12 Tips to Grow Pothos in Water Successfully (Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners!)

Written by: Yuvika Iyer

Published on: Dec 02, 2020

12 Tips to Grow Pothos in Water Successfully (Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners!)

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Last Updated on December 2, 2020 by Yuvika Iyer

Pothos in Water – The Easiest Houseplant to Grow if You have a Brown Thumb 

Growing any houseplant in water is challenging unless you know the right techniques. However, as a beginner, you can start your learning process with Pothos. This plant is an epiphytic aroid and can grow seamlessly in water, unlike other houseplants. Read on to learn the tips and tricks of growing vivacious pothos in your home.

Though porous potting mix is ideal for growing Pothos, at times, it can get messy. Wondering how? Forgetting to water your pothos for a few days in scorchy summer can be fatal for your plant. The easiest solution to counter this is growing your Pothos in a water-filled jar or vase.

pothos in water

It’s not even fussy about the water quality; normal tap water will work just fine. Water growing your Pothos doesn’t involve expensive containers, pumps, or fertilizers. You can cut an inch below the healthy node with aerial roots and propagate it in water. Pretty soon, it will exceed your expectations with healthy roots and vividly colored leaves. 

You can easily find glass vases or containers in your neighborhood thrift store at a dirt-cheap rate. Buy them and grow different colored pothos in water. Our comprehensive guide will give you first-hand information on how to grow your Pothos in water, along with useful care tips. We will also tell you how to counter the common problems to keep your plant healthy.

Pothos in Water – Pothos plant profile 

pothos in water

Epipremnum Aureum is the scientific name of Pothos. Hobbyists and plant enthusiasts fondly call it Devil’s Ivy or Golden Pothos. It’s a NASA recommended houseplant for eliminating CO2 and other airborne pollutants from your home and making indoor air toxin-free. It also releases ample amounts of Oxygen in the indoor air and makes it breathable.

Pothos is a hardy tropical evergreen and can tolerate varied climatic conditions except for the frigid ones. Pothos are considered highly invasive owing to their blazing fast growth rate, so you have to pinch and prune at times to limit its overgrowth. Below are the key elements to fill your home with shiny Pothos.

USDA Hardiness Zone – 10 – 12

Temperature – 21° to 32°C or 70° to 90°F

Sunlight- Moderate to bright light but no direct sunlight

Fertilizer – A few drops of regular houseplant fertilizer every 4-6 weeks

Pothos in Water – Easy DIY Project

pothos in water

What You’ll Need

  • A glass container, bottle, or vase
  • Clean, filtered, or rainwater
  • Liquid all-purpose houseplant fertilizer

Instructions to Grow Pothos in Water 

1. Select a glass jar, vase, or bottle.

You can easily get sturdy glass vases or bottles in nearby thrift stores. Clear ones with good visibility are ideal for tracking the root growth. Once your plant sprouts healthy new roots, settles down, and shows signs of vigorous growth in water, it’s time to shift it into a darker color vase. The dark color will block out direct light and slow down the algae growth, or else you will have to clean your vase from algae every week.

2. Fill the jar with clean water.

Tap water works fine only if it’s iron and sediment-free. I strongly recommend using iron-free or filtered water or rainwater to get the best result. If you use chlorinated water, let it sit in a container or bucket for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate, and sediments settle down at the bottom. Fill the jar with fresh water the next day, and your plant will be just fine.

3. Add fertilizer.

Liquid fertilizer works best in water-grown plants. Apply all-purpose liquid fertilizers to grow healthy pothos. Some of the good ones are Miracle-Gro or 10-10-10, which you can easily get in your local garden center. The built-in nutrients in liquid fertilizers are essential for the faster growth of your Pothos.

pothos in water

4. Add the plant.

Place your Pothos cutting in the vase in an upright position. Make sure the cutting end is dipped completely in the water. Wait 2-3 weeks to see the new root formation in the cutting. In another 2 weeks, the newly sprouted roots will grow long and turn healthy. In no time, your Pothos cutting will pop out new leaves.

5. Change the water every 2–3 weeks.

Regularly changing water is key for your Pothos growth. With time, water loses oxygen concentration, and you need to refill the water to add a fresh burst of oxygen. I recommend you change the water every 2 weeks to maintain the oxygen cycle.

6. Make sure roots are below the waterline.

You should expose at least 10% to 20% of your Pothos’ roots to the air. It’s beneficial for your plant’s health. However, the majority of your plant’s roots should be below water. Maintain appropriate water level in the container so that it can nourish the newly sprouted plant roots.

pothos in water

7. Add fertilizer every 4–6 weeks.

While fertilizing your Pothos, you should use ¼th of the manufacturer’s recommended strength. The ideal ratio should be 1 part fertilizer on 3 parts water. Add liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks to speed up your Pothos growth and keep it in the best shape.

8. Clean algae as often as needed.

Regular cleaning of algae will maintain proper oxygen levels in your Pothos water. You can clean algae in multiple ways, either by using chemicals or scrubbing with an old toothbrush.

I recommend the second method over the first simply because chemicals can be fatal for Devil’s Ivy. After rubbing with the toothbrush, you can rinse the glass vase thoroughly to clean residual algae. While cleaning the container, shift your Pothos in a vase or bucket full of freshwater.

12 Tips to Grow Pothos in Water Successfully

pothos in water

Pothos is a fast-growing plant and can creep and cling on almost every surface under the right condition. Here are some of the useful tips which will make your Pothos healthy and grow faster:

  1. Bright and indirect sunlight is the lifeforce of your Pothos and can bring vivid coloration to your plant’s leaves.
  2. Keep the room temperature warm. The ideal range should be between 70° to 90°F or 21° to 32°C. However, 80°F-90°F is recommended to fast forward its growth. 
  3. Change your Pothos water every 2-3 weeks along with a few fertilizer drops.
  4. Place your Pothos in dark-colored containers to block the direct light from penetrating it. Lower light exposure will hinder the growth and spread of algae.
  5. Cut at least an inch below the node and dip in the water. After a few weeks, new roots will sprout.
  6. Place your Pothos near an east and north-facing window after covering it with a light-colored curtain.
  7. Fertilize your Pothos every 4 to 6 weeks and change the water every 2-3 weeks to keep your plants in the best shape.
  8. Neither leave your Pothos next to a room heater or A.C nor expose it to direct sunlight. 
  9. Regularly change your Pothos water and rinse the container to keep it clean and germ-free. Thorough cleaning will prevent the water from being foul and stagnant.
  10. Clean the corners and sides of the glass container to remove the algae buildup
  11. If your tap water is sediment-filled or treated with chlorine, leave it overnight to reduce its effects and then refill your jars.
  12. Regular pinching and pruning the long edges of your Pothos will make the foliage look lush and bushy. Cut off the tips and propagate them in the water. Soon your Pothos cuttings will sprout new roots and fill your home with joy.

Growing Pothos in Water – Frequently Asked Questions

pothos in water

Should I grow my Pothos in water or soil for faster growth?

As a seasoned grower and hobbyist, I always prefer soil over water to grow any houseplant. However, Pothos can be an exception to this thumb rule. If you propagate Pothos in water and leave it there, your plant will eventually adjust to the new media and start growing there.

To achieve faster growth, you should plant it in a well-draining potting mix. Pothos thrive in soil with a pH level of 6.1-6.5, but they are not particular about varying pH levels. 

Why is my Pothos not developing roots in the water?

Well, I often encounter this common question. If your Pothos cutting is longer than a foot, the chances are that it will take more time to root, and the leaves will wilt. While trimming your Pothos, ensure that the length is less than half afoot. The cutting should also have 2-3 aerial roots before propagation.

Why is my Pothos in water turning yellow?

One of the most common reasons for your Pothos in water turning yellow is the lack of oxygen in the water. Also, check for Pothos in water root rot. You need to immediately replace it with fresh water and pinch of the yellow and rotten leaves to counter this problem. A fresh burst of oxygen will instantly rejuvenate your Pothos.

Can my Pothos grow in soggy soil?

These tropical beauties are hardy but still need some basic care to drive faster growth. A healthy root system is the foundation of a thriving Pothos. Pothos don’t like to sit on soggy soil. Too much water can suffocate its roots and may not provide vital nutrients to your plant. You should keep the soil evenly moist but not wet.

Can I grow Pothos in the water?

Pothos can be kept, grown, and propagated in water throughout their life. However, the first time you plant it in water, it may take a couple of weeks to settle down. Initially, 2-3 leaves may fall off or turn yellow.

The best way to grow in water is to allow the Pothos cutting to adjust first. Once the cutting starts sprouting new roots, let it stay in the water forever instead of shifting it in the soil. 

pothos in water

Can I propagate Pothos cuttings in soil?

You can propagate your Pothos in water or soil. But, once the plant settles down in a particular media, it’s not recommended to switch it to another growing medium. If you have planted your Pothos cutting in water and it looks well-settled, let it stay there. The same holds for soil propagation. 

How can I successfully water-propagate my Pothos?

Cut an inch below the node with 3-4 healthy aerial roots. Dip the cuttings in the lukewarm water. Make sure the roots are fully submerged. Place the Pothos in front of the East Facing window after covering it with a light-colored curtain to filter the sunlight.

Never expose the plant to direct sunlight as it may burn the leaves. Your Pothos cuttings should sprout new roots in 2-3 weeks. The roots will be more than an inch long after 6-7 weeks, and your Pothos is ready to be transplanted in the potting mix.

How often should I mist my Pothos?

Pothos is a tropical plant, which requires occasional misting to be in the best shape. However, overmisting may trigger pest, aphid, and mealybugs attack. If you live in a dry climate, mist regularly to induce excess moisture in the plant cells. In the Spring and Summer, mist once or twice a week. Regular misting keeps your Pothos leaves shiny, healthy, and dust-free.

Is Pothos an air-purifying plant?

Your Pothos can tolerate and thrive in diverse conditions and grow up to 8 feet in height. It’s NASA recommended and one of the most potent air purifying plants. Pothos make the indoor air more breathable by eliminating airborne toxins.

pothos in water

Can I grow Pothos in low light?

Pothos can withstand varying light conditions. However, variegated ones like Manjula, Njoy, and Marble need more light. Variegated ones will turn green in low lights. Jade pothos are ideal for growing in low light settings. Position your plant at least 12-14 inches away from the windows so that it receives bright and not direct sunlight.

What is the average lifespan of my Pothos?

This plant is a tropical evergreen with an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. You can easily multiply your Pothos by propagating the mother plant. However, occasionally spray your plants with organic insecticides like Neem oil to keep the fungi, insects, and bacteria at bay.

How can I make my Pothos grow faster in the water?

Expose your Pothos to bright and indirect sunlight to speed up its growth and get vivid leaf coloration. The ideal room temperature to grow your Pothos is 21° to 32°C or 70° to 90°F. I recommend maintaining 80°F-90°F to get a fast-growing Pothos.

Change your Pothos water every 2-3 weeks and add a few drops of liquid fertilizer to keep it healthy and hearty.

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