Can Arrowhead Plant Live in Water? Expert Advice Revealed

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Arrowhead plants, also known as Syngonium or nephthytis, are recognized for their arrow-shaped leaves and are a popular choice among houseplant enthusiasts. These versatile plants are known for their adaptable nature and can thrive in a variety of environments. Many people wonder whether arrowhead plants can live and grow in water rather than soil.

The answer is yes, arrowhead plants can indeed grow in water. This characteristic makes them an attractive choice for those looking to explore alternative growing methods. To ensure successful arrowhead water growth, it’s essential to follow the proper steps, such as selecting a healthy stem, clipping it below the node, and placing it in a jar with water source. Within a few weeks, roots will begin to develop, and you’ll have a thriving arrowhead plant growing happily in water.

This unique growing technique has various benefits and appeals to individuals seeking low-maintenance, aesthetically pleasing options for their indoor spaces. Growing arrowhead plants in water eliminates the need for frequent repotting and provides an exciting opportunity to watch the root system develop, creating a living piece of art.

Arrowhead Plant Basics

Plant Characteristics

Arrowhead plants, also known as Syngonium, are versatile and popular indoor plants due to their ability to adapt to a variety of environments. Their distinct arrowhead-shaped leaves come in a range of colors, including green, red, pink, and white. They are known for their ability to grow easily in water by placing a healthy stem cutting in a jar or bottle filled with water. Within a few weeks, roots will start to develop, and the plant will thrive.

These plants are also low-maintenance, only requiring water when 50%-75% of the soil volume is dry. They prefer temperatures between 65-80°F during the day and above 60°F at night. Humidity is also essential for their healthy growth, as they’re native to areas with high humidity levels.

Natural Habitat

Arrowhead plants are native to Central and South America, where they grow in a variety of environments including tropical rainforests and swampy areas. Their ability to grow easily in water is a result of their natural habitat and the need to adapt to wet conditions. They are particularly popular for indoor cultivation due to their flexibility in adapting to different growing conditions and water-based growing methods.

In their natural habitat, arrowhead plants grow as vines, often climbing trees and other structures. Their aerial roots help them attach to surfaces and absorb moisture from the air, making them a perfect candidate for water-based growing methods as well as traditional soil-based methods. Whether you choose to grow your arrowhead plant in water or soil, they’re an attractive and adaptable addition to your indoor garden.

Adapting Arrowhead Plant to Water Conditions

Root Adaptations

Arrowhead plants, or Syngonium podophyllum, can adapt well to growing in water-based environments. Their roots can change their structure and form depending on the growing conditions they are exposed to. When planted in soil, arrowhead plants develop thick roots that take in water and nutrients through their absorptive cells. However, when put in water, these absorptive cells change, allowing the roots to efficiently take in the nutrients and water they need to thrive.

It is important to use a proper propagation method to help the plant successfully transition to growing in water. You can cut a healthy stem that has at least one node and place it in a vase or container filled with water. Over time, the roots will grow in the water, adapting to the new environment and absorbing nutrients directly from the liquid.

Plant Maintenance

Growing an arrowhead plant in water requires regular maintenance to keep it healthy and thriving. Here are a few tips on maintaining your water-adapted arrowhead plant:

  • Water quality: Use filtered or distilled water rather than tap water, as it is free of chemicals and minerals that could harm the plant.
  • Nutrient supplements: Since the water alone might not provide all the necessary nutrients for your arrowhead plant, adding a water-soluble fertilizer once a month can help keep it healthy.
  • Light and temperature: Arrowhead plants prefer low to medium indoor light and temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to place your water-based arrowhead plant in a spot that meets these requirements.
  • Maintaining water level: Keep an eye on the water level in the container and refill it as needed to ensure that the roots are always submerged.

By following these guidelines and adapting the plant’s care routine, you can successfully grow an arrowhead plant in water conditions, allowing it to thrive and showcase its vibrant, bushy foliage.

Propagating Arrowhead Plant in Water

Arrowhead plants are not only beautiful, but they can also thrive in water. This section will cover the propagation of arrowhead plants in water with useful tips and guidelines.

Methods of Propagation

There are two primary methods for propagating arrowhead plants in water: stem cuttings and division.

Stem Cuttings: This method involves taking a sharp, clean knife or scissors and cutting off a stem from the mother plant. Ensure your cuttings have at least two or three nodes, which are the bumps on the stem where leaves and roots emerge from. Place your cutting in a container filled with water, ensuring the nodes are submerged while the leaves remain above the waterline. Change the water every week to prevent bacterial growth. New roots should appear within 1-2 weeks, and new leaves will sprout after roughly four weeks.

Division: This method involves separating a portion of the mother plant to create a new plant, ensuring each section has roots and leaves. Carefully remove the plant from the soil and gently pull apart the roots. Submerge the divided plant’s roots in water and place it in a container. Similar to stem cuttings, change the water weekly and watch for new growth.

Growth Progress

Growing arrowhead plants in water is not only possible, but they can thrive for an extended period. The propagation method you choose will determine the growth progress of your newly propagated arrowhead plant.

For stem cuttings, your plant should exhibit new root growth within 1-2 weeks. Once the roots have formed, you could decide to transfer your plant to soil or continue growing it in water. If you opt for water, use a decorative vase or jar that provides adequate support for the plant’s size. Additionally, consider adding some liquid fertilizer every four to six weeks to ensure proper nutrition.

In the case of division propagation, your new plants might require a couple of weeks to acclimate to their water environment. Keep an eye on the root growth, and if the plant appears stable, you can continue growing it in water indefinitely.

Growing arrowhead plants in water can be a rewarding endeavor. With the proper care and attention, these stunning plants can flourish in their aquatic environment.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Water Cultivation


Growing an arrowhead plant in water has several benefits. First, it allows for easier propagation as you can take stem cuttings and place them in water to generate roots. It also provides an opportunity for a low-maintenance setup since you will only need to regularly change the water for the plant.

Water cultivation eliminates the need for soil, which can minimize pests and diseases that may be present in the soil. Moreover, using transparent containers lets you visually monitor root growth, helping you determine the overall health of your arrowhead plant.


Despite the advantages, there are some drawbacks to growing arrowhead plants in water. One of the main concerns is the lack of nutrients that would usually be present in the soil. Over time, the water may not supply all the necessary nutrients that the plant needs to thrive, which could result in stunted growth or poor overall health.

Another disadvantage is that water-grown arrowhead plants may have weaker root systems compared to those grown in soil. This could make the plant more susceptible to diseases or stress if not properly cared for. Additionally, water cultivation may not provide the same level of support or anchorage for the plant, causing it to become top-heavy and unstable.

In summary, water cultivation can be beneficial for growing arrowhead plants due to the ease of propagation and low-maintenance setup. However, there are drawbacks, such as potential nutrient deficiencies and weaker root systems, which one must consider when deciding whether to grow arrowhead plants in water or traditional soil setups.

Long Term Care for Arrowhead Plant in Water

Water Replacement

One crucial aspect of the long term care for an arrowhead plant growing in water is regularly replacing the water. Since your arrowhead plant is entirely dependent on the water for nutrients, it is essential to use good quality water instead of regular tap water containing harmful minerals. You should change the water frequently, especially whenever it becomes dirty. Regular water replacement helps prevent the buildup of harmful substances and ensures the water stays fresh, providing the best environment for your arrowhead plant.

Nutrient Management

In addition to water replacement, proper nutrient management is vital for your arrowhead plant to thrive in water. While the plant can adapt to lower light levels, it prefers bright indirect light to ensure proper growth. Direct sun may burn the leaves, so be cautious about your plant’s placement.

Arrowhead plants also require sufficient nutrients, which can be added to the water in the form of liquid fertilizer. To promote healthy growth, you may need to fertilize the water once a month during the growing season.

Moreover, it’s essential to keep your arrowhead plant in a space with temperatures ranging from 60-85°F and moderate to high humidity levels. Consistently maintaining favorable conditions helps your plant grow well despite being rooted in water.

Remember, closely monitoring water quality, providing adequate light, and maintaining a conducive environment are essential for the long-term care of your arrowhead plant in water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do arrowhead plants need soil?

Arrowhead plants, also known as Syngonium podophyllum, can indeed grow in both soil and water. While they are traditionally grown in soil, they can adapt and thrive in water as well. This versatile plant will provide a unique touch to your indoor garden, allowing you to experiment with different growth methods.

How often to water arrowhead plant?

When growing arrowhead plants in soil, it is crucial to maintain consistently moist soil conditions. Watering them once a week is typically sufficient, but monitor the soil’s moisture level and adjust the watering frequency accordingly. If the plant is grown in water, ensure that the water is clean and refreshed every couple of weeks or when it appears clouded.

Can I propagate arrowhead plant in water?

Yes, you can propagate arrowhead plants in water. To do this, take a healthy cutting from a mature stem and place it in a container filled with water. Make sure the cut is placed below the water level, and the leaves remain above. The cutting will start developing roots within a couple of weeks. Once a substantial root system is established, you can choose to transfer the plant to soil or continue growing it in water.

Is arrowhead plant suitable for aquariums?

Arrowhead plants can be grown in aquariums, but they may not be the best choice for all aquatic environments. They can grow roots in water and adapt to submerged conditions, but their leaves should remain above water. Too much underwater foliage may lead to rotting and poor health. If you wish to grow arrowhead plants in an aquarium, provide a way for the leaves to stay out of the water while the roots spread below.

What are the water requirements for arrowhead plants?

When growing an arrowhead plant in water, the water requirements are relatively simple. Use clean, filtered or dechlorinated water to maintain the plant’s health. Tap water containing chlorine can harm the plant, so dechlorinating the water beforehand is necessary. Change the water every couple of weeks, or when it appears clouded, to reduce the risk of bacterial growth and keep the plant healthy.

Are arrowhead plants compatible with ponds?

Arrowhead plants can be a beautiful addition to outdoor ponds or water features. They can handle partial submersion, allowing their roots to spread in the water while their leaves rise above the surface. However, keep in mind the plant’s temperature requirements, as they prefer warmer conditions (ideally between 60-85°F). If you live in an area that experiences cooler temperatures or frost, you may need to bring the plants indoors during colder months.

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