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If you’re looking for a carefree and low maintenance plant to grow indoors, look no further than the pothos. In fact, this plant is so easy going that you can grow the pothos in water. 

Keep reading to learn more about growing pothos in water and how you can start growing this plant hydroponically.

two pothos growing in water

Can pothos grow in just water?

Pothos can be grown in just water, without any soil or other additives. However, you cannot simply stick the pothos in water, forget about it, and expect it to grow healthy and strong. Instead, you will need to provide the plant with specific care.

This includes that, when growing pothos in water, you’ll need to provide good nutrients, the right type of lighting, warm temperatures, and regular watering changes. You will also need to use dechlorinated water, spring water, or distilled water.

To dechlorinate tap water, simply let the water sit out for about 24 hours before adding it to the container being used to grow your pothos.

pothos with root growing in water

How long can pothos live in water?

If grown properly, pothos can live in water for up to 10 years, which is the same lifespan for pothos grown in soil. The key to ensuring the pothos in water lives to its full potential is to properly care for the plant.

Keep in mind, however, that there are an abundance of factors that can affect how long a pothos lives, and this is true for pothos growing in water as well as ones growing in soil.

Can I keep my pothos in water forever?

As long as you are giving the pothos in water the care it needs, you can keep it in water forever. This will require changing the water every few weeks or when it gets murky, and ensuring the plant has the right type of nutrients to keep it strong and healthy for years to come.

Can I keep a big pothos in water?

Even big pothos plants can be kept in water. As long as the plant’s needs are met, you can grow any size pothos in water. Keep in mind, however, that the bigger the plant, the more nutrients it will need.

Since nutrients are vital to ensure the plant grows successfully in water, you may need to feed bigger pothos more often.

Related: 6 Easy Steps to Turn Your Large Pothos into a Giant

How do you grow pothos in water only?

Pothos are one of the many houseplants that can happily grow in water. But it does require a specific set of care and growing requirements to achieve success with this venture. 

With that said, however, there isn’t really much difference when it comes to growing pothos in water vs soil, as you’ll see below.

1. Take a cutting

If you want to use a cutting to grow in water, you will first need to select a piece of stem that measures about 3 to 5 inches and has several leaves. Use a clean pair of pruning shears to snip off the stem and then remove just the lower leaves.

Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone and then place the stem in dechlorinated water. Set the container in an area where it will receive bright but indirect light.

You may also be interested in: 6 Simple Steps to Prune Your Pothos (Ultimate Guide)

2. Transfer the cutting

Set the cutting in an area where it will be undisturbed and get indirect sunlight. Allow the cutting to grow roots, which can take several weeks. During this time, you will need to change the water once a week.

When the roots reach 4 inches long, transfer them into the container you will be growing the pothos in. Use water that has been dechlorinated. Alternatively, use filtered, distilled, or spring water for growing pothos in water.

3. Give the right type of light

Pothos do love sun, but too much of the wrong type can lead to leaf damage. For the best results and to ensure your pothos gets the light it needs to thrive,  set the pothos in an area where it will have bright sun that is indirect.

Pothos can tolerate some low light conditions, but this doesn’t provide optimal growth. With that said, however, if the options are either direct sun or low light, it is best to go with less light.

growing pothos in water on the table

4. Fertilizer the plant

Pothos will benefit from a monthly feed during the spring and summer months, which is when this plant is actively growing. Use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer and apply at 1/2 its strength.

My top pick: My preferred liquid fertilizer for pothos plants is the Triple 10 All Purpose Liquid Fertilizer (check the latest price here). It’s incredibly easy to use with just the right balance of nutrients for your pothos – not to mention that it’s great value.

5. Change the water

You cannot simply stick the pothos in water and then leave it to its own devices. This is one of the quickest ways to kill the plant. You will instead need to actively care for it and give it the best chance of survival.

This means changing the water whenever it looks cloudy or about once every week or so.

6. Warm temperatures

Pothos are a tropical plant, so it is only natural that they would need warm temperatures all year round. The good news is that most homes are kept at the ideal growing temperatures for this plant, which range between 65 and 85 degrees.

How long does it take for pothos to root in water?

It can take as little as 7 to 14 days for pothos to root in water, though most people won’t see roots starting to form for 3 or more weeks. You can help speed up the process by dipping the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone immediately after cutting it from the plant.

Rooting hormone isn’t a requirement to propagate or root pothos, but it does help cut the time down a little. Rooting hormone is available at most garden centers, as well as from various online merchants.


Can pothos grow in water without fertilizer?

Pothos can grow in water without fertilizer, although the plant won’t be as healthy, strong, or grow as quickly. Not providing the plant with the much needed nutrients it gets from fertilizer can also leave the plant weak and unable to fight off any potential diseases, pests, or other problems that can attack it.

In all honesty, you should always give a pothos, especially one that is growing in water, fertilizer, since it won’t receive the nutrients that a plant normally gets from the soil.

If you’re worried about fertilizing the pothos incorrectly, don’t be afraid to ask the associate at your local nursery or even reach out to a garden club to find out how to properly feed your pothos in water.

aquarium with pothos growing in water

Can pothos live in a fish tank?

You can successfully grow pothos in water with fish. In fact, adding pothos to an aquarium provides a wide array of benefits, including helping to clean and filter the water, providing cover and protection for the fish, and ensuring your aquarium looks great. 

However, that doesn’t mean you should immediately dig up your planted pothos and stick it in your fish tank.

A pothos in a fish tank can also cause some problems, such as taking over the aquarium, potentially harming other aquatic plants, and even absorbing too many nutrients in the water. Additionally, you should start growing pothos in water by using a cutting and not an established plant.

While it is possible to grow a mature or established pothos in water, it will take longer for this plant to acclimate to the new environment and may even lose leaves, wilt, and look downright sad. The good news, however, is that after some time, the plant should pounce back to its old safe again.

Related: 6 Simple Steps for Pothos in Aquariums to Thrive

Can pothos grow fully submerged?

Pothos in water shouldn’t be fully submerged, and only the roots and part of the stem should remain underwater. This is because the pothos isn’t actually an aquatic plant, so its leaves don’t have the ability to take in nutrients in the water.

What will happen instead is that the submerged leaves will start to die and potentially rot, which can cause various problems. Not only will it turn the water dirty more quickly, but it will also invite pests and diseases to come on over to your pothos.

That is why it is important to make sure the leaves of the pothos stay above the water at all times.

Find out more about: 9 Clear Signs of Pothos Root Rot (and How to Fix It)

Why is my pothos dying in water?

If your pothos is dying in water, it is typically because you are not providing the plant with the needed care that is required to keep this plant alive. Step back and reevaluate how you have been caring for the plant. Think whether or not you have given the pothos all the things it needs to thrive in water.

If you cannot confidently say you have, then that tells you all you need to know about why the pothos in water is dying. The first step in correcting a problem is to determine what is causing it, and not giving the plant the proper care will quickly cause it to die off.

Make sure you are regularly replacing the water, while also giving the pothos in water fertilizer. Also, ensure it is getting bright, indirect light, and temperatures that are between 65 and 85 degrees. 

Additionally, do not allow the foliage of the pothos to be submerged in water, since this can increase the chance of pests attacking your plant or diseases like bacterial leaf spot on your pothos.

indoor pothos growing in water

Why is my pothos in water turning yellow?

When a pothos in water is turning yellow, it is usually the cause of too much light. Try to move the pothos and its container out of direct sunlight and instead set it in a location where it can get indirect light.

Another potential cause of a pothos turning yellow is that it is lacking nitrogen. Try refreshing the water and adding fertilizer to help boost the plant. After a few weeks, you should see your pothos is back to looking like it’s regal self once again.