If you're looking to decorate your wall with plants (or just looking for a fun way to grow your plant family), water propagation is the way to go. We love propagating and growing plants in water because it is so easy to do and can work with a variety of plants. It can also be super rewarding to see new growth after waiting for weeks for your plant to develop its new root system. We’re always surprised at how many plants can simply root in water with very little help!
Although propagating in water is easy, choosing your plant can be a tricky first step. There isn't much information out there about plants that can propagate in water, so we're constantly experimenting with different plants to see how they propagate and grow in water. Here are 9 of our favorite plants that we know to have high success rates when propagating plants in water. This is by no means a conclusive list. We're constantly blown away by just how many plants can effectively propagate and grow in water; if you'd like to see our most up-to-date list of plants, we suggest checking out our full list here!
Tradescantia is a popular trailing plant that sports narrow leaves ranging in color from greens and yellows to pinks and purples (depending on light exposure and varietal). If you look closely, it has fine hair-like fibers that are seen along the stems and leaves. What's super interesting is that, because of those fibers, tradescantia give off this shimmery look from afar.
Tradescantia are vigorous growers that do best in very bright, indirect light. Finding the right place in your home where these can be balanced is key to maintaining their beautiful colors. If you see that your Tradescantia is losing color, we suggest giving them a sunbath by placing them in direct sun for a 2-3 hours throughout the day. They are actually the only plant we know do to grow well in water, even when given direct sunlight. But, keep in mind, that too much direct sun can lead to algae growth--which causes a green sheen that’s hard to rinse away.
Tradescantia are best propagated using the submersion method. Cut just below a node, then submerge the node in water.
These grass-like plants are hearty in both water and soil. Interestingly, they'll grow an impressive root system before developing out their grass-like leaves. It's a fun process to watch develop through a glass vase. Mature spider plants shoot off long stems which develop pups - little versions of the plant which in turn can root and turn into a spider plant of their own! Spider plants are also known for being amazing air filterers, making a great choice for city apartments and condos.
Spider plants are pretty easy plants to grow in water. One thing to look out for is browning or “burnt” tips. This is a sign that they received too much sunlight or too little humidity. To treat this, just cut off the brown ends, place your spider plant further away from bright light, and regularly mist.
Spider plants are best propagated using the division method. What you'll want to do is take a pup from the mother plant and submerge the exposed roots in water. Make sure to clean off any dirt from roots and leaves.
The Pothos family has a wide range of different colors and sizes. The Golden Pothos is the most popular of them all because itis attractive, low-maintanence, and pretty quick to propagate. We find that some Pothos varieties are tricky to propagate and care for (like the Silver Pothos), so we recommend checking out our List of Plants that Grow in Water for more info.
This plant can be a bit stubborn to grow its roots at first. But, give it patience and you’ll see some in no time! More variegated types of Pothos prefer more sunlight, we suggest putting your Pothos across from a bright window. Pothos have trouble adapting to extreme cold and dry environments, so make sure you’re taking extra care of your Pothos throughout the fall and winter to avoid root rot.
Pothos are best propagated using the submersion method. Cut just below a node, then submerge the node in water.
Monstera is a stunning tropical plant recognized for unique leaf shapes and holes (fenestrations). We know this plant do perform well in water. The oldest Monstera we know to grow in water is 10 years old! Monstera tend to grow very fast in warm and humid environments. They also love bright, indirect sunlight and their root systems are usually robust.
Monsteras are loved throughout many homes because they're so easy to propagate and care for in water. Their leaves tend to gather dust build-up, so be sure to regular wipe them down so that your Monstera can soak up as much sun as possible. Large and mature Monsteras may experience crowding in small glasses like the Modern Botanical propagation frames, so you may have to consider transferring your Monstera to a larger container later down the line.
Monstera are best propagated using the diversion method. What you'll want to do is take a baby monstera from its pot and submerge the roots in water. Make sure to clean off any dirt from roots and leaves beforehand.
Scheffleras are a fun bush-like plant commonly known as “umbrella trees” for its broad leaves that fan out, somewhat like an umbrella. Unlike the many aroids and tropical houseplants that are so common to indoor spaces and water growth, scheffleras resemble more of a tree or shrub. Rather than relying upon nodes to develop new root growth, they instead rely upon cambium in their stocks to promote root growth throughout the submerged areas of the plant.
Schefflera can take time to propagate because of its long acclimation period. Bright direct or indirect sunlight and warm temperature can help speed up the process, along with a quick dip in some rooting hormones.
Schefflera are best propagated using the submersion method. Start by taking a cutting at your desired length using sterile sheers or knife. The stems are pretty thick so you might want to use stronger tools like pruning shears to get a clean cut. Then, remove any branches from being submerged in water when propagating and plop your plant in your glass. Cambium will form, and eventually, roots will grow.
The Peace Lily is a tropical species with long-lasting flower stalks that hover over its enormous, evergreen leaves. We love the Peace Lily for its elegance and found that it is a wonderful focal piece in any room. Fun fact: this beloved and delicate houseplant is not a lily at all! Its iconic white “flowers” are considered bracts or modified leaves. Some peace lilies don't actually develop their flowers until later on once they've matured.
Peace Lilies are best propagated using the division method. We have the most success directly transplanting established soil roots into water. Be careful when untangling the roots and wash off the dirt before placing them in water to avoid rot.
Philodendrons are often mistaken for Pothos due to their similar traits and appearances (you can think of them as close cousins in the same family). And like Pothos, this plant comes in many shades and varieties. The most popular one we've interacted with is Philodendron Brazil. This variety has super colorful leaves that sport yellow and lime variegation on its leaves.
Philodendrons tend to be easy and forgiving plants to propagate. As long as you give your Philodendron adequate indirect sunlight and temperature, there is little for you to worry about care-wise.
Philodendron are best propagated using the submersion method. Cut just below a node, then submerge the node in water. A cool thing to note is that roots often form within the first few weeks of propagation.
Maranta, also known as the “Prayer Plant,” is best recognized for its unique leaf patterns resembling zebra stripes. Their leaves are also a fun mix between reds, greens, and yellows (and vary, based on the individual plant). Interestingly enough, Maranta leaves sprout outwards from existing leaves and appear to be rolled up until they’re ready to bloom. They are often grouped with Calathea, but they are two different plants.
Maranta perform really well in water. One thing to note is that they are quite sensitive to light. Maranta prefer bright light with partial shade, so it's important to play around with different areas in your home to find the right spot. You'll notice that, if there is too much light or not enough humidity, Maranta leaves tend to get brown and spots. Make sure to regularly mist your Maranta as well because they love humidity.
Maranta are best propagated using the submersion method. Cut just below a node, then submerge the node in water. We also had success using the division method, where we take established soil roots and place them in water. Be sure, if using the division method, that you wash away any soil and dirt left over.
The rubber tree plant, formally known as Ficus Elastica, originated in the tropics of Asia. In the wild, they can grow up to 25-30 feet tall but are pretty small houseplants. We find its foliage strikingly gorgeous and thick, so it’s hard not to love this plant.
Just like many others on this list, the rubber tree is one of the easiest houseplants to care for. It is low-light tolerant but does its best in bright, indirect light. They also love warm temperatures with normal room humidity. The rubber tree plant is also toxic to pets and humans if consumed, so please make sure it is out of reach.
Tradescantia are best propagated using the submersion method. Cut just below a node, then submerge the node in water. You want to make sure your cutting has at least 1-2 leaves. The stems are pretty thick so you might want to use stronger tools like pruning shears to get a clean cut.
Once you're plant has acclimated to water and developed some roots, you get to make the exciting decision on what medium you'll ultimately like to grow the plant in. Traditional soil mixes are a common direction for many people in the plant community, but if you're like us, sticking to water-centric mediums for their ease of care and tendency to be forgiving is the easy choice to make.
If you do plan on growing you plant in water, LECA, PON, or another similar hydroponic growing method, here are a few quick tips to ensure a successful grow!
So that's our list of 9 easy plants you can get started propagating in water. But the list is still growing! Check out our official List of Plants that Grow in Water for more in-depth care tips, where we update it frequently with new plants!