If you’ve been wondering about indoor plants that grow in water, the list of possible options might well surprise you. There are plenty of hydrophilic plants that don’t need anything else but water to grow!
I’ve grown many plants in water myself, and it’s actually very easy to do. Just take a cutting (with a node included) from your plant, pop it into water, using a propagation station or just a glass, and watch it grow!
Based on that experience, I’ve come up with a list of 10 indoor plants that can grow in water. Each guide covers sunlight, toxicity and propagation guidance, so read on to find the perfect hydrophilic plant for you.
Table of Contents
Plants That Grow in Water
1. Chinese Evergreen
With lush, tropical-style foliage, the Chinese Evergreen is one of the easiest plants that grow in water. The Aglaonema Widuri has a blend of dark and light green foliage, variegated with dark pink and chartreuse hues. The hot pink beauty prefers a bit more sunlight than its darker relatives, but still should be kept in indirect, low light conditions. It’s one of the pretty pink plants that I absolutely love.
Take a cutting that’s at least 4 inches (10 centimeters) long. You want at least a couple of inches underwater, plus a few leaves above the surface.
Chinese Evergreen is a good low light indoor plant. Minimal to medium levels of sunlight provide the ideal conditions for growth.
Like some of the other plants in this guide, Chinese Evergreen (or Aglaonemas) contains calcium oxalate crystals that are insoluble. These can cause severe digestive upsets in pets and humans.
Begonias can do very well when grown as indoor plants in water. This especially applies to wax, tuberous and rex variants. Rooting can take a few weeks, so you might have to wait a little while!
Take a smooth, sharp cutting from a healthy stem. Make sure to include a node, and once placed in water do refresh this regularly.
A begonia needs sunlight to thrive, but too much may scorch the leaves of some types. Try a window that’s east or north facing for indirect light.
Crystals of calcium oxalate which can cause intense irritation are present in begonias. It’s unlikely any creature would take more than a bite. To be on the safe side, do keep pets with a tendency to nibble well away.
If you like colorful foliage, then Spiderwort is one of the best indoor plants to grow in water. Both the purple and striped types grow well. It’s also known as the Wandering Jew or flowering inch plant, and belongs to the Tradescantia family.
Get up close to the Spiderwort parent plant and you’ll see little root nubs that haven’t yet developed. Take a 4 to 6 inch (10 to 15 centimeter) cutting that includes some of these. Strip away the bottom section of leaves before placing in water.
Ideally spiderwort likes indirect sunlight, though it’s a plant that tends to tolerate a range of conditions. Too much can scorch the foliage, so near but not right by a window is best.
Spiderwort is toxic to animals and people. So keep this one well away from any human or pet who might like to taste it!
Pothos is one of the best houseplants for beginners as it’s low maintenance and super easy to grow in water. This vining plant grows really fast. In fact it’s virtually impossible to kill it!
Using a sharp pair of scissors with clean blades, take a cutting that’s around 5 inches (13 centimeters) long. Snip immediately beneath a root node. The perfect specimen will have a few leaves and a couple of growth nodes.
Lots of natural sunlight is best for pothos. Mine hang in the window to make sure their leaves remain as colorful as possible.
Pothos is toxic to humans, dogs and cats, though it wouldn’t typically be fatal. The crystals of calcium oxalate within their leaves are very sharp and can actually tear the skin. So do be careful when handling this one!
5. Baby’s Tears
This cute little plant is named for its tiny flower-shaped leaves. It’s a pretty trailing plant to place or hang in your home, with an abundance of bright green foliage. I absolutely love mine and cannot believe how fast this plant grows in water.
A cutting that’s 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) in length is what you want. Remove any leaves that would be below the water line to prevent rotting.
Baby’s Tears like moderate sunlight. Just think how easily those delicate little leaves could become damaged! Bright but indirect light is best.
Baby’s Tears – or Soleirolia soleirolii – aren’t toxic to pets or humans.
6. African Violet
African Violets are one of the most superb hydrophilic plants that can grow in water, and their colorful flowers will brighten up your home. Within about a month you can create a new version of the parent plant.
Pick a healthy-looking leaf. Make a clean, sharp cut so you have the full leaf plus about 2 inches (5 centimeters) of stem. Place this in a vessel with a narrow neck to support the leaf.
A north or east facing window is good for an African Violet, which doesn’t like too much direct light. Too much sunlight can scorch the leaves.
African Violets aren’t toxic to people nor to pets. So it’s a nice safe plant to grow in a home with animals or young kids!
With striking, colorful leaves, Coleus is another one of the most beautiful indoor plants that grow in water. Feeding this plant once a month can help nurture the best specimen.
Take a 6 inch (15 centimeter) cutting and strip the leaves from the bottom two thirds before placing in water.
Coleus likes plenty of sunlight, so placing it on a sunny sill or even hanging in the window is ideal.
This house plant is toxic to cats and dogs, so keep them away from it if they’re likely to touch. Contact may result in a rash or even minor burns to the skin. For humans, consumption could cause a gastrointestinal upset.
8. Lucky Bamboo
Lucky Bamboo is often sold in a pot of water rather than soil, so it’s the ideal indoor water plant. All you need is something to hold it securely in place, such as some small stones at the bottom of the container.
Using clean, sharp scissors, take a cutting that’s around 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) long. Cut as near to the parent stalk as you can. Leaving at least a set of leaves, strip the foliage from the bottom half before placing in water.
Lucky Bamboo is one of those plants that can tolerate some shade. Indirect sunlight is best, as it requires this to grow well. Keeping this plant in a bright room can be enough for it to thrive.
This plant poses no danger to humans, so the kids are safe. It is toxic to cats and dogs, however. So keep it out of the reach of your four-legged friends!
Like Pothos, various species of Philodendron make ideal indoor plants in water. Some are trailing, while others grow more upright. The vining kind are the best ones to grow in water.
Make a clean cut just below a leaf node. A cutting with a few leaves and nodes present is perfect.
Partial shade is ideal for Philodendron – mine live on my plant shelf. Don’t place this plant in direct sunlight.
Philodendron is toxic to animals and humans, so do keep it away from pets and small children. Which is why a wall shelf is the ideal location!
10. Soft-stemmed herbs
Any herb with a soft stem will be one of the best indoor plants that can grow in water. So think basil rather than rosemary, for example. While woody-stemmed herbs might survive, rot is more likely to set in – which doesn’t look or smell great!
The list of herbs with soft stems includes thyme, dill, coriander, basil, mint, parsley, marjoram and tarragon. Avoid the likes of bay leaves, sage and rosemary which have woody stems.
Using clean, sharp scissors, take a cutting from the soft stem of a mature, established herb plant.
A herb cutting needs lots of indirect sunlight to grow well – in water or in soil. So do place your container close to a sunlit window sill.
When it comes to herbs and toxicity this one speaks for itself, as they’re used as ingredients in the food we eat! Various herbs may poison pets, though. So check out a useful list of plants that may poison animals here.
Plants That Grow in Water: The Conclusion
If you were wondering what plants can grow in water, I hope this guide has helped answer that question.
From a supply of fresh herbs to add to your meals to pretty plants with colorful leaves or flowers, there are plenty of house plants that will grow well in water.
If you have any questions on plants that grow in water, please do drop those below in the section provided. I’ll always do my best to help!
Check out more of our plant care guides below: