We all forget to water our Monstera plants sometimes. Sometimes our plants may go for several weeks without water, only to end up shriveled and wilted. The solution is here! Dump the soil and grow your Monstera plants in water permanently. This reduces your maintenance requirements and makes for a gorgeous statement piece; what’s not to love?
Can Monstera Live in Water?
So can Monstera live in water? The short answer is yes!
You can take Monstera cuttings and place them in water so that they can regrow. This is known as water propagation and is a popular way of producing more plants. Once the cutting establishes its own healthy root system, most houseplant enthusiasts move it to the soil. However, you don’t have to.
In most cases, a Monstera plant can live in water indefinitely as long as you provide them with the ideal growing conditions.
This is known as hydroponic gardening and is great because it makes for a whole different way of showing your Monstera plants. Besides, who doesn’t like greenery in a gorgeous statement vase or bottle?
Besides, it’s a nice change from growing plants on the soil. You can also see in real-time what happens below the soil, seeing the root system develop and grow within the confines of its container. Besides, hydroponic growing is the perfect solution for gardeners who have trouble sticking to a regular Monstera watering schedule.
How Long Will a Monstera Grow in Water?
Early on, we established that a Monstera plant will survive, but not thrive, in water. You can leave your Monstera in water for a long time, and it will grow as long as there is a node. There have been reports of people growing their Monstera deliciosa plants in water for years through careful management of plant cuttings.
It’s hard to calculate the exact lifespan of Monstera cuttings in water. That’s like asking how long your Monstera will survive in the wild. Besides, most horticulturalists will diagnose and troubleshoot the cause of their Monstera not doing well in water.
So if a Monstera dies in water, it is likely that you didn’t provide it with the ideal conditions (such as adding nutrients and changing the water). With that said, some people believe that the true lifespan of a Monstera cutting in water is about two years. There are cases where the plant has survived for longer, but these are rare occurrences.
However, there are limits to growing houseplants hydroponically. Sadly, your Monstera plant will never reach its true growth potential in water unless it is moved to the soil. That is the tradeoff horticulturalists make for moving their Monstera in water.
Monstera plants are highly adaptable plants and can tolerate a wide range of conditions. This resilience is why we horticulturalists can grow them with success indoors. As long as you are willing to come to terms with the fact that your Monstera plant will never grow as big or healthy as plants with a well-draining potting soil mix.
Many horticulturalists have observed that the Monstera plant continues to grow new leaves, but each time a new leaf emerges an older leaf wilts. Despite new growth, the plant stays roughly the same size.
Note: Monstera plants can survive for up to three weeks if you don’t change the water, oxygen, or nutrients.
How to Take Care of Monstera in Water (Tips)
So how do you go about caring for your Monstera plants underwater? The good news is that it’s easier than it sounds. There are a few things to consider when growing your Monstera in water to minimize stress. Firstly, you will have to provide lots of indirect sunlight of high intensity to the plants.
The average indoor temperatures in most homes are ideal for non-aquatic plants to flourish. The plants are not finicky about humidity – besides, they’re already growing in water. A major deciding factor in how your plants grow will be the intensity of light.
Furthermore, it is important to change the water every week. Better yet, you should aim to change the water once every two to three days.
This will ensure that the Monstera plant has more oxygen in the water to help them breathe. Potted plants usually have access to enough oxygen in the soil. However, oxygen becomes a very scarce resource when the house plants are in the water. The oxygen will deplete over time, and if you don’t change the water, the plant will eventually shed and suffocate.
Changing the water will also prevent any cloudiness that might occur because some plant material dissolves. This also gives you the opportunity to prune black or slimy roots because they are symptoms of root rot. Besides, root rot in water can smell really bad.
Make sure to inspect the water roots and properly rinse them. You may see signs of algal growth in the container. While algae don’t usually harm Monstera in water, it makes for poor aesthetics, as most people would argue.
You can use an opaque container or move the Monstera to an area that receives less sunlight to reduce the chances of algal growth.
How to Propagate a Monstera in Water
It is relatively easy to propagate Monstera plants. Start by taking cutting from the mother plant. Next, you place the cutting in water and wait until it develops a root system. It won’t be long before the plant produces new Monstera leaves.
Make sure that the cutting has a node. Ideally, it should have two to three leaves. A stem cutting that has a node will look dry, brown, and thicker than the rest of the stem.
Nodes can be found below where stems are branching off. Nodes contain the cells needed to establish a root system. This is why it is vital to cut a piece of the stem that has a node.
What Type of Water is Best for Monstera Plant?
The type of water you choose will make or break the growth process. Rainwater produces the best results for Monstera plants. You can use tap water as long as it doesn’t have much chlorine. Tap water that is devoid of nutrients is not a good choice for Monstera plants.
Using tap water may be convenient, but it has contaminants that could damage your Monstera plants. Over time, these contaminants will accumulate. If you must use tap water, leave it overnight and allow the trapped chlorine to evaporate before using it.
In any case, rainwater is ideal for your Monstera because it contains all the necessary nutrients. Rainwater provides nitrogen to your Monstera plants. It is also slightly acidic, which is what Monstera deliciosa prefers. Besides, rainwater is less likely to contain harmful chemicals found in tap water.
Springwater is a good alternative to rainwater. If you want to use well water, thoroughly test it for the presence of heavy metals or other contaminants before using it on your Monsteras.
Pros of Growing a Monstera in Water
So why would you want to grow your Monstera in water, knowing that it will never reach its full growth potential?
Besides looking really cool, growing Monstera in water is a great way of utilizing your clear vases. Let’s discuss a few pros of growing Monstera plants in water.
Not Having to Deal with Soil
Soil has a way of making its way everywhere around the house. This can become a problem if the house is small. You might have pets who are fond of digging in potted plants and spreading the soil everywhere. Moreover, some horticulturalists are not too fond of having dirt inside their home.
It is better to work with water instead. Water is less messy and easier to manage. You can also see algal growth in water and know that it’s time to clean up. By contrast, the soil is much more inconvenient. Some of it may have made its way into your pockets!
Not Worrying About Overwatering
Overwatering is a real concern with Monstera plants. If your previous house plants wilted because of root rot, it’s probably because you didn’t optimize the watering schedule. If you don’t constantly like to jump through hoops in an effort to test if the plant needs water, such as the finger method or lifting the pot to feel for its weight, then growing plants in water is a good solution.
Over time, your Monstera will develop roots that can absorb the amount of moisture. These roots will be smaller and more delicate than soil roots.
Reuse Old Container
Perhaps you’ve got pricey decorative pots lying around with no drainage holes. You can’t really drill drainage holes into them because it would look unsightly. And you can’t grow your Monstera in them using soil because there are no drainage holes. So the next best thing is to grow your Monstera in water. You can use any old jar or vase.
Inspect the Root System
The roots are usually invisible within the soil, and you must uproot the plant by dragging it for a full inspection. Not only is this process stressful for the plants, but it also leaves a mess behind. The advantage of planting Monstera in water is being able to see the roots clearly. You can immediately identify damaged roots and prune them before the damage can spread to the remaining roots
Easier for Travelers
Gardeners who travel a lot may have a hard time taking care of potted plants. And they don’t want to have their friends and family looking after the plant since they may not be as experienced. This is why planting Monstera in water is a good solution for travelers.
They can inspect people to replace or top up the container every few days instead of carefully measuring the moisture level and the plant’s needs. So if you are a frequent traveler and have a green thumb, then consider planting your Monstera in water for a carefree solution.
Monstera plants are resilient, but they can fall prey to a pest infestation every now and then. These pests find safe refuge under the soil where they are out of sight and out of mind. Fungus gnats, in particular, are known for laying their eggs in the soil and feeding on decaying organic matter. You can discourage most pests by planting your Monstera in water.
Although the method is less effective on spider mites and thrips, it is easier to treat Monstera plants when they are in the water. All you have to do is shower them with a hose without worrying about disrupting or wasting the soil.
Disadvantages of Growing Monstera in Water
Every solution has tradeoffs, and growing Monstera in water is no different. Here are a few disadvantages of growing Monstera in water that you should know about.
The Plant Will Never Achieve Maximal Growth Potential
If you want to grow showy foliage that towers over everything, then growing the Monstera in water is not a good idea because it is not an aquatic plant. The plant will limit its growth in a bid to survive the relatively harsh conditions in the water. Of course, every person has their preferences about plant size and foliage.
So if you’re the type of person who prefers petite Monstera deliciosa, then growing them in water may be an advantageous situation for you.
No Soil for Nutrients
The Monstera plants will not have access to nutrients from the water. Normally, plants can absorb nutrients through the soil. But this is not the case in water. The plants will become deficient in some of the nutrients they absorb from the potting soil (and any added fertilizers in it). You will have to supplement the Monstera plant with nutrients.
Note that regular fertilizer won’t be sufficient for your plants. You will need a balanced liquid fertilizer for the best results.
You’ve Got Algae
In most cases, algae won’t affect your Swiss Cheese plant. But we can all agree that it looks incredibly unappealing and is extremely hard to prevent. Your best bet is to make the environment harsh for algae by placing the plant in an opaque container and washing it very often.
Other things you can do to get rid of algae are to:
- reduce the light intensity
- reduce the number of nutrients in the water (by not overfertilizing)
Growing Monsteras (or other Tropical Plants) in Water vs. Soil
Success with growing tropical plants in water depends on various factors. Tropical plants with short roots do well in water. In fact, some plants may even do better in water than if they were in the soil. However, deep-rooted plants don’t do well in water and will eventually have to be moved to the soil.
Indeed, experts have shown that plants can grow more quickly in water than in soil. Moreover, a major downside to growing Monstera plants in soil is the risk of fungal infections such as root rot. Some tropical plants are at a greater risk of being under or overwatered. These problems can devastate the plant’s root system.
These plants are also at risk of being dug up by pets, exposed to severe weather, or unannounced overnight frost. Even the nutritional benefits of soil have their limits. The soil will have to be replaced over time and fertilized. This means you have to constantly measure the pH and nutrient level of the soil regularly.
Correcting any imbalances in the soil is no easy task. You have to rule out many problems before pinpointing the exact reason why your tropical plant isn’t doing too well.
In the end, choosing whether to plant your Monstera in water or soil is up to you and your preferences. Now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of each system, it really boils down to your circumstances.
If you have access to a lot of soil and want your Monstera plants to achieve their maximum growth potential, the soil may be better. And if you are content with smaller foliage, and having to change the water every two to three days, then a hydroponic system may be better.
What About Root Rot?
Root rot is every houseplant’s nemesis – whether they grow in soil or in water. If your Monstera is starting to die in water, it’s probably due to root rot. Bacterial infections are the primary cause of root rot. It isn’t possible to stop bacteria from invading your plants, but you can make life difficult for them.
Bacteria mostly thrive in low-oxygen environments. So by oxygenating your water regularly, you can, in theory, keep bacterial infections at bay.
There are a few ways of keeping your water oxygenated:
● Changing the water every two to three days (one week at maximum)
● Supplement with oxygenating plants
● Place an air stone
The easiest solution is to add an airstone. They are a bit noisy but get the job done.
So there you have it, an in-depth look at Monstera plant care in water. Although you are not providing the plant with its natural habitat, you should see success as long as you provide it with the ideal growth conditions.
Your Monstera’s leaves may never reach their full growth potential, but many horticulturalists have had success with the plant. As long as the Monstera plant grows roots, it will do well in freshwater.
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.