Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Growing House Plants in Water

I enjoy having live plants in my rooms.  They bring an energy to space (along with fresh air) and guests appreciate them. Having containers around with plants in water was more a necessity than a choice.  I have difficulty pruning off bits and discarding them, instead choosing to put them in a glass of water in the kitchen window.  Over time I have become an expert in what will root and thrive. (The pitcher on the left is full of prunings from the potted plant on the right.)

Twice a year, Mike brings all the house plants to the kitchen for me to fuss over.  The plants in pots will be examined and those with long shoots or runners will get pruned and new soil added to the pot. If they have grown quite large, they will be divided into two pots.  Some that have been in water will get potted (begonias get rotated every six months).  And some in water (ivy and other runners) will get roots trimmed back and fresh water.

Every fall, I trim back the begonias and have big vases of Angel Wings all over the house.

You will want to pinch off the bottom leaves as they turn yellow but they will thrive through the winter and be ready for potting outdoors in the spring.  When planting, prune off much of the bottom of the stem, leaving at least one node with roots,  otherwise the stem will stick out to far.  You want to plant them (several to a pot) so the the bottom leaf is only inches out of the soil.

Most of the ivy and other trailing plants just get clipped back each time,  I keep adding the pieces to existing jars until they get too full and then start another. They seem to do the best in low light so are perfect for nooks and crannies that are not close to windows.  When the house is empty for several days they all get moved to windows for a bit of sunlight.

Above is the re-potted Angle Wing Begonia and a vase with all the new ivy clippings.

Below is a stand on the back porch with all the newly potted babies.  Some will move inside when they grow up.

I have several plants that grow up on thick stems, loosing leaves on the bottom and producing a scraggly looking plant.  Almost all of those can be cut to the ground, put in water and new sprouts will emerge from the roots, producing a much fuller and happy looking specimen.

 As far as maintenance goes, I rarely need to change out water except those two times a year.  I do add a little mild fertilizer water now and then, and I pinch off any yellowing leaves.  Some water plants seem to thrive forever and others will let you know they are ready for soil (all the new growth will be smaller and sad looking)

My best advice: pick a sunny window, preferably one you look out of regularly (kitchen sink) and line up your clear jars of water to experiment.  You can watch to see which cuttings develop roots, how quickly and how well.  Some never will and just need to be composted when pruning. Some things (parsley and other garnishes we use) won't root but will stay fresh long enough to use over several weeks.

And THANKS to Elsie for suggesting this weeks blog topic.  I would have never thought of it on my own.


  1. great tips . that gonna help me for my garden .. thank you

  2. I am growing every green stem with a mode, and many successes rooted in water. Like your blog!

  3. I am growing every green stem with a mode, and many successes rooted in water. Like your blog!

  4. Thanks. No I have the problem of finding people to take all the babies!

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