Even the most novice gardener knows that plants need water, light and soil to grow. We learn these basics in grammar school, so they must be true, right? Actually, there are a ton of plants that root in water. They will eventually need a nutritive medium of some sort, but cuttings that root in water can stay in their aquatic environment while they develop a full root system. Read on for some types of water rooting plants and tips on the process.
About Water Rooting Plants
We can all agree that free plants are the best and what better way to multiply your collection than starting your own plants. You may have a friend or neighbor with a species you desire or just want more of your favorites. Many types of cuttings produce roots growing in water. This is an easy way to grow some species. The old avocado pit suspended in water, or a glass of roots growing in water from a piece of inch plant are common enough sights in a sunny kitchen window. Most grow in tap water, but a denatured water may be best for sensitive plants. Cuttings that root in water must have the liquid changed frequently and aerated once in a while. A simple drinking glass, vase or other container that is large enough to hold the cuttings are sufficient. In most cases, tip cuttings are best and should be taken in spring when plant material is actively growing. Depending on the variety, the leaves need to remain above the water and may require support. Set plants that root in water in a bright but indirectly lit area.
Why Root Plants in Water?
Many plants do not come true from seed or are difficult to germinate, but there are plants that can grow in water very easily. The resulting new plants will be true to the parent plant because they are clones made from its vegetative material. The best part of starting plants in water is that pest and disease issues are reduced versus soil propagation. Soil is prone to fungal issues, soil gnats and other problems. Clean water has none of these pathogens and, if changed frequently, will not develop disease. Once plants have a full healthy root system, they can be moved to a soil medium. Rooting usually takes place in 2 to 6 weeks.
Plants That Can Grow in Water
Many herbs are easy to grow in a glass of water. These might include mint, basil, sage or lemon verbena. Tropical and sub-tropical houseplants also do well when propagated in plain old water. The easiest to grow are:
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Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.