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How to Care for Houseplants Growing in Water

August 04, 2022 2 min read

water houseplants

Growing your plants in vases of water can be a lot easier than growing them in soil. It eliminates soil-borne fungi and diseases and it’s much less messy to deal with. The biggest advantage is obvious – you’ll never have to water your plant again!

To grow successfully in water, there are two main points to remember. You will have to make sure the water is providing enough oxygen and nutrients to your plant roots, just like you would with any other potting medium. Here’s how.

Adding nutrients to the water


Fertilizing becomes much more important when you are growing in water. Unlike soil mixes, the water won’t come with traces of nutrients to keep your plant going.

As with a soil or mineral-based potting mediums, you need to keep a regular fertilizing schedule.

Simply put a few drops of liquid fertilizer in, adjusting the amount for the volume of water in the container as per manufacturer instructions.

Add fertilizer to the water as often as you would for a soil potting medium. Remember that you should only fertilize plants during spring and summer.  

Oxygenating the water

Karim Ghantous

You will need to change the water in your vase or container quite frequently to maintain oxygen levels for the roots.

Plant roots need oxygen to maintain their metabolic functions. Roots take up oxygen and use it to make energy for absorbing the nutrients they need to grow. This process is known as root respiration.

The houseplants that grow well in water can take up oxygen from both soil and water potting mediums.

When roots use oxygen for their nutrient uptake activities, it releases carbon dioxide as a by-product. Eventually, carbon dioxide levels in your plant’s water vase will accumulate, leaving your roots without the oxygen they need.

To maintain oxygen levels in your plant vase, change the water entirely every two weeks or so. Changing the water is also beneficial for the plant as stagnant water can encourage harmful bacteria to build up.

When you re-fill your plant vase, use a high-pressure burst from the tap or hose. Even better, use a tap that dispenses bubbled water.  

Remember that colder water holds oxygen better, so you should top up more frequently (about every fortnight) in the summertime.

You can eliminate the need to keep changing water by using a simple air pump like you would in a fish aquarium.

Apart from changing the water to maintain oxygen levels and feeding the plant.

Preventing algae build-up

One more reason to change the water frequently is to prevent algae and bacterial build-up. This is more common in clear glass containers because it allows sunlight to pass through and nurture the algae.

If you are getting excess algae build-up, remove the growth and move the container to a position with less sunlight. If the houseplant needs a lot of bright sunlight, you can solve the algae problem by finding a dark-tinted glass container or switching to a ceramic container instead.

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