Growing plants in water, whether houseplants or an indoor herb garden, is a great activity for the novice gardener (great for kids!), people with limited space or an aversion to messy dirt, and those who are plant watering-challenged. This method for growing plants is not only low maintenance, but disease and pest resistant.
Growing Plants in Water
Many plants grow easily in water and are an often used method of propagation as well, with some folks choosing to root houseplants in bottles or the like. An indoor water garden may often consist of clippings from existing houseplants in bottles covering every surface available, to a couple of growing plants in water perched on the kitchen windowsill.
Growing plants in water allows for a greater flexibility in arrangement and can be accomplished in most any type of receptacle that will hold water. Growing houseplants in water may be a slower method than soil-based planting; however, the indoor water garden will remain lush for a lengthy period of time.
How to Grow Plants in Water
Growing an indoor water garden can be completed using almost any container that will hold water. As mentioned, growing plants in bottles is one common option, but most any type of waterproof receptacle will work except those forged of copper, brass or lead. Metals may corrode when reacting to fertilizer and cause plant damage. Also, a dark or opaque container will help to prevent algae formation.
Once you have picked the appropriate container, fill it three-quarters full with florist’s foam (the best bet), crumbled Styrofoam, gravel, pearl chips, pebbles, sand, marbles, beads or any similar material that sparks your imagination. Add a pinch of powdered or small piece of charcoal to keep the water clear and clean smelling.
Finally, mix together a diluted concoction of water and fertilizer, using a water soluble fertilizer in the amount of one-quarter the manufacturer’s recommendation. Now it’s time to pick your plant!
Good Plants for Water
Growing houseplants in water is also known as hydroponic farming, although when commercially grown in this manner, farmers have a more specific cocktail of water to liquid nutrition instead of soil. We have created our diluted fertilizer and ascertained that our plant will grow in combination with this and water. Now that we have the basics for how to grow plants in water, it is time to choose good plants for water growth.
Some good plants for water “planting” may include the any of the following:
- Chinese evergreen (Aglaonemas)
- Dumbcane (Dieffenbachia)
- English ivy
- Moses-in-a-cradle (Rhoeo)
- Wax plant
- Wandering Jew
Hanging or creeping plants from cuttings are often the easiest to root in a water environment, but rooted plants may be used as well.
Wash all the soil completely off the roots of the “soon to be indoor water garden plant” and cut off any decayed or dead leaves or stems.
Place the plant in the water/fertilizer solution. You may have to top off the solution on occasion due to dissipation. Replace the nutrients solution in the indoor water garden every four to six weeks in its entirety. As mentioned above, to retard algae growth, use a dark or opaque container. However, should algae become an issue, change the solution more frequently.