Can you grow Monstera deliciosa in water? Imagine the possibilities. A few Monstera plant cuttings. A beautiful glass vase or jar. You could have your very own lush, green plant that requires no soil to succeed.
But does it actually work?
In fact, the answer is yes. You can grow Monstera plant cuttings in water for quite a while if you care for it properly. However, you should be aware that it likely won’t grow as big as it would if it were grown in soil.
In this post, we’ll go through the various factors to consider if you want to grow a Monstera plant in water.
Let’s dive in!
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So Why Grow Your Monstera in Water?
We all enjoy having beautiful plants in our homes. But taking care of them can be time-consuming and expensive. Growing your Monstera in water can be easier, and it also gives you an interesting way to display your plant.
5 Advantages of Growing Your Monstera in Water
Here are some of the main advantages of growing your Monstera in water:
- You don’t have to deal with potting soil. This is a plus if you have pets or small children who like to dig in your potted plants from time to time.
- You don’t have to worry about underwatering or overwatering.
- Plants grown in water tend to have fewer problems with pests. For example, fungus gnats lay their eggs in soil, and the eggs later turn into larvae that eat the plant’s roots. This is a non-issue if your plant is growing in water.
- Plants grown in glass containers take up less room than those that are in a pot of soil.
- Let’s face it. They just look cool.
5 Disadvantages of Growing Your Monstera in Water
Here are a few disadvantages to consider before deciding if you want to grow your Monstera in water.
- Requires frequent water changes – You will need to change the water at least weekly, although every 2-3 days will be better.
- Algae – You may find algae growing on your plant’s roots. While it does not harm the plant, many people dislike it. I personally find it unattractive.
- Cloudy water – This is another aesthetic issue. The water can become cloudy as plant material dissolves. Cloudy water simply isn’t as visually appealing as clear water.
- Slimy roots – The roots can become slimy and start to smell bad.
- Smaller plant size – I mentioned this at the top, but it bears repeating. Typically one of the reasons that people like Monsteras is the large size. A Monstera won’t get really big if it’s grown in water.
How to Start Growing Your Monstera in Water
How do you get started now that you know the pros and cons of growing Monstera in water?
Step 1: Select a Container
Find a glass or ceramic container. I’m a fan of transparent or semi-transparent glass so that you can see the root system.
You should also choose a container that supports your plant so that it can stand upright. Bottles, jars, and vases with narrow necks work well. However, don’t choose something with a really skinny neck; you’ll want to be able to remove the plant from the container of water to tend to the roots.
Step 2: Put Your Monstera in the Container
If your plan is to propagate an existing Monstera, then take a cutting and add it to the container.
You can also convert a potted plant to hydroponics, but do be aware that this will be messy.
Carefully remove your plant from its pot and shake off as much soil as you can. Then, gently rinse the roots in lukewarm water to remove the excess soil. You may need to let the roots soak in a bucket of water to loosen the soil.
If you can’t get all the soil off, then don’t worry about it. After you transfer your plant from soil to water, its root system will change. Your plant will eventually shed the discolored soil roots as new water roots develop.
My preference is to propagate an existing Monstera. I don’t have the patience to get all the soil off a potted plant.
Step 3: Add Water
Add enough water to the container to cover the root system. Be sure to remove any leaves further down on the stem. You don’t want any leaves to be below the waterline. Roots will start to develop in two to three weeks.
Tips for Monstera Plant Care in Water
Just as if it were growing in soil, you’ll want to make sure that you’re giving your Monstera the right amount of light, temperature, and humidity. There are also some tips specific to hydroponic cultivation that you’ll want to keep in mind.
Monsteras do best in bright, indirect sunlight, so place the container accordingly.
Too much direct sunlight can burn their leaves. However, if your Monstera doesn’t get enough light, you may notice leggy growth as it reaches toward the light.
My Monstera lives on a table near a west-facing window where it gets a lot of indirect light every day.
Monsteras prefer higher humidity (around 60%). The humidity around your plant will likely be higher if it’s grown in water. You can get an inexpensive hygrometer to check the humidity where your plant is located.
If you find that the humidity is low and your plant doesn’t seem to be thriving, you can gently mist it every week or so. Misting your Monstera’s leaves will also help wash off any dust that accumulates.
Monsteras are tropical plants and prefer a warmer temperature. The best temperature for your Monstera is between 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit – i.e., normal indoor temperatures. Don’t expose it to temperatures below 55 degrees.
This is critical for successfully growing a plant in water. You’ll need to change the water often – at least weekly and possibly as often as every 2 or 3 days, if the water becomes discolored. (This is another reason that I prefer transparent containers. You can see what’s going on with the water.)
If you don’t change the water often enough, it will become stagnant and start to smell bad. Trust me, you don’t want that in your house.
What kind of water should you use?
You can use filtered or distilled water if you want to avoid high mineral content from ordinary tap water. You can also collect rain water if your tap water is hard.
If you use tap water, let it sit overnight so that the chlorine evaporates before you add it to your container.
I also recommend using room-temperature or lukewarm water. Cold water may shock your plant, and hot water will definitely damage it.
Fertilizer is a must for water-grown plants. When Monsteras are grown in water, you must give them the nutrients they would normally get from soil.
A balanced liquid fertilizer can be used to feed the plant once a month.
If you plan on keeping your Monstera in water for an extended period, then I recommend you use a hydroponic fertilizer. Otherwise, it may not receive all the nutrients it needs.
Take Care of the Roots
When you are changing the water, take a moment to check on your Monstera’s root system.
The main thing you want to look out for is root rot.
If you notice any black or slimy roots, then cut them off immediately. You don’t want root rot to spread. (Also, clean your pruning shears with alcohol afterward.)
Wash the remaining roots with 3% hydrogen peroxide to kill any bacteria and prevent further rot. Then, rinse the roots with fresh water before placing them back in the container.
Take Care of the Leaves
Just like you would a potted Monstera deliciosa, rotate your plant periodically so that it grows evenly on all sides. I like to rotate my plants a quarter turn every week.
Also, dust the leaves from time to time. Not only is this more aesthetically pleasing (nobody likes a dusty plant!), it helps your plant remain healthy.
And as mentioned earlier, you can lightly mist your plant to give it a humidity boost and clean the leaves.
Will Monstera Grow New Leaves in Water?
The answer to this is a qualified yes.
As long as your Monstera gets plenty of light, then it will often develop new leaves. But you’ll likely see older leaves drop off.
Remember, at the top, I said that a Monstera grown in water won’t achieve the same size as a Monstera grown in soil.
Monstera is not an aquatic plant in its natural habitat. So when you grow it in water, it’s not getting the nutrients it needs to flourish.
How Long Can Monstera Grow in Water?
So how long can Monstera live in water? Honestly, it’s hard to say.
I’ve seen stories of people keeping their Monstera plants in water for a few years, but I’ve never tried it myself.
It’s more likely to survive in water for a long time if you make sure the other conditions are ideal. For example, pay close attention to light, water changes, and fertilizer.
If your Monstera shows signs of stress in its aquatic environment, you can always plant it in potting soil. Then, when it perks up, take a new cutting and start again.
Propagating a Monstera in Water
Even if you don’t want to grow your Monstera in water for the long term, you may want to propagate it. Water propagation is an easy (and free) way to get new plants. Here’s how to do it:
Find a node: Look for a circular ring on the stem. Any place where a new leaf, branch, or stem is emerging is a node. If you see aerial roots, they are emerging from a node. (If you need more help finding a node, see below.)
Take a cutting: Take a stem cutting with several nodes or leaves. Be sure to use sharp, clean shears or a knife. You may want to wipe the blade(s) with rubbing alcohol before taking the cutting. Cut an inch or two below a node to ensure that you get the whole node.
Add to a container: Add your cuttings to a jar or vase filled with non-chlorinated water. (Let the water sit out overnight before adding your cuttings so that the chlorine will evaporate.) Position the cuttings so that they remain upright.
Place the container in bright, indirect light and change the water every few days. You’ll see roots start to develop in two or three weeks.
Let the root system develop: Watch for the largest fuzzy white roots to branch into numerous smaller feeder roots. When these smaller roots are at least 3 inches long, then you can plant your Monstera in potting soil. This will take about six weeks from the time the first fuzzy white root appears. Give it about 3 months total, from when you take the cutting until you transfer it to soil.
Transfer your Monstera to soil: Have your pot and soil ready before taking the plant out of the water. Place your new plant in the pot and pour soil around the roots until they are all covered. Keep the stem and nodes above the soil. Make sure to water it right away. The roots need to stay moist until the plant has adjusted to its new environment.
Why Do You Need a Node for A Monstera Cutting?
To successfully propagate a Monstera, you need to ensure that your cutting has at least one node. This is because the node is where all new growth originates, including leaves, stems, and aerial roots.
Without a node, the cutting will never grow into an independent plant. It may develop roots, but it won’t produce any new stems or leaves.
How to Identify a Monstera Node
Monstera nodes are thicker areas on the stem. You’ll see a circular ring around the stem. The ring may be lighter green or brownish.
If you see an area where the stem divides or a new leaf is emerging, that’s a node. Aerial roots also emerge from nodes, so that’s a sure sign. You can see examples of both in the picture below.
How Long Do Monstera Leaves Last Without a Node?
If you accidentally take a cutting without a node, don’t despair. You can put a Monstera leaf in a vase with fresh water just like you would cut flowers. As long as you change out the water frequently, it will last two or three weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Monstera is a super popular houseplant. It’s low-maintenance and hard to kill, which makes it perfect for your home or office. And the leaves are striking with their dramatic hole formations.
Yes! Monstera is a great plant for beginners. Just make sure that they get enough light and the right amount of water.
Ultimately, your Monstera will thrive better if it’s planted in soil. But it will do fine in water for quite a long time, as long as you treat it well.
Sure. Watering your plant with regular tap water is fine. However, for a plant growing in water, I recommend you let the water sit out overnight before adding it to the container so that the chlorine will evaporate.
If you are simply propagating your Monstera in water, then a regular balanced liquid fertilizer is fine.
However, if you plan to grow your Monstera in water for a long time, then I recommend a fertilizer designed for hydroponics, like this one.
Once a month (or whatever the instructions say on your fertilizer label).
Light conditions are an important factor for a thriving Monstera deliciosa. Monsteras like bright indirect light. If you find that your Monstera is getting leggy or the leaves are pale, then move it to a spot where it gets more bright light.
No, definitely not. Aerial roots in water will sprout. You’ll see the regular roots develop from the aerial roots once immersed in water.
It will take 2 or 3 weeks for the first roots to develop. If your cutting has new, actively-growing aerial roots, then it will root more quickly.
If you are propagating your Monstera in water, plan on about 3 months for a good root system to develop before transferring it to potting soil.
Basically, hydroponics is growing plants without soil. There are several different types of hydroponic systems. Some only use water; others use a soil substitute such as peat.
Growing your Monstera in water is an example of hydroponic gardening.
Aerial roots are above-ground roots that emerge from the Monstera stem. They tend to grow out of the plant’s nodes. Aerial roots absorb water and nutrients directly from the air, but their primary purpose is to help the plant attach to a support structure (such as a tree or moss pole).
Monstera can be easily propagated from stem cuttings. However, the section of stem that you cut must have a node. (See above for info on how to identify a node.) Without a node, you won’t be able to create a new plant.
Would I Recommend Growing Your Monstera in Water?
This really depends on you.
Can you keep up with the water-changing schedule (every few days)? If not, then you’ll be better off planting your Monstera in soil.
Do you struggle with underwatering or overwatering? If yes, then growing your Monstera in water is a good option for you.
There’s no doubt that a Monstera growing water is visually striking, especially if you can see the healthy root system.
Give it a try. It’s not a permanent decision. You can always transfer your plant to soil later on.