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When growing plants in water come to mind for most plant people, they usually think about water propagation—which is a beautiful and easy process of cloning a plant in water. But, water has potential for so much more beyond that initial propagation!

One of the things Modern Botanical is set out to do is to provide context for people to learn about growing plants in water and incorporating this new way of plant care into your day-to-day life. Below are some of the facts we have found helpful in this endeavor.

What’s the Difference Between Propagating and Growing Plants in Water


Propagation is the beginning process of cloning a plant in water. The goal of propagation is to get the plant to grow new roots and develop a new root system to shoot off fresh leaves. It usually takes 1-8 weeks for a plant to propagate, depending on living conditions and the type of plant. After shooting out roots, the plant is then transferred over to grow in soil.

One thing to note is that most plants develop different types of roots when grown in water versus soil. So, if you plan on putting a propagated plant in soil, you can't wait too long to do so.

Growing Plants

As you'd expect from the word, growing plants is the care practice of everything after propagation. However, compared to propagation, growing plants in water eliminates the second step of the propagation process. Instead, simply place your plant in water, and watch it begin to grow after its sprouted roots. 

liquid nutrients

Nutrients aren’t necessary to the propagation process. Plants could benefit more from rooting hormones or other root stimulants instead. However, liquid nutrients are super helpful when growing plants in water. They give additional support to the plant as it’s developing new, healthy leaves or roots. 

Finding the right nutrients is a topic of its own, but we'd recommend finding a nutrient solution intended for hydroponic growth. We have a great nutrient solution to support plant health in our shop that you can check out here


To be honest, it took us forever to wrap our heads around this concept. As a quick summary:

There is so much untapped knowledge surrounding the art and science of growing a healthy plant in water, which is why we are so excited to explore more about this beautiful medium. Some other key considerations to take into account are pruning, water quality, lighting, managing algae, etc. If you would like to learn more about caring for your plants in water, check out our article Things to Know About Growing Plants in Water

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