Indoor Plants That Grow in Water – A Quick Guide

Growing plants in water is a fun and low-maintenance gardening method for those who don’t have sufficient space for an outdoor garden or dislike handling dirt. It’s also a great activity for kids and novice gardeners.

If you’re interested in growing your own indoor water garden, you’d need to know which types of water plants to choose. In this article, we’ll be looking at 17 different types of indoor plants that grow in water.

Why Grow Plants in Water?

Growing plants in water (also known as hydroponic farming) is one of the easiest gardening methods since it eliminates the need to deal with soil and water the plants daily.

There are several reasons to start an indoor water garden.

  • Plants that thrive in water require less care and maintenance – If you lead a busy lifestyle and don’t have enough time to spend on maintaining a garden, water plants would be a perfect choice. After the initial joy of starting your garden has worn off, you may become bored or forget to water it regularly. There’s no danger of this happening with water plants.
  • They’re easy to propagate – Propagating water plants is easy, unlike plants grown in soil. Once the stems are carefully clipped and placed in the water, they quickly sprout roots. After a few weeks, you can translate them to a pot with soil or you can continue to grow them in the water.
  • They’re less messy – Plants in soil tend to be messy.. If you have pets in the house, they may dig up the soil, creating a bigger mess. Growing plants in water is mess-free.
  • They attract fewer pests – Potted indoor plants typically attract annoying pests like fungus gnats which lay eggs in soil. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae attach to the plant roots and consume the nutrients, often leaving nothing behind for the plant. This doesn’t happen with water plants.
  • They make your home look beautiful – Indoor plants are visually pleasing and can change your mood, making you feel more relaxed and calmer. Certain studies have shown that being around plants can decrease anxiety levels as well, which is a good reason to have them indoors.

Plants That Grow in Water

There are hundreds of plants that can be grown indoors in water. Here’s a list of some the most popular houseplants that you can grow

1. Philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum)

philodendron plant

The name ‘philodendron’ comes from the Greek words “Philo” and “dendron,” which means love for a tree. It’s an easy plant to grow in water and has beautiful heart-shaped leaves.

You can effortlessly grow them with a 5-inch cutting. Because they don’t require direct sunlight to thrive, they can be placed in shady indoor areas.

Philodendron also purifies air and is known to reduce air pollution.

2. Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)

lucky bamboo indoors

Lucky bamboo is incredibly easy to grow in water, and will begin to root quickly. This bamboo plant doesn’t actually belong to the bamboo family but the Dracaena genus which consists of over 120 species of succulents and trees. It’s a popular Feng Shui cure that’s believed to bring prosperity and good fortune to the place where it’s grown.  Lucky bamboo is also said to bring peace into one’s home which is why it’s often planted indoors. It does not require direct sunlight and the only maintenance it needs is to have the water changed regularly and the dead leaves removed.  

3. Pothos (Epipremnun aureum)

Golden Pothos (also known as Devil’s Ivy) is another popular air purifying plant that thrives in both soil and water. To grow it, you only need to place a small cutting from a mother plant in a jar of clean water.

While this plant may be simple in appearance, it comes with numerous health benefits. According to a study conducted by NASA, the golden pothos can effectively remove pollutants like toluene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and benzene from the air, significantly improving its quality.  

4. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)

chinese evergreen plant

This robust plant is ideal for novice water gardeners as it requires little care and thrives in any environment. It’s a hardy plant that can tolerate low light, drought and dry air, making it one of the easiest houseplants to grow.

There are many varieties of Chinese evergreen plants and most have rich, dark green leaves with silver patterns on them. They also have beautiful blooms which closely resemble calla lilies. Like most of the other plants on this list, the Chinese evergreen helps improve the air quality in your home by filtering all toxins and air pollutants.

5. Spider Plant Chlorophytum comosum)

spider plant

The spider plant features sword-like leaves that add a nice touch to hanging arrangements. Known for its ability to remove harmful gases such as xylene, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, this plant is trouble-free and said to be one of the most adaptable houseplants.

When planting spider plants, be careful not to submerge its leaves in water since they can rot quickly. Since they’re not toxic, spider plants are perfectly safe to grow inside your home, even if there are children are pets.  

6. Arrowhead Plant (Syngonium Podophyllum)

The arrowhead plant, also known as the goosefoot or American evergreen, has a pleasant aesthetic and is fairly easy to handle. Although it’s typically grown as an indoor houseplant, it can also be grown outdoors. However, as the plant grows older, it begins to vine so it’s a good idea to plant it in a hanging container or train it to climb a trellis or pole.

The arrowhead plant is said to help maintain interpersonal harmony, success and mental health. It’s another air-purifying plant that can be placed anywhere in your home or office, believed to attract positive energy and happiness.

7. Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina)

wandering jew plant

These houseplants thrive in moist, humid situations, and all they need is indirect sunlight. In fact, they cannot tolerate direct sunlight and will wilt if given too much sun exposure. Wandering Jews can be easily grown in both soil and water and they have many medicinal properties. It’s said that they can actually be utilized in the treatment of renal disease.

8. Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans)

dracaena plant in water

A beautiful plant that thrives in both soil and water, the dracaena belongs to the asparagus family and comes in an assortment of colors. It can improve the quality of your indoor air while also providing you with oxygen. However, while its safe for humans even if ingested, if you have pets, place this plant out of their reach since it’s toxic for cats and dogs.

9. Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)

croton plant

One of the most vibrant plants with appealing colours, the croton can survive in both water and soil and loves full sun, so place it near light-filled windows or doors. It has a long- life span and can grow up to ten feet.

Another air-purifying plant, the croton looks beautiful when grown in groups but you can also plant it on its own. In the wild, crotons can grow up to 10 feet, but some cultivars of the plant such as the Gold Star and the Gold Dust crotons grow only up to 2 feet tall.

10. The Busy Lizzy (Impatiens)

impatiens plant

Impatiens is a beautiful flowering plant with tiny, coloured blooms. Commonly known as the Busy Lizzy, this plant prefers partial shade and thrives in soil as well as water. Impatiens cuttings grow easily and quickly in water and you won’t need to spend a lot of time maintaining them. 

11. Begonia (Begonia semperflorens)

begonia plant

Begonia is a flowering plant that grows well in water containers. It has beautiful leaves and flowers and requires a warm environment to grow and bloom. This plant cannot tolerate cold temperatures, so avoid placing it where it would be exposed to cold air. Rex begonias and Tuberous begonias are two varieties that grow exceptionally well in water.

12. Peace Lily Spathiphyllum)

peace lily in water

The peace lily, or closet plant, is beautiful and relatively easy to maintain, since it grows well in water with little care. It’s a tropical plant that can brighten up your living space, or office space and is excellent at cleaning air. Although this plant is beautiful, it’s toxic to humans and pets.

13. Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)

fiddle leaf fig plant

The fiddle leaf fig is another bewitching indoor plant with enormous, violin-shaped leaves. Growing this plant in water is simple because it thrives in moist and warm environments. Roots will begin to grow on the cutting’s stem base after only about four weeks of propagation in water. After a few more weeks, you’ll notice rootlets sprouting in the water. 

14. African Violets (Saintpaulia ionantha)

african violet

African violets are known for their vibrant blossoms and are highly popular among indoor gardeners.

Plant them in clear, transparent vases and display them around your home all year to appreciate their velvety textures and vibrant hues.

African violets bloom a number of times a year and while they thrive with less maintenance, a little extra care will give you healthy, stunning blooms.

15.  Baby’s Tear (Soleirolia soleirolii)

baby's tear plants

The baby’s tear is a low-growing, mossy-stemmed shrub, which thrives best in filtered light. While it can tolerate intense sunlight for short periods of time, it can get scorched.  

If grown in a jar of water with limited horizontal space, baby’s tear tends to glow like a dense head of green hair. In terms of maintenance, you’ll need to replace the water every week and ensure it gets enough light.

16. Coleus (Coleus scutellarioides)

coleus plant in water

Despite their heat preference, coleus plants (also called ‘painted nettle’) can thrive in almost any backyard, garden, or space. They’re a good option if you want to have beautiful and colorful blossoms in the fall or winter.

Fill a vase halfway with water and set a six-inch coleus cutting in it. Ensure that at least two nodes are in the water and then place the vase somewhere bright but out of direct sunshine.

17. Organic Herbs

basil plants

If you enjoy using fresh, organic herbs for cooking, you can start your own indoor herb garden. There are many types of herbs that can be grown in water including basil, oregano, thyme, sage, mint, and lemon balm. Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow in water and they’re also easy to propagate.

To grow herbs at home, take some cuttings from a healthy, existing plant and place it in a container filled with clean water. It’s as easy as that. In a few weeks, you’ll see the roots sprouting after which you’ll be able to pick the leaves to use. Propagate the plants for an endless supply of fresh herbs.

How to Grow Plants in Water

To grow plants in water the easy, mess-free way, follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose a plant that grows well in water. The above list is quite comprehensive and features most of the popular indoor water plants.
  1. Take a cutting from the plant, clipping the stem just below one of its leaf nodes. The leaf node is where the stem will sprout roots. The cutting should have a few leaves but remove any leaves and flowers that would end up under water. 
  1. Next, choose a container for your plant.  A vessel with a thin neck and wide bottom is ideal to support the plant, but any container would work as long as it has enough space for the roots to branch out. The benefit of using glass containers is that you can watch the plant grow, and the roots can be a focal point.
  1. Fill up the container with distilled or bottled water. You can also use tap water but leave the water to stand for about 24 hours before using for the chlorine to dissipate. Now, place your water plant in a spot with plenty of bright, indirect light. The perfect location would be somewhere that’s slightly warm and has a consistent temperature.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to growing plants in water, there are many options for you to choose from. However, not all water plants are alike. Some may require extra care while others wouldn’t need any maintenance except for the regular water change. Before you make your decision, do some research and choose the right plant that you’ll be able to handle and would suit your needs.

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