Can Chinese Evergreen Grow in Water? Expert Insights Revealed

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Chinese evergreens, also known as Aglaonema, are popular houseplants known for their hardiness and attractive foliage. These plants are praised for their ability to thrive in various environments, from low light to well-lit spaces. With their minimal care requirements, they’ve become a favorite among both beginner and experienced indoor gardeners. But can these versatile plants grow in water?

The answer is yes, Chinese evergreens can indeed grow in water, albeit at a slower rate compared to soil-grown plants. To successfully grow Chinese evergreens in water, start by selecting a healthy stem that is at least 6 inches tall and take a cutting just below a node. Remove any lower leaves before placing the stem in a vase filled with water. Replenish the water as needed, and watch your plant grow over time. This method can be a practical alternative for those who may not have space or resources for soil-based plant care.

In addition, growing Chinese evergreens in water offers the advantage of air purification. These plants are known to remove toxins from the surrounding air, making them a valuable addition to home or office environments. So, if you’re considering growing Chinese evergreens, know that water-based cultivation is a viable option that provides beauty, air purification, and low-maintenance care.

Can Chinese Evergreen Grow in Water?

Yes, Chinese evergreens can successfully grow in water. In fact, they can thrive just as well in water as they do in soil. Growing Chinese evergreens in water is an excellent choice for those seeking an easy-to-maintain and forgiving houseplant. However, some precautions are necessary to ensure healthy growth in a water environment.

When you begin the process of growing a Chinese evergreen in water, it is essential to start with a healthy stem cut from the plant. The stem should be at least 6 inches tall and should be cut just below a node – the area where leaves emerge on the stem. Remember to remove any lower leaves to avoid rot and contamination while growing in water.

Moreover, the Chinese evergreen cutting should be placed in a vase or container with a couple of inches of water, ensuring some leaves remain above the waterline. It is necessary to monitor the water levels and replenish as needed, preventing the plant from drying out.

In contrast to growing them in soil, water allows you to monitor the root growth of your Chinese evergreen plants easily. One challenge some gardeners face is transplanting water-rooted cuttings to soil, as they may not adjust well to the transition. However, for those who prefer to keep the plant in water, this issue can be avoided.

To sum it up, Chinese evergreen plants can indeed grow in water with proper care and attention. By providing a suitable environment and monitoring the water levels, you can ensure your Chinese evergreen enjoys a healthy and strong growth.

Water Vs. Soil Cultivation

Advantages of Water Cultivation

Growing Chinese Evergreen plants in water has some benefits. The primary advantage is the reduced chance of pests and diseases found in soil-based growing environments. By growing these plants in water, you reduce the potential for harmful organisms that can damage the foliage or roots.

Another benefit of water cultivation is the ease of rooting and propagation. When placed in water, Chinese Evergreen cuttings can develop roots within a week to two weeks, making it a straightforward method for beginners.

Water cultivation also allows for easier maintenance and monitoring of root health and growth. As the roots are visible, you can quickly identify and solve any issues that arise. Additionally, water-based growing is space-saving and can be done indoors, making it an ideal choice for urban gardeners or those with limited space.

Advantages of Soil Cultivation

On the other hand, soil cultivation has its benefits too. For one, Chinese Evergreen plants are naturally accustomed to growing in soil, making it a more familiar environment for them. This familiarity means the plants will experience less stress during growth.

Growing Chinese Evergreens in soil also allows the plants to access a wider range of nutrients, which are not always available in water-cultivated environments. By providing a well-draining, nutrient-rich potting mix, you can ensure that the plants receive all the nourishment they need for optimal growth.

Soil-based growing also provides better support and anchorage for the plant’s roots, helping them establish a more robust root system over time. This strong root system allows them to better withstand external disturbances and environmental changes, resulting in healthier plants overall.

Moreover, when Chinese Evergreens are grown in soil, they can draw structural support from the soil particles and maintain their form more effectively. This means the plants will have an easier time standing upright and displaying their beautiful foliage.

Essential Factors for Chinese Evergreen Growth in Water

Clean Water

To successfully grow a Chinese Evergreen in water, it is imperative to use clean water. It is best to change the water every two days, as old stagnant water does not conduct oxygen which the plant needs to grow roots [^1^]. Fresh and clean water ensures that your Chinese Evergreen can grow roots within a week to two weeks, providing them with a healthy environment to thrive in.


While Chinese Evergreens can grow in water, it is essential to provide them with adequate nutrients. You can occasionally add liquid plant fertilizer to the water to ensure your Chinese Evergreen receives the necessary nutrients for growth. This will help maintain the overall health and appearance of your plant.

Light Conditions

Chinese Evergreens can tolerate a range of light conditions, but they prosper in bright, indirect sunlight. When growing them in water, make sure to place the plant in a location with plenty of indirect light. This will help to promote healthy growth and development.

Temperature and Humidity

The ideal temperature range for Chinese Evergreens is between 60 and 80°F. Maintaining this temperature will ensure optimal growth conditions for your plant. Additionally, Chinese Evergreens thrive in higher humidity settings. To increase humidity, you can place the plant near a humidifier or group it with other plants, which can help create a more humid microclimate.

By considering these essential factors – clean water, nutrients, light conditions, temperature, and humidity – you can successfully grow Chinese Evergreens in water, creating a beautiful indoor display.

Steps to Transition Chinese Evergreen to Water

Selecting the Plant

Choose a healthy Chinese Evergreen with new growth to ensure a successful transition to water. Healthy plants have bright green leaves, no yellowing or leaf loss, and a strong root system.

Root Preparation

Before transferring your plant to water, you need to properly prepare the roots. Begin by taking a cutting from a healthy branch, preferably one with new growth. Use garden shears to cut a 6-8 inch long segment of the branch and remove any lower leaves. Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone to promote root development.

Container Selection

Next, find the right container for your Chinese Evergreen. You can use any glass jar or vase of your choice, as long as it can hold enough water to submerge the bottom part of the stem. Make sure the vessel is clean and free of any contaminants that could harm the plant.

Placement and Maintenance

Place the Chinese Evergreen cutting in a location with medium light and no direct sunlight as this will promote healthy root growth. Keep the temperature between 60-80°F to ensure a suitable environment for your plant.

Roots will start to emerge within a week or two, and you should change the water every two days to maintain oxygen levels. Old, stagnant water won’t supply enough oxygen, and the plant needs fresh water to grow roots. Once roots have begun to form, continue to maintain the water quality and monitor any changes in the plant’s health.

Challenges and Possible Issues

Growing Chinese evergreen in water can present some challenges and potential issues. In this section, we will discuss three common problems: root rot, nutrient deficiency, and insufficient light.

Root Rot

One of the main challenges when growing Chinese evergreen in water is the risk of root rot. This can occur if the plant is left sitting in stagnant water, which does not conduct oxygen for the roots. To avoid root rot, ensure that you are frequently changing the water, and avoid overwatering the plant. Too much water can lead to a higher risk of root rot and eventual death of the plant. One solution is to check the soil before watering and only add enough water to moisten it without saturating.

Nutrient Deficiency

Another issue that can arise is nutrient deficiency. Since the Chinese evergreen is growing in water, it may not receive all the essential nutrients it needs to thrive. To counter this, you can supplement the plant’s water with liquid fertilizer or other suitable nutrient sources. Just be cautious with the amount you add, as over-fertilizing may cause further issues like poor foliage growth and even root burn.

Insufficient Light

When it comes to growing any plant in water, sufficient light is crucial. Chinese evergreens generally prefer low-to-medium light conditions. However, you should still avoid placing the plant in a dark corner or area with no sunlight. A shady spot with indirect light is best, as direct sunlight can cause the plant’s leaves to burn or discolor.

To increase the amount of light received by the plant, consider placing it near an east- or west-facing window. Additionally, if natural light is limited, supplemental lighting via a fluorescent or LED grow light can provide an appropriate amount of light to keep your Chinese evergreen healthy and growing.


Chinese evergreens can indeed grow in water but their growth would be significantly slower than in soil. Furthermore, transitioning them from water to soil can be quite challenging, as their water roots might not adapt well to the soil environment.

In order to keep your Chinese evergreen plants healthy and thriving, it’s crucial to provide them with the proper care. This includes:

  • Ensuring they receive bright indirect light; direct sunlight could harm them
  • Maintaining a comfortable temperature range between 64-77° F (18-25°C)
  • Using a well-draining 50% sand or perlite, and 50% potting mix as your growing medium
  • Watering them about once a week in spring and summer, while allowing the soil to dry out between waterings
  • Providing >60% humidity for optimal growth

Avoid submerging Chinese evergreens in water or exposing them to overly wet conditions, as this could cause root rot and ultimately lead to the plant’s demise. To grow Chinese evergreens in water temporarily, such as rooting cuttings, make sure to:

  • Place them in medium light without direct sunlight exposure
  • Change the water every two days to maintain proper oxygen levels
  • Be patient, as roots might take a week or two to appear

Growing Chinese evergreens in water can be an interesting and rewarding endeavor, but requires particular attention to their needs. When provided with the right conditions, these plants are sure to be a beautiful addition to your home or garden.

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