34 Best Plants That Grow In Water (Without Hydroponics)

If you have tried your luck in soil gardening and cannot get the hang of it, growing plants in water might be the best fit for you.

Through this, you would avoid getting your hands dirty, dig up, mulch now and then or be bitten by pesky insects.

You would find out that there are a lot of plants to choose from without setting up a full-blown hydroponics system.

In this post, we will outline some of the plants that you can grow in water including helpful growing tips to ensure that they will grow like how you expect them to.

If you have one now or have just embarked on this kind of planting, you will find here some useful information about how you can make your water plants grow more robustly so read on. 

best plants that grow in water for indoors and outside

11 House plants that grow in water

You have to understand that some plants can grow roots in the water while others would drown. Propagating roots through water is not new for most plants but completely growing them in there is another thing.

It takes hardy and versatile indoor plants to be grown in water completely. To make growing in water possible for houseplants, amendments such as lines of water beads or expanded clay pebbles are used.

If you are considering experimenting or trying to grow houseplants indoors through water growing, here are some houseplants that you could totally grow in water. 

1. Begonia

Begonia

This one is a very attractive flowering plant. It is hardy, low maintenance, and is cultivated as an ornamental. It is known for its beautiful, showy flowers that could be hanged, potted, and grown indoors in water vases.

It bears bright colored blooms of pink, old rose, and bright red hues and is a popular cut flower in its own right.

Like the other featured house plants in this list, begonia cuttings are needed to grow them in water. Get at least 6inches of cut begonia stem with at least three leaves intact.

After this, put the stem cutting in a glass jar and fill it with enough water to cover all the nodes in the stem. Make sure that the water does not reach the leaves.

You can add liquid rooting hormones for the roots to sprout in two to three weeks because it really takes a while for this plant to root. Change the water in the jar once a week. 

2. Chinese Evergreen

Chinese Evergreen

To grow this on water, you need to cut around 6inches of the stem (taken just below the leaf node) from a healthy mother plant. Transfer that stem in a vase and then pour in enough water (just enough for the roots to be submerged).

It is said that the best water for this one would be rainwater but if it is not available, you can use tap water.

If you do so, you must leave the tap water out for a day just to make sure that the chlorine has all evaporated as it could affect the growth of the plant. This plant is pretty hardy so if you have issues while growing it on water, adding gel/water beads might help. 

3. Coleus

Coleus

This one comes in many varieties and each one is unique. It looks like the aglaonema but with larger, broader, and more unique colored leaves.

It has the same dotted pink or yellow freckles as linings in the leaves though. They can grow in water alone as long as you have a steady supply of liquid fertilizer.

Unlike typical stem cuttings, this one will have buds instead of nodes. Take one with at least six inches in length. Pull off the bottom leaves and leave only the top leaves.

Dip it in water with only the buds submerged and not the leaves.

Change the water every week and drop some liquid fertilizer once in a while. This one will give you red, green, and pink leaves in one. 

4. English Ivy

English Ivy

Contrary to mainstream claims, English ivies could be grown in water and not just for rooting purposes.

This means that after you transfer it on the water to the root, you can leave it there for as long as you want and it will just grow prolifically like it would on pots and in the soil. Again, cut off stems with at least one emerging leaf, preferably 4-6 inches.

Put them in a glass vase and pour in water. Make sure that only the stems are submerged and not the leaves.

Change the water now and then or when it is needed. You would know that it is time to change the water when the odor goes off and the color starts becoming yellow or brown.

The English ivy is also a hardy plant. It loves moist locations and is a roust creeper and ground cover. 

Related: Types of ivy plants

5. Geranium

Geranium

It is a popular indoor plant because it is prolific, hardy, and low-maintenance. It has bright colored and scented leaves that fill the house with its presence.

It will also bloom large and attractive bright pink flowers that will really make a bold statement indoors.

To grow it in water, you need to secure a healthy 4-6inches stem cutting cut just above the leaf node. Remove all leaves except those intact at the top.

Dip it in enough water and make sure that the leaves are not submerged.

Place it where it would get enough sunlight but not too direct. It will take a month for roots to shoot up. The good thing about this plant is that you could overwinter them indoors. 

6. Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo

If you believe in feng shui and want to grow plants in water, this one is a perfect choice. It symbolizes wealth, happiness, and prosperity.

If you follow strict feng shui traditions, there are specific locations and directions in which lucky bamboos should be planted.

Chinese beliefs indicate that the more stalks grown, the wealthier you will be. The best part about growing this one in the water is that you will only need a shallow dish for it.

All it needs is for its roots to be submerged in water. Adding pebbles to make sure that the roots will be intact also proves to be a good choice.

It is, however, quite picky when it comes to the water to use. It only wants to be distilled or purified water. Change the water once a week and occasional use of liquid fertilizer will keep it alive and healthy in water. 

7. Peace Lily

Peace Lily

This one is very regal looking when grown in water. To grow this on water, you have to take a mature peace lily out of its pot.

Put it in a basin with lukewarm water and gently shake off dirt until you see the roots. Cut offshoots and crown.

Leave the cut stem with roots, keeping at least four leaves intact. Put it in a jar and soak it up with water.

Change the water in the vase weekly. As for light requirements, peace lilies will benefit from bright, indirect light.

A few drops of liquid fertilizer can also be beneficial upon transferring in water. Dousing it with liquid fertilizer should be done every six weeks.

Lilies are basically water plants so do not be afraid of this one being grown in water. Even when grown directly in water, it will follow the same cycle as that of peace lilies potted in soil. 

8. Philodendron

Philodendron

This plant is very hardy and it does not really have problems when grown in water. It is known for being adaptive even to low-light locations and could survive in various water conditions.

As a matter of fact, they say that if you leave this plant in water for a year without changing it, the plant would still be green and healthy. Its dark, broad leaves are said to be able to absorb even the slightest light in the room.

To start off, cut a healthy 6-inches stem from the mother plant (just 0.25inches below the leaf node).

Spare 2-3 intact leaves. When you put it on water, make sure that all the nodes are submerged. That is just it for this plant and it is super hardy. It will just continue to grow roots while on water. Good room temperature will surely make it thrive more. 

9. Pothos

Pothos

It is also called the devil’s ivy because it can become invasive in the wild but when grown in water and vases, it will provide a fresh look indoors.

Aside from this, pothos is one of the eight most potent air purifying house plants. This is the reason why pothos are usually seen in offices and high traffic areas in the home such as the living room.

It is also a fresh sight in the bathrooms and the bedroom. You have to know, however, that this plant requires a tinted glass vase or any dark-colored jar. This is done to prevent algae build-up.

Dousing a bit of liquid fertilizer will also ensure that this plant is getting the right amount of phosphorus and nitrogen that it needs. Changing the water once a week is also needed for this plant. 

10. Spider plant

Spider plant

They are not considered as water plants but they can survive when grown in water. Instead of stem cuts, you will need plantlets for this one.

You will need to submerge the plantlets in water for three to six weeks and wait for the roots to sprout. After roots sprout, add expanding clay pebbles in the water.

The main struggle for this one is salt buildup. When its leaves become yellow, that could be a sign that the water already has too much salt.

This is why a weekly water change is recommended. Adding liquid fertilizer once a month will also help. 

11. Wandering Jew

Wandering Jew

If you want a colorful indoor plant that can be grown in water, this plant is a good choice. It has green, purple, and silver leaf colors.

It will make a beautiful trailing plant by the bookshelf or on coffee tables. Cut two to three stems from the mother plant and leave two leaves intact. Larger vases could accommodate six to eight stems.

Do not dip all the stems in the vase once and altogether. You have to separate them into cups for two days. This one is really fast-grower and you will see roots and new leaves after just 24 hours. 

9 Herbs that grow in water

Having herbs around, growing every day is one of the most satisfying things you could ever see. If you are a home cook, being able to clip herbs right from the kitchen or from the water vases you installed outside is a big convenience.

Growing herbs in water is actually one form of propagating them. It is like growing herbs from herbs. Here are some herbs that grow perfectly in the water. 

12. Basil

This herb is a classic Italian cooking ingredient with its savory fragrance. It is an important Mediterranean herb and it is what you use to make pesto.

Knowing how many pesto dishes we have come to love, it would be great to have a stable supply of basil at home.

It is used in pasta, sauces, soups, and even drinks. As soon as the mother plant gets at least 2inches of roots, it can be used as cutting to be regrown in water.

It is a fast grower and you will need a shallow dish for this one. You will see growth in just a week and you can have a steady supply of basil leaves after that. 

13. Chives

This herb is commonly mistaken for garlic but they are actually two different herbs. The taste is milder than garlic so it is like in the middle of onion and garlic. It is best known as a garnish before serving the dish.

It is also used in egg sandwich recipes, salads, soups, vegetable stocks, sauces, and omelets. But for you to grow chives, you need garlic cloves and a shot glass. Fill the shot glass with enough water for the clove to be submerged.

A quarter-inch of the clove should not be submerged underwater. After this, place it on a location (preferably windowsills) where it could get plenty of sunlight. Expect chives in a few days (maybe 3-4 days) stemming up from the clove. 

14. Lavender

Another therapeutic herb is the lavender. It is a popular herb because of its therapeutic effects and calming fragrance. It is used for essential oils, in candles but most popularly in teas.

It helps alleviate cramping, migraine, in boosting mood and it helps in inducing sleep when stressed.

In growing it in water, you need to get fresh stem cuts (at 2-3 inches in length) and dip it in an opaque jar. Place it in windowsills where it could get enough sunlight. You will see growth in two weeks and it will continue to do so until you have a steady supply of lavender. 

15. Lemon Balm

It is the perfect herb not only for dishes but also in de-stressing tea. Scientifically, lemon balm is known for its therapeutic contents.

It can aid in inducing sleep, reduce stress, and prevent indigestion problems. If you intend to propagate it through water growing, take stem cuts of about 3inches from a healthy mother plant.

Leave it with at least two to three top leaves. It is a fast and robust grower and you will see changes in a few days. It is prone to mildew so changing the water every day is a must. 

16. Mint

This herb can spruce up any pasta dish or drink so it would be handy to have a steady indoor supply of this plant.

It is also known for its medical properties specifically in treating almost all types of digestive problems. It is specifically helpful in soothing stomach ache, aids indigestion, and also in fighting infection thanks to its antibacterial property.

It is also a natural mosquito and insect repellant. Propagating it through water is easy peasy. All you have to do is to dip a stem cutting of about 2-3inches in a glass of water.

Choose thick stems and cut them just below the leaf node. Place it where it could get ample but indirect sunlight. If you live in a place where it is too hot, you can put ¾ water and propagate it like it was in a terrarium. Being a fast grower, you would see growth every day. Change water every three days. 

17. Oregano

This one is one of the most widely used herbs for cooking and is a popular medicinal plant from the mint family.

As a medicinal plant, it is known for its antibacterial properties. It is also rich in antioxidants and is cultivated worldwide for its known anti-aging compounds and cell regeneration effects.

It is also good at fighting infection and a steady source of calcium and potassium.

To grow it in water, you need to get a stem cut from a healthy oregano mother plant. The stem must be 4-6 inches in length and all leaves from the lower half of the stem should be removed.

Submerge the lower part of the stem in water. Change the water after three to four days. Roots will show after a week or two. This plant does not want distilled water so use tap or spring water instead. 

18. Rosemary

This one is a common herb and all because of good reasons. Aside from really spicing up savory dishes and soups, it also contains medicinal properties that help alleviate indigestion and make blood circulation better.

It also produces edible flowers that are known to be more flavorful than when dried as herbs. It is used mainly in poultry dishes, lamb, oily fish, pork, and of course, in cooking steaks.

You can grow your own indoor rosemary through water growing. It is a perennial shrub blooming with blue flowers during spring. For this to happen, you have to cut 3inches of rosemary stem from an already existing one.

Put it in a place where it could get ample sunlight like in windowsills. Change the water once a week to prevent algae buildup. The use of darker tinted vases is recommended.  

19. Sage

Nothing smells more like Thanksgiving dinner than the fragrance of sage. As have been said, it works well with thyme when it comes to poultry dishes like chicken and turkey dishes.

Aside from this, it is also known for its great medicinal properties. It is used mainly to treat stomach upset, indigestion, loss of appetite, flatulence, diarrhea, and heartburn.

In growing it indoors, either potting it or regrowing it in water are the best options. Like all the herbs listed here, you will need a 2-3inches of stem cutting and dip it in a shallow dish.

It needs sunlight so put it in your windowsill. After a week or two, it will grow to a steady herb supply. The good thing about this herb is that, no matter what you do, it will keep growing back. 

20. Stevia

This plant is getting a lot of fame lately because it is now being cultivated to be a substitute for sugar because of its low sugar, low-calorie content.

You can grow it indoors through the water. Get stem cuttings from a mother plant. Dip 2-3inches of stem cutting with at least two leaves intact in a shallow dish with water.

Put it in a clear glass jar and place it near the windowsill for sunlight. You have to watch this plant closely because it has the tendency to grow big even in water.

When it bears healthy leaves, you can pluck one or two anytime and boil it for sweet tea or add it as a natural sweetener for coffee. 

21. Thyme

This herb is considered as the sage’s right hand when it comes to poultry dishes. While the herb is used mainly through leaves but it also grows edible flowers.

Like the basil, thyme is also a Mediterranean herb and is used also for its medicinal properties.

It is good in relieving indigestion, sore throat, arthritis, stomachache, and diarrhea. For it to grow in water, you have to get a healthy stem cutting of about 3inches with the top leaves intact.

Dip it in enough water (not reaching the leaves though) and place it where it could have enough but indirect sunlight. It will start rooting after two weeks in the water. Change the water every three days. Use an opaque glass vase to prevent algae buildup. 

Vegetables You Can Regrow in Water

To be clear, you will not grow these vegetables directly in water unless you have a full-blown hydroponics system.

What we are talking about here is the fact that there are vegetables leftovers that we should not be throwing after peeling because they could serve a greater purpose in salads and in other cuisines.

You could easily make a fun time and encouraging activity for kids to show them how to regrow vegetables that they can eat. If you have been wondering about what vegetables you can regrow in water, here are some of them. 

22. Beet greens

Source

This one is a complete veggie. Not a lot of people would know but its leaves are also very nutritious. It has a lot of Vitamin A and a greater iron content compared to spinach.

They are great for soups, salads, pasta, and other vegetable dishes. Unlike other greens, beet greens have a delightful sweeter taste making it spice up the dish especially salad bowls.

To regrow it in water, you need to fill a shallow dish with water. Get the leaf top of the beet and place it in the dish upside down. Place it in the windowsill where it could get much sunlight.

Change the water every two days to prevent bacteria buildup. It easily grows and will provide you a steady supply of beets. 

23. Bok Choy

You will see this very often in Asian cuisines. It is sometimes called the Chinese cabbage and can be eaten raw, steamed, or cooked into food. It is commonly confused with pechay but the bok choy is more compact and has thinner stems.

It is also tastier and more crunchy than pechay so they are not really hard to differentiate. If we are being honest, bok choy actually grows in river and stream banks so it is not very new to water growing.

To grow it into the water, use the leftover base of the stem. Cut all the leaves off and then place it face up in a shallow dish with ample water.

This is really a fast grower and you will see some growth overnight starting from the base and then to the center. With the newly sprouted leaves, you can either continue growing the plant for continued harvest or you can transfer it into a soiled pot. 

24. Carrot Tops

To regrow carrots on water, you must preserve the carrot heads where the leaves are sprouting. To regrow, you will need a shallow dish, cotton balls, and at least a 3cm carrot top.

You need to line the dish with some cotton balls and stick the carrot top at the center of the cotton balls.

Instead of pouring in water in the dish, all you have to do is to keep the cotton balls moist with water. For the regrowth to be successful, place the dish in a location where it could get enough sunlight. 

25. Lettuce

The best type of lettuce to regrow in water would be romaine lettuce which by the way is very good for sandwiches.

For this, you have to cut one to two stems. Cut off all leaves. Dip the stem in a dish with one and half-inch water to produce roots. Place the dish where sunlight is ample.

The water should be changed every day for the next two weeks. If the regrown lettuce stays in the dish after the 12-day mark, except that it would be bitter and tasteless crunchy on the salad or sandwich. And also, it will turn blue-green in color instead of the rich green that we want. 

26. Leeks

Source

It follows the same regrowing pattern as green onions. They are a favorite for soup and savory dishes. It tastes a bit like an onion.

Adding to its fame in the veggie family is its notable crunch and firmness. The edible part of the leeks would the white parts at the leaf base up to the pale green part of the stem.

To regrow this in water, you have to cut ¾ to an inch of leek root end and place it in a glass or jar. Pour ¾ water in the jar to cover the roots.

Place it where ample sunlight could be received and change the water once a week. You will get regrow leeks after a week.

Add it to scrambled eggs, salads, and Asian dishes. Again, use an opaque or tinted glass or jar to avoid bacteria buildup or algae buildup in the jar. 

27. Green Onions

Source

Just to clarify, green onions and scallions are the same. Their closest relatives include shallots, leeks, chives, and garlic.

They are heavily used in a lot of dishes from savory ones, to soup and for garnishing. Rest assured that you will never have to buy green onions again if you master regrowing them on water.

Preserve one or two root ends and position them in a glass or jar. Add in ¾ inch of water and then place it in your windowsill.

They are fast growers and will supply you with fresh green onions every week. Just change the water regularly (once a week) and you will have a steady production of green onions. 

Edible plants that grow in ponds

Edible pond plants really come in handy as you could produce a sustainable and steady source of nutrient-rich veggies without weeding, mulching, and of course, watering.

There are a handful of interesting vegetables and salad greens that you can propagate in ponds. Aside from supplying you with food, these edible plants also are eye-catching as they grow. Here are some edible plants that you can grow in ponds.  

28. Taro

This edible plant is found mainly in the swamps of southeast Asia. It can be propagated through potting but it will grow well when planted at ponds’ edges or around any water feature.

The leaves have to be above water level though for it to grow as it needs to. The good thing about this plant is that it can be harvested even with young leaves. The roots can be harvested after six to eight months.

You can make your taro chips, taro soup, and more in no time. You have to be careful with raw taro leaves though because they are toxic and could cause kidney stones because it contains a compound called calcium oxalate. 

29. Sweet Potato Vine

This is not someone that would easily come to mind when it comes to edible aquatic plants. It is also considered as one of the fastest-growing pond plants out there. When grown in water, it will produce abundant greens that spread quickly.

It is good for soup and salad greens. Since they are robust growers, they can easily be invasive in ponds so cutting them regularly should be a steady maintenance activity.

The only drawback to this plant though is that it is toxic for animals including the fishes in ponds. They leave a bitter taste but steaming and boiling it could flush off the bitterness. 

30. Water Spinach

This swamp leaf is native to Asia and goes with many names. It is called kangkong, swamp cabbage, or water morning glory. It will thrive in tropical to subtropical climates and it could be grown through seeds in water (specifically in pond edges).

It spreads aggressively and could become invasive when uncontrolled. It is always a good idea to cut it back regularly. In four to six weeks, you can harvest the leaves in no time. You can either let it regrow or harvest the entire plant. It is often added to soups and stirs fry dishes. You can also just blanch it for salad. 

31. Lotus

This is basically a water plant niching in murky ponds or lakes and loves direct sunlight. It is the airy lotus stems that give it buoyancy making it float in the water.

You can also let it float indoors using a large glass container. It has to be deep enough for lotus roots to take hold. All you have to do is to take one stem with a visible bud and just dip it in the water. Roots will be visible in one to two weeks. Use tap water for this plant. 

Tropical plants that grow in water

As the term tropical plants imply, the plants on this list love moisture and humidity, sea breezes, and heavy rainfall. They are very hardy and will surely make a bold statement in your tropical garden.

They are all easy to grow, versatile across many soil types, and are easy to maintain. If you are looking for some tropical plants that you can grow in water, here are some that you can check out. 

32. Giant Horsetail

This one is a native to south-central America and bodes well with damp soils. With its jointed stems, you can easily mistake it for bamboo but with a more tropical flair in a water garden.

It has no flowers and no leaves and is used as a pond edger. It has a versatile growing habit and can survive in moist soil or in still water. To grow it in water, cut 3-4inches of the stem and put it where it could get ample but indirect sunlight. It is a fast grower, growing by runner and could aggressively spread in no time. 

33. Egyptian Paper Reed

This tropical houseplant is what you can call as a plant that is as old as time. It has been here since the beginning and is significant in ancient Egyptian civilization.

Its habitat includes ponds, river and lake banks. It was used in making reed baskets, canoes, strings, ropes, and shoes.

As a houseplant, it will look beautiful in pond gardens, near water features, and also in containers. As a container plant, it will also bode well in water vases with the shallow water level. 

34. Umbrella Grass

It is one of the toughest and most adaptive tropical plants out there. It is also called umbrella papyrus, umbrella sedge, or umbrella palm.

It loves damp locations or near water sources because it is basically a pond plant resembling water reeds to be exact. It grows tall, easy to maintain, unique looking, very sturdy, and adds a dramatic flair in the garden.

It will bode well with a wide range of light and temperature levels. It is, however, prone to diseases when under-watered. When in the wild, it is considered as invasive but as a houseplant, it really becomes very attractive as it ages. 

Conclusion

For this post, we have covered the plants that you could easily grow in water. We mentioned not only indoor plants but also herbs.

We also took note of veggies that you could easily regrow in water using parts that are usually thrown out as scraps. There are also water plants both edible and tropical that you could easily consider when trying to put up a pond garden.

At the heart of it all, you do not need an expensive, well-designed hydroponics system to grow plants in water because some plants are natural water survivors.

Growing plants in water revealed to us that there is an easier way to plant without getting down on the soil, digging up, watering, mulching, and weeding now and then.

As for herbs and edible plants, we have found a more sustainable planting and a growing scheme that can be done even by small kids (especially with vegetable scraps). So can you grow plants in water? Now we know that it is a resounding yes.

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