Pothos (also known as golden pothos or devil’s ivy) is a hardy indoor plant with beautiful heart-shaped leaves that grow on vines. Pothos is also one of the easiest houseplants to grow entirely in water. Because it’s so sturdy, you can keep your pothos plant alive quite easily, as it can withstand a variety of environments. It’s the perfect plant for starting your water-growing journey with your indoor plants.
So, how long can pothos live in water? Pothos vines, with proper care, have the capability of thriving in water. A pothos plant can live for years, so as long as you follow some tips to ensure nutrient-rich water and an ideal environment, your water-growing pothos should be around for quite a while.
Because water does run out of oxygen, you’ll want to make sure you replace the water for your pothos every one to two weeks, along with using a liquid fertilizer to ensure that the water has the proper amount of nutrients for strong growth. As we all know, with water comes the potential for algae growth. Most likely, you’ll opt to grow your pothos in a glass container (because, let’s face it, seeing the roots is pretty neat).
Choosing something opaque could slow the growth rate of algae, but either way, you’ll want to be sure to remove the plant and clean the container as soon as you see any signs of algae growth.
Pothos are more than happy to grow in soil, but sometimes the plant can get overwhelming. The more it grows, the more you’ll have to do to propagate, split, and repot to keep the pothos happy. Growing pothos clippings in water is a surprisingly lower maintenance way to keep the plant happy and healthy around your home. Not only that, but the plant will grow slower, so it won’t become unruly, and if you the plant is in a clear jar, you’ll be able to check in on the roots and make sure they’re doing okay.
There’s no cut and dry answer. Both soil and water can have successful growth rates, and it will depend entirely on how attentive you are to the pothos and its needs. If you’re actively watering a pothos in soil the way it likes to be watered, then you’ll have no trouble with the growth compared to pothos plants that are in water.
The big question now is how to grow pothos in water. In order to match the growth rate of a well-taken-care-of, soil-potted pothos, you’ll want to be sure you’re putting a ton of nutrients in the water for your pothos to thrive off them. When done properly, you’ll match (or even slightly exceed) the growth rate of a pothos planted in soil.
It is possible to transplant a pothos from soil to water after it has already started growing/been growing in a pot; however, don’t be surprised if it takes time for the pothos to acclimate to the new environment. It may end up losing a leaf or two, but after an adjustment period it should start to grow just fine.
When replanting in water, be sure to thoroughly rinse off any remaining soil from the roots of the pothos. Soil remnants could cause fungal infection in the roots and plant, so you’ll want to do everything you can to prevent that from happening. This includes placing a drop or two of hydrogen peroxide in the water to oxygenate it; trimming off any roots that look like they’re rotting or dying (as they could affect the other roots); and being careful not to damage any roots while you’re rinsing off the soil.
If you’re starting with an already-grown pothos plant, transporting it from soil to water, then following the steps above, should ensure a seamless adjustment period between growing in soil and growing in water. Because the roots already exist, you’ll just need to help your pothos do its thing as best you can.
If you’re starting with cuttings (propagating your pothos) and trying to grow them in water from the very beginning, it could take up to two weeks for roots to form — but they won’t do it all on their own. Like any living thing, it would be ridiculous to place them in water, leave them alone, and expect them to thrive.
Propagating pothos cuttings in water is pretty straightforward as long as you provide the proper care. Make sure your vine cutting is taken right below a node and that any leaves in the surrounding area are removed so that they don’t drown in the water and prevent the growth of new roots.
Once you have a healthy cutting, place it in a container of water and put it in indirect sunlight. Start the fertilization process right away (generally once a month or so) to be sure the water has nutrients for the cutting to thrive. You’ll want to use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer so that the plant has immediate access to it, and make sure to use the right amount so you don’t risk excess nutrients causing algae.
A healthy pothos plant can live up to 10 years! Things that affect this can include its environment, possible infection, rotting, fungus, etc. As long as you follow the proper care tips (whether growing in water or in soil), you should have a beautifully thriving pothos plant for as long as you want it. And remember, because it’s a sturdy plant, it can withstand a bit of accidental neglect. So missing a step or two now and then won’t be the end-all, be-all for your precious pothos.
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