free water for growing, so if you’re planning on using tap water, make sure to leave it out for 24 hours so chlorine gasses can escape from the water.
This time will also be enough for the water to reach room temperature. Water that’s too cold or too hot can induce temperature shock in your philodendrons.
3. Keep leaves out of the water
Make sure that only the roots of the philodendron are in the water and the leaves stay above the water level. Leaves may rot if they touch the water, which can trigger a plant-wide rotting process.
If your philodendron doesn’t have roots yet, make sure that there are a few leaf nodes under the water. In this case as well, leaves should be kept above the water.
4. Replace the water often
Depending on whether you’re rooting the plant, or it already has established roots, you’ll need to replace the water every 3-4 days, or at least every 2-3 weeks in case of an established plant. If the water starts to get cloudy or starts smelling, I make it a point to replace it weekly.
5. Provide bright, indirect light
Light, temperature and general humidity levels should still be the same as for a philodendron plant grown in potting mix.
Bright, indirect light is essential for healthy plant growth and development. Keep the plant away from direct sun, as it will scorch the leaves.
6. Keep the vase or glass jar clean
Debris, algae can build up on the sides of the glass jar. Regularly clean the glass vase, scraping off any build-up. When you replace the water in the vase, you can also scrape any built up dirt.
Should You Fertilize Philodendrons Grown in Water?
Water alone may not provide all the nutrients needed for a philodendron plant to grow and develop.
Therefore, you should add an all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks.
This will ensure optimal growth and development and make sure that your philodendron is thriving even if not planted in a nutritious potting mix.
Just like when you’re fertilizing a philodendron that you grow in soil, you should be very careful about dosage when you’re fertilizing water-grown philodendrons.
You can just as easily cause overfertilizing in water as you can in soil. Therefore, carefully dilute the fertilizer so that the risk of overfeeding is eliminated. Overfeeding can also cause algae blooms, another aspect you want to avoid.
Do Philodendrons Grow Better in Water Than in Soil?
Philodendrons definitely root faster in water than in potting mix. On average a philodendron can root in about 2 weeks in water, while the same may take double the time in a potting mix.
After they’ve rooted, however, the playing field becomes pretty much evened out.
I haven’t noticed any significant difference in how the plant grows in potting soil versus how fast it grows in water.
Ultimately, what truly matters is whether you’re meeting the plant’s requirements or not.
For example, if you stop fertilizing your philodendron, you may notice that it will have stunted growth.
Likewise, if light conditions aren’t optimal, the growth of the plant may slow down, or the plant will grow lanky, thin stems in search for more light.
Thankfully, philodendrons are adept at communicating their needs.
For example, if your philodendron develops dark green leaves or loses its variegation, it usually means it’s not getting enough light.
Stunted growth may also be a symptom of too little light or a lack of nutrients.
Monitoring for these issues and making changes will keep your philodendron healthy.
Can You Grow Philodendrons in Water Indefinitely?
As long as you offer your philodendrons optimal care and replace the water often, technically there’s no reason why you can’t grow a philodendron in water indefinitely.
If your philodendron’s growth slows down or stops completely, you may need to do some tweaking of its environment.
You can try replacing your fertilizer or moving the plant to a brighter location. Check whether the temperature and humidity are optimal for the plant.
Pruning the plant regularly will also encourage better growth. Stems will grow thicker; leaves will become bigger and the plant itself will be bushier.
Whether in soil substrates or in water, your philodendron can thrive in both, as long as you meet its general requirements related to light, temperature, humidity and fertilizing.
For some, it’s easier to grow philodendrons in water, others prefer potting philodendrons in well-draining substrates.
Regardless of your method, your philodendron can grow very well in both cases.
The key is to watch out for its requirements and do some occasional pruning to maximize its growth potential.