Can Philodendron Grow in Water? – Expert Advice 2024

Last Updated on May 7, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

Can you believe philodendrons, those leafy wonders that spice up any room, can thrive just bobbing in water? Let’s spill the tea on this slick gardening trick.

Can philodendron grow in water? You bet! These guys are the chameleons of the plant world. Usually, they dig their roots into soil, but flip the script, and they’re all about that water life. Here’s the lowdown.

Philodendrons are not just pretty faces; they’re tough cookies that adapt like champs. Think of them as your go-to plant pal for any corner of your pad. But here’s a kicker—swap out their dirt digs for a water pad, and they still flourish. This magic trick is all thanks to something called hydroponics. It’s like giving your greens a pool party where they soak up water and nutrients without any soil crashing the bash.

Why go hydro? Less mess, fewer pests, and hey, it’s a cool convo starter. Whether you’re a green thumb guru or just starting, flipping your philodendron to a water world might just be your next big move in the plant game.

Understanding Philodendrons

What’s the Deal with Philodendrons?

Philodendrons are like the friendly neighbors of the plant world. They’re easy to get along with and pretty chill about where they live. You’ve probably seen these green beauties hanging out in homes, offices, and maybe even your grandma’s kitchen window. Let’s break down what makes philodendrons tick.

Common Types of Philodendrons

  • Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum): True to its name, this one flaunts heart-shaped, glossy leaves that can make any plant lover swoon.
  • Split-leaf Philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum): Big, bold, and dramatic. These leaves aren’t just split; they’re downright theatrical.
  • Philodendron Xanadu: A bit more compact, perfect for smaller spaces but still wants to spread its lovely lobed leaves.

Table 1: Popular Philodendron Types and Their Traits

Philodendron TypeLeaf ShapeIdeal for
Heartleaf PhilodendronHeart-shapedSmall spaces, hanging baskets
Split-leaf PhilodendronLarge, deeply lobedLarger rooms, statement pieces
Philodendron XanaduLobed, denseOffices, compact areas

How Do Philodendrons Roll in Soil?

Philodendrons aren’t picky, but they do like their creature comforts. Here’s the scoop on keeping them happy in soil:

Light: These plants are like moody artists; they love bright, indirect light. Think of it as their muse. Direct sunlight? Nah, too harsh, it could bleach their beautiful leaves.

Water: When it comes to water, think of Goldilocks. Not too much, not too little, just right. Let the top inch of soil dry out before you give them a drink.

Soil: They dig loose, well-draining soil. A mix that’s too heavy? That’s a no-go, as it could lead to soggy roots.

Humidity: They enjoy a bit of a muggy vibe. If your home is dry, a small humidifier or a regular misting session will make them feel right at home.

Philodendrons are pretty laid-back but keep these tips in mind, and they’ll be happy campers. Whether in a cozy corner or by a sunny window, they bring the vibe, and hey, they’re pretty forgiving if you miss a watering or two.

Benefits of Growing Plants in Water

grow philodendron in water

What’s Hydroponics, Anyway?

Ever thought about ditching soil and just letting your plants chill in some water? That’s what hydroponics is all about. It’s like giving your plants a spa day, every day, without the mess of dirt. This method isn’t just for high-tech farmers; it’s perfect for regular folks looking to add some green to their space with minimal fuss.

Why You Might Want to Go Water-Only

Growing plants in water isn’t just for showing off. It’s practical, and it’s got some real perks:

Less Mess: Say goodbye to dirt under your fingernails. Water growing means you can forget about soil spills and the constant cleanup. Your home stays cleaner, and who doesn’t love that?

Fewer Pests: Bugs love soil because it’s like a buffet for them. Take away the soil, and you take away one of their favorite hangouts. Less pest trouble means healthier plants and fewer headaches for you.

No More Over or Under-Watering: Getting the water balance just right can be tricky with soil. Too much or too little, and your plants aren’t happy. With hydroponics, your plants take up water as they need it, so you can ditch the guesswork.

Happy Plants, Happy Home: Plants grown in water often show faster growth, and let’s be real, they look pretty cool doing it. It’s a great conversation starter when someone spots your water-grown philodendron thriving in its glass vase.

Growing plants in water might seem a bit out there, but once you try it, you might find it’s a game changer. It’s simple, slick, and a bit sci-fi, but most importantly, it works. Why not give your green friends a new way to thrive and see how they like it?

Feasibility of Growing Philodendrons in Water

Can Philodendrons Really Thrive in Water?

You might wonder if your philodendron can ditch the dirt and still thrive. Well, it turns out that philodendrons aren’t just survivors; they’re downright adaptable.

When you shift them from soil to a water setting, they don’t just cope—they flourish. This adaptability is thanks to their robust root systems, which can absorb nutrients directly from water just as effectively as they do from soil.

This switch to water isn’t just a novelty. It taps into the method of hydroponics, a technique where plants grow directly in nutrient-rich water.

This method isn’t only for the fancy or high-tech growers; it’s perfectly viable for regular plant lovers looking to reduce mess and increase the ‘cool factor’ of their indoor gardens.

Philodendron Varieties That Excel in Water

Not all philodendrons will handle the switch to hydroponics with the same ease, but some are practically made for life in water.

Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum): This variety is a star when it comes to water growth. Its roots adapt quickly to hydroponic environments, making it a popular choice for those new to soil-less plant care.

Philodendron ‘Brasil’: Similar to the heartleaf but with stunning variegated leaves, this type takes to water like a fish, showing off vibrant growth and lush, trailing vines.

Table 2: Philodendron Varieties and Their Water Growing Compatibility

Philodendron TypeCompatibility with WaterGrowth Observations
Heartleaf PhilodendronHighThrives, with fast root development and vigorous leaf production
Philodendron ‘Brasil’HighMaintains vibrant color and grows robustly in hydroponic setups

Growing philodendrons in water might seem like stepping into a science fiction novel, but it’s a practical, stylish, and mess-free way to enjoy these versatile houseplants.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a curious newbie, giving your philodendrons a swim might just be the next big thing in your plant care routine.

Step-by-Step Guide to Transitioning Philodendron to Water

Picking the Right Philodendron

First things first, you want to make sure you’ve got a healthy philodendron to start with. Not every plant is cut out for the big move from soil to water. You’re looking for a plant with vibrant leaves, no signs of pests or diseases, and a strong, robust structure.

Check the leaves for any yellowing or browning, which can indicate that the plant isn’t in the best shape. Healthy roots are also a must—they should look firm and white or light brown, not slimy or black.

Transitioning Your Philodendron to Water: A Step-by-Step Guide

Ready to give your philodendron a new home in water? Here’s how to make the switch smooth and mess-free:

  1. Clean the Roots: First off, gently remove your plant from its soil. Shake off the excess dirt and rinse the roots under lukewarm water. This step is crucial to avoid introducing any soil-borne diseases to your water setup.
  2. Choose the Right Container: Grab a container that’s just the right size for your plant. It should be big enough to accommodate the roots without squishing them. Glass vases or jars are perfect because they let you keep an eye on the water level and root growth.
  3. Water Prep: Fill your container with room-temperature water. If you’re tap water savvy, let it sit out overnight to let any chlorine evaporate, or use filtered water. This keeps things gentle for your philodendron’s roots.
  4. Submerge the Roots: Place your plant in the container so that the roots are submerged, but keep the leaves and stem above water. This setup helps prevent rot and lets your philodendron breathe easy.
  5. Location, Location, Location: Set your newly potted water baby in a spot with indirect sunlight. These plants love light but not direct sunshine, which can be too harsh and cause the leaves to burn.
  6. Maintain the Water: Change the water every week to keep it fresh and free from any build-up. This is key to preventing algae growth and keeping your plant healthy.
  7. Watch and Enjoy: Over the next few weeks, watch as your philodendron starts to adapt to its new aquatic lifestyle. You might notice new root growth or even new leaves sprouting, which means your plant is happy in its new setup!

Maintenance and Care in Water

How to Care for a Philodendron Growing in Water

Keeping your philodendron healthy in water is a bit different from traditional soil-based care, but it’s not tricky. The key is to maintain a clean and stable environment. Start by making sure your water is always clean.

Change the water completely every week to prevent any build-up of salts or minerals that might come from tap water. This keeps your plant’s environment fresh and welcoming.

The Importance of Water Quality, Light, and Nutrients

Water quality can make or break your water-grown philodendron. Tap water is often treated with chlorine and can contain other minerals that might not be ideal for your plants. Using distilled or filtered water can be a better choice to avoid any unwanted chemicals.

Light is another critical factor. Philodendrons thrive in bright, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can scorch their leaves, while too little light can cause them to become leggy and weak. Find a sweet spot near a window where the light is filtered through a curtain or slightly shaded.

Nutrients are the next big thing. Unlike soil, water doesn’t naturally contain nutrients. You’ll need to add a liquid hydroponic fertilizer to the water every few weeks, depending on the product’s instructions. This will provide your philodendron with all the necessary nutrients it needs to grow lush and vibrant.

Tips on Monitoring Plant Health and Troubleshooting Common Issues

Keep an eye on your philodendron for any signs of distress. Yellowing leaves can indicate too much direct sunlight or an imbalance in water nutrients. If the leaves start to look brown and crispy, the air might be too dry, and increasing humidity around the plant can help.

If your philodendron’s growth seems stunted or the leaves lack their usual vibrant green, it might be time to check if it’s getting enough nutrients or if the water needs a refresh. Adjusting these elements usually perks them right up.

Watching for root health is crucial. In water, roots should be firm and white. If they start to turn brown or mushy, it could be a sign of root rot. This often happens if the water isn’t changed frequently enough or if the container is too crowded. Making sure there’s enough space and clean water can quickly resolve this issue.

Maintaining a philodendron in water might sound like it needs a lot of attention, but once you get into the rhythm, it’s a breeze. These plants not only add a splash of green to your space but also bring a bit of the outdoors inside, all without the mess of soil.

Challenges and Considerations

Potential Drawbacks of Growing Philodendrons in Water

Growing philodendrons in water is cool and all, but it’s not without its hiccups. One of the main challenges is the risk of root rot. This nasty problem can sneak up if the water isn’t changed regularly or if the plant gets too much of a good thing, like nutrients.

Another issue might be algae growth, which can get a bit wild if your setup gets too much light or if the water’s standing still for too long.

Solutions and Preventive Measures

But don’t sweat it, there are plenty of ways to dodge these troubles and keep your water-grown philodendron happy:

  1. Regular Water Changes: Keep things fresh! Changing the water every week helps prevent root rot and stops algae from turning your plant’s home into a green swamp. It’s like hitting the reset button for your plant’s environment.
  2. Control Nutrient Levels: Just like us, plants can have too much of a good thing. Overfeeding your philodendron with nutrients can hurt it. Stick to the recommended amount of hydroponic fertilizer and keep an eye on how your plant responds. Adjust as needed to avoid nutrient burn, which can show up as brown or crispy leaf tips.
  3. Watch the Light: Algae love light just as much as your philodendron does, but too much can encourage algae to take over. Position your plant in a spot with bright, indirect light and maybe even use a light filter like a sheer curtain to soften the intensity.
  4. Keep an Eye on Root Health: Regularly check the roots. They should be white and firm, not slimy or discolored. If you spot any signs of rot, trim off the affected parts and change the water immediately to give your plant a clean start.
  5. Use Clean Containers: Make sure the container you use for your philodendron is as clean as can be. A good rinse and a scrub between water changes can go a long way in preventing issues.


So, we’ve walked through the nitty-gritty of growing philodendrons in water, from the basics of setting it up to keeping your green buddy thriving without a speck of soil. Sure, it might sound a bit out there, putting your plant in water and expecting it to grow. But as we’ve seen, with a bit of care and the right moves, it’s not just possible; it’s pretty rewarding.

Switching your philodendron to water means saying goodbye to messy soil changes and constant pest battles. It’s a cleaner, sleeker way to keep plants indoors. Plus, it’s cool to see those roots stretch out in a clear vase.

But remember, this isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it deal. Keeping the water fresh, the nutrients balanced, and the lighting just right will make sure your water-grown philodendron doesn’t just survive but thrives.

Go ahead, give it a try. It’s a simple switch that could bring a new kind of green to your indoor space. Who knows? It might just turn into your new favorite way to grow plants.