20 Best Plants That Grow In Water: Ultimate Guide

Growing plants in water, known as hydroponics, presents an attractive and practical option for many plant enthusiasts. This method eliminates the mess and fuss associated with soil while still nurturing healthy, thriving plants. As we seek simpler, cleaner, and more efficient gardening solutions, the appeal of plants that can live in water continues to grow. This technique not only caters to those with a busy lifestyle but also introduces a new aesthetic element to home decor. By submerging roots in water, you can closely observe the growth and vitality of plants, offering a unique window into the natural world right in your living room.

Image of plants that grow in jars of waterJacob Spaccavento / Unsplash

20 Best Plants to Grow in Water

1. Spider Plant

Spider plant growing in a white potYayImages

The spider plant thrives in water, making it perfect for those new to hydroponic gardening. To succeed, submerge only the roots in a container filled with water, ensuring the leaves remain above the surface. This prevents rot and encourages healthy growth. Spider plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight and clean, fresh water changed every few weeks.

These plants also benefit from occasional additions of hydroponic fertilizer, promoting lush, green growth and the distinctive white flowers they’re known for. Their resilience and rapid growth make spider plants an ideal choice to grow in water, adapting easily and producing offshoots that can be propagated in the same manner.

2. Lucky Bamboo

Several stems of Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena Sanderiana) with green leaves, on natural backgroundYayImages

Lucky bamboo thrives with minimal effort, needing only clean water and indirect sunlight to grow. It stands out not just for its ease of care but also for its deep symbolic meaning, often associated with luck and prosperity in many cultures.

This plant accentuates both water gardens and indoor spaces with its elegant and vibrant green stalks. With lucky bamboo, you achieve a striking visual interest without the hassle of complex maintenance, making it a perfect addition for both seasoned and novice plant enthusiasts.

3. Chinese Evergreen

Red leaves aglaonema on shelf in nurseryYayImages

The Chinese Evergreen stands out for its lush, decorative leaves and adaptability to water-based environments, making it a valuable addition to indoor water gardens. You can enjoy its vibrant foliage without the hassle of soil, as it thrives just as well in water, adding a touch of elegance and natural beauty to your space.

The ability to adapt and grow in water also positions these plants as a low-maintenance choice for adding greenery indoors.

4. Heartleaf Philodendron

Philodendron hederaceum variegated heart leaf closeupYayImages

Heartleaf Philodendron thrives in water, making it an ideal choice for hydroponic growth. To propagate, simply cut a stem below a leaf node and insert it into a water-filled jar, ensuring no leaves are submerged. This tropical plant enjoys bright, indirect light and benefits from periodic water changes to replenish nutrients.

Its vining nature and heart-shaped leaves add an exotic touch to any space, while the ease of care appeals to both beginners and seasoned gardeners.

5. African Violets

African violet plant with purple flowersYayImages

Growing African violets in water involves unique care to ensure their thriving presence in your water garden. These plants demand a balancing act between enough moisture and avoiding waterlogged conditions that can lead to root rot.

Begin with a clean glass jar and use room temperature water to avoid shocking the plant. African violets appreciate indirect light, so place them in a spot that receives bright, but not direct, sunlight. Ensure the water level is consistent, only touching the bottom of the plant, and change the water weekly to maintain freshness and oxygenation.

6. English Ivy

Green English ivy against a rural wall in the countrysideYayImages

English Ivy thrives in environments with steady water access, making it an optimal choice for water-based cultivation. This plant adapts well to being fully submerged in water, especially when rooted in glass containers. Its cascading growth habit adds a touch of elegance to any space, effortlessly enhancing the aesthetic of indoor water gardens.

One of the greatest benefits of English Ivy is its flexibility; it can prosper in various lighting conditions, from low light to bright, indirect sunlight. This adaptability, paired with its visually appealing nature, establishes English Ivy plants as a versatile and attractive option to grow in water.

7. Prayer Plant

Maranta leuconeura, prayer plant in wooden potYayImages

Prayer plants stand out for their striking leaves, which fold together like hands in prayer during the night. Cultivating these plants in water is straightforward but demands attention to detail. You must select a healthy stem and remove any lower leaves before submerging the cut end in water. Use room-temperature tap water or rainwater for best results, ensuring the container is tall enough to support the plant.

Prayer plants thrive in bright, indirect light, avoiding direct sunlight to prevent leaf scorch. Change the water weekly to prevent stagnation and promote healthy root growth. The allure of prayer plants in water features comes from their vibrant leaves and the dynamic movement they exhibit throughout the day, making them a captivating addition to any indoor water garden.

8. Inch Plant

Tradescantia zebrina hanging plant with purple and green leavesYayImages

Inch plants stand out as excellent choices for water cultivation due to their low-maintenance requirements and simple propagation process. Known for their lush foliage, these plants adapt well to life in water, thriving with minimal attention.

You can effortlessly propagate new plants by placing stem cuttings in a glass of water, where they’ll quickly develop roots. This ease of care makes inch plants ideal for anyone looking to add greenery to their space without the hassle of soil-based gardening.

9. Peace Lily

Peace Lily aka Spathiphyllum plant in the office on white wall backrgound with copy spaceYayImages

Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum sp.) thrive in water and add a touch of elegance to any indoor water garden. For optimal growth, peace lilies require clean, room-temperature water, changed weekly to prevent bacterial growth.

They prefer bright, indirect light, which promotes their lush foliage and stunning white blooms. Peace lilies not only embellish your space with their graceful presence but also act as natural air purifiers, enhancing indoor air quality. This makes them perfect for water displays that combine aesthetic appeal with health benefits.

10. Sweet Potato Vine

Green sweet potato vines in the fieldsYayImages

Sweet potato vines captivate with their lush, trailing foliage, adding a vibrant touch to indoor water gardens. Their robust growth habit makes them a fascinating subject for water cultivation, creating a dynamic visual element in any setting. For maintaining healthy sweet potato vines in water containers, ensure the container is large enough to accommodate their vigorous growth.

Regular water changes help prevent nutrient depletion and keep the water fresh, supporting the vine’s health and vitality. Positioning the plant in a location with bright, indirect light will encourage strong, colorful leaves. While sweet potato vines are adaptable, monitoring water levels is key to prevent root rot and promote a thriving aquatic environment.

11. Japanese Iris

Purple Japanese iris flowers growing in spring park.YayImages

Japanese Irises stand out for their aquatic nature, making them a prime candidate for water cultivation. These stunning plants thrive in shallow water, where their roots can immerse fully, yet the foliage stays above the surface. The beauty of Japanese Irises lies in their vibrant blooms that can transform any water garden into a picturesque scene.

For optimal growth, ensure they receive ample sunlight and place them in a slightly acidic to neutral pH water environment. Regularly changing the water to keep it fresh and nutrient-rich is key to maintaining their health and enhancing their blooming potential.

12. Dumb Cane

Dieffenbachia Dumb canes plant in blue potYayImages

Dumb cane stands out for its striking leaves, making it an attractive choice for water cultivation. Begin by selecting a healthy stem cutting, ensuring it includes at least one leaf node. Submerge the cutting in a glass jar filled with water, exposing only the nodes to the liquid while keeping the leaves above.

Place it in bright, indirect light and change the water weekly to prevent stagnation. With patience, roots will emerge, establishing a robust plant. Remember, dumb cane’s sap can irritate skin, so handle it with care.

13. Water Lilies

Fly landed over beautiful Pink lotus water lily Nymphaea floating in a pondYayImages

Water lilies bring a sense of tranquility and elegance to any water garden. Thriving in calm, shallow waters, they require full sun to bloom beautifully. Regular fertilization during the growing season ensures their vibrant display.

The enchantment of water lilies lies in their ability to transform a simple pond into a picturesque retreat. Their floating leaves and flowers create an oasis of peace, making them an essential addition for anyone looking to infuse their space with serenity.

14. Lotus Flowers

sunrise in the field of pink lotuses growing in a pond of waterYayImages

Lotus flowers stand out in water gardens not only for their sheer beauty but also for their deep cultural symbolism, representing purity and rebirth across various traditions. Growing lotus flowers requires full sun and a calm, shallow water environment, ideally in large pots submerged in ponds.

These aquatic blooms thrive in warm temperatures and need a layer of heavy clay soil covered with gravel to anchor and protect their roots. Regular fertilization during the growing season ensures the vibrant blooming of these prestigious water plants.

15. Swiss Cheese Vine

Monstera Adansonii plant vine potted house plant.YayImages

The Swiss Cheese Vine thrives in water environments with its striking cut-out leaves, creating a captivating spectacle in any indoor water garden.

Care for this plant by ensuring it receives bright, indirect light and replacing the water every few weeks to maintain freshness. Its rapid growth and distinctive foliage make it a standout addition to glass containers, adding lush greenery and a touch of the tropics to your space.

16. Golden Pothos

golden pothos plant in white potYayImages

Golden pothos stands out for its low-maintenance growth in water, making it a perfect choice for beginners or those seeking hassle-free plants. With its trailing vines and vibrant green leaves, it brings a touch of the wild to any room.

For the best growth, place it in a spot with bright, indirect light and change the water every two weeks to keep it fresh. Watching your golden pothos thrive is as simple as ensuring the water level covers the roots without submerging the entire stem.

17. Water Hyacinth

Flowering water hyacinth growing outdoorsYayImages

Water hyacinths bring a lush, floating charm to any water garden or pond. Renowned for their rapid growth and impressive violet flowers, they significantly enhance outdoor aesthetics. Yet, their vigor requires management; without control, they can overrun spaces, limiting light and oxygen for other aquatic life.

Regularly thinning their numbers ensures both beauty and ecological balance. Suitable for warmer climates, they thrive in full sun to partial shade and appreciate still or slow-moving water. Remember to provide these conditions for a thriving display.

18. Coleus Plants

Red purple leaves of the coleus plant, growing on a front porch garden.YayImages

Coleus plants excel in water cultivation due to their vibrant, colorful foliage that can transform any indoor water garden into a visual spectacle. These plants adapt well to life in water-filled containers, bringing an explosion of color with minimal maintenance.

For optimal growth, place them in bright, indirect light and change the water regularly to prevent stagnation. By doing so, you ensure these decorative plants remain healthy and continue to enrich your indoor spaces with their dynamic hues.

19. Aluminum Plant

Pilea cadierei plant in the garden in winterYayImages

The aluminum plant, known for its striking foliage, thrives in water, making it an ideal choice for your aquatic garden. Its silver-green leaves with unique patterns capture the eye, providing a visual uplift to any indoor space.

Growing this plant in water is straightforward, requiring you to submerge the roots in a clear container, ensuring the foliage remains above water. This setup not only simplifies maintenance but also lets you observe the fascinating root development.

For the aluminum plant to flourish, place it where it can receive bright, indirect light, and change the water weekly to keep it fresh and oxygen-rich. The aluminum plant’s easy care and decorative appeal make it a standout selection for enhancing your indoor water displays.

20. Water Wisteria

Tsunamicarlos / Wikimedia Commons

Water Wisteria thrives as an aquatic plant, known for its rapid growth and lacy, oxygenating leaves that enhance the beauty and health of water gardens.

For optimal growth, submerge its roots in water, ensuring exposure to bright, indirect light. Regular water changes maintain nutrient levels, supporting its lush development. This plant transforms any water container into a lush, underwater landscape, making it a stunning addition to indoor water gardens.

How to Grow Plants in Water

Start by selecting a clean, transparent container to allow for sufficient light penetration. Use room temperature water, favoring rain or distilled types to minimize chemicals.

Place your plant, ensuring only the roots or cut stem are submerged to prevent rot. Locate the setup in a spot that receives bright, indirect sunlight to foster growth without promoting algae.

Regularly change the water every week to replenish nutrients and maintain clarity. This method simplifies plant care, eliminating soil mess while offering a unique aesthetic appeal.

Plants growing in jars of waterElly Endeavours / Unsplash

How to Propagate Plants in Water

Propagating plants in water is a straightforward process. Begin by selecting a healthy stem from the parent plant, ensuring it has at least one leaf node. Cut just below the node, and place the stem in a glass jar filled with clean water, ensuring no leaves are submerged. Lightly cover to reduce evaporation and place in a spot with bright, indirect light.

The advantages of this method include the ease of monitoring root development and the higher success rates compared to soil propagation. Additionally, setting up a propagation station allows for multiple cuttings to root simultaneously, enhancing your plant collection efficiently.

An image of a plant seedling growing in a glass of water おにぎり / Unsplash

Common Issues with Plants that Grow in Water

While cultivating plants in water offers unique advantages, several common issues can arise. These include yellowing leaves, often due to nutrient imbalances or inadequate light. Regular water changes and ensuring sufficient light can counteract this problem.

Algae growth is another challenge, thriving in sunlight and nutrient-rich environments. Limiting light exposure and maintaining clean water can help manage algae.

Root rot occurs in stagnant, oxygen-deprived water. Using containers that allow for proper aeration and refreshing water regularly can prevent it.

Lastly, cloudy water indicates bacterial growth or decaying organic matter. Keeping the water clean and changing it frequently ensures plant health and clarity.

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves in plants that grow in water often result from insufficient nutrients, poor water quality, or inadequate light. Plants need a balance of minerals, which tap water alone cannot provide. Also, stagnant or contaminated water can stress plants, leading to yellow leaves. Furthermore, too much direct sunlight or too little light can disrupt the plant’s photosynthesis process, causing leaf discoloration. To prevent this, you can:

  • Change the water regularly: Refresh the water every one to two weeks to maintain cleanliness and oxygen levels.
  • Use filtered or distilled water: This water type is free from chlorine and other chemicals harmful to plants.
  • Provide adequate light: Ensure your plants receive bright, indirect sunlight for the majority of the day.
  • Add hydroponic fertilizer: Supply your plants with the necessary nutrients by using a liquid fertilizer designed for water-grown plants, but follow the recommended dosage to avoid over-fertilization.

Algae Growth

Algae growth in water containers owes its occurrence to excessive sunlight and nutrients in the water. You can manage and prevent it by keeping water clean and moderating light exposure. Direct sunlight should be avoided to reduce algae proliferation. Regular water changes, say weekly, ensure nutrient levels don’t fuel unwanted growth. Filtering water to remove impurities and using a small amount of hydrogen peroxide can also deter algae. For long-term health, monitor your plants and their aquatic environment closely, maintaining an equilibrium that supports the plants but not the algae.

Root Rot

Root rot occurs when plants sit in water too long without sufficient oxygen. You’ll recognize it by mushy, brown roots, a stark contrast to healthy white ones. To prevent root rot, ensure containers allow for adequate aeration and avoid overcrowding. Change the water regularly to maintain oxygen levels. If root rot is detected, trim the damaged roots and transfer the plant to fresh, clean water.

Cloudy Water

Cloudy water in your plant containers often stems from two main issues: debris accumulation and bacterial growth. Debris can enter containers through dirty plant cuttings or unclean water, while bacteria thrive in stagnant, nutrient-rich environments. This not only detracts from the aesthetic of your water garden but can also harm plant health by blocking light and reducing oxygen levels. To combat cloudy water, start by using only clean, distilled water and ensuring your containers and cuttings are free from dirt. Regularly change the water, at least once every two weeks, to prevent bacteria buildup. These steps keep the water clear and support the health of the plants that you grow in water.

A monstera leaf growing in a vase of water for propagationSarah Dorweiler / Unsplash


Exploring the world of hydroponic houseplants opens a realm of beauty and versatility within your home. Growing plants in water adds a stunning visual appeal, showcasing the delicate balance of nature in a simple glass container. The benefits extend beyond aesthetics, offering a low-maintenance, soil-free option for gardening enthusiasts. This method adapts to various environments, making it an ideal choice for adding greenery to any space. Alleviate the hassle of traditional gardening and embark on a journey to create your own vibrant, water-based floral displays. It’s a refreshing and innovative way to bring nature indoors.

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