If you’ve ever propagated pothos plants, you already know that stem cuttings can be propagated in water. But what about growing pothos plants in water? Is it possible?
Yes, you can grow your pothos in water and you may have an easier time doing so than growing them in potting medium.
In what follows, I’ll walk you through the things you need to consider to successfully grow pothos in water, and help you troubleshoot some issues you may encounter with this growing method.
Growing Pothos in Water
If you’ve decided to grow pothos plants in water, there are a few things you should consider first:
– Water Quality
You can grow pothos in tap water if your tap water isn’t excessively chlorinated. Just for good measure, however, you can leave tap water out to aerate overnight, so that chlorine can evaporate.
Although you no longer need to water your pothos and worry about overwatering, you’re still required to replace the water weekly so that it remains fresh.
If you’re starting out with a stem cutting and you’re waiting for it to root, make sure you harvest stem cuttings with a few leaves on and you cut them just below the leaf node.
Leaf nodes should be submerged in water, but the leaves should stay above water so that they don’t start to decay.
Pothos plants grown in water require fertilizing. You should use a good quality liquid fertilizer and add only small amounts (depending on the size of the pot, you may need only a few drops) every 4 to 6 weeks.
Just like growing pothos in potting medium, there is a risk of overfertilizing your plants. Massive overfertilizing can outright kill your plant, but even slightly overdoing fertilization can cause unwanted effects like algae blooms.
Jars or vases replace pots when growing pothos in water, but make sure vases or jars aren’t fully transparent. Choose opaque containers to limit the amount of light, which combined with nutrients will cause algae blooms.
You also need to regularly clean these containers to prevent build-up of dirt, debris and to suppress the growth of algae.
Overall, these are the most important things to remember when growing these plants in water instead of soil. It’s not necessarily easier, nor harder, it’s simply a bit different than growing them in regular pots.
Does Pothos Grow Faster in Water or Soil?
There’s no clear-cut answer to whether a pothos that’s planted in soil will grow faster or slower than one kept in water.
If you’re just keeping a pothos in water and changing the water regularly, but you’re not adding any nutrients, it will actually grow slower. With nutrients it will pick up its growth and grow at the same pace or a bit faster than in soil.
But water and nutrients aren’t the only two things that will determine the growth rate of your pothos. Other things like temperature, humidity and lighting conditions also play a significant role.
Why is My Pothos Not Rooting in Water?
Usually, it takes pothos stem cuttings around 7-14 days to root in water. If this time has elapsed and your pothos won’t budge, there are a few reasons to why this happens:
- Your stem cuttings could be too long (pick stem cuttings that are 4-6 inches long, feature 2-3 leaves) or you may have missed keeping a leaf node (the leaf node should also be submerged in water)
- Your cuttings are not getting enough light (they should receive bright, indirect light)
- The room your cuttings are in is too cold (keep the cuttings in a warm location)
- If you’re propagating in winter, it may take longer for your cuttings to root
- Stem cuttings harvested from old, unhealthy vines may not root
- You’re replacing the water too infrequently (water needs to be replaced every 2-3 days)
Sometimes, it just simply takes a little longer for your stem cuttings to root, so you may need to be a bit more patient. Other times, the stem cuttings are not viable, so don’t hesitate to harvest new ones, and start fresh.
Why is My Pothos in Water is Turning Yellow?
At some point after having your pothos growing in water, you may notice leaves turning yellow. There are a number of reasons why this can happen and they’re not exclusive to pothos grown in water. Leaves can turn yellow even on pothos grown in soil.
Here’s a list of potential reasons and fixes:
- Your plants are exposed to too much direct sunlight (move your pothos to a bright location, but out of direct sunlight)
- You’ve overfertilized your pothos and it’s experiencing toxicity (wash the roots under water and replace the water)
- Your pothos is experiencing temperature shock (you’ve exposed it to extreme temperatures)
- Fungal disease that may cause the rotting of the roots (clean the roots and remove rotten or diseased parts)
As I said, pothos that grow in soil can also have yellow leaves for the exact same reasons as pothos that grow in water.
There’s one more reason why your photos can have yellowing leaves — the leaves are old and they’re falling off naturally, only to be replaced with newer leaves.
Water vs Soil – Which is Better to Grow Pothos Plant?
There are advantages to both growing methods, so I don’t think one method should always be favored over the other. If your plant does well in its potting medium, there’s no reason to switch to growing it in water, and vice versa.
Except if you want to display your photos in a hanging basket or algae blooms are causing you problems, or simply your pothos variety does better in soil than in water, there are no pressing reasons why you should pick one method over the other.
Pothos can be easily rooted in water and they can even adapt to growing in water. As I explained in this article, there are a few rules you must observe if you decide to grow pothos in water.
If you understand how to take care of your pothos plant and what adjustments you need to make when deciding to switch from one method to another, you should have no issues with either method.