Even If You Think You Can’t Grow Anything; Everyone Can Grow This

I’ve posted a lot about gardening lately on the blog, on facebook, on Instagram; it’s just that time of year! In Spring and Summer, gardening is just on my mind.   My vegetable garden this year was a bust.  I can’t seem to get the hang of the vegetables, yet.  I won’t write that depressing story today ; but my flowers have been so beautiful and I’ve enjoyed them so much.

Even if you’re one of those people that thinks you can’t grow a thing, I promise, these plants almost can’t be killed.  These have been growing in jars for 10-15 years now.  In the larger jars is pothos.  The smaller jar may be philodendron (has no variegation on the leaves).  The leaves are so small on that one it’s hard to tell.  I’ve grown both types of plants in water the way you see pictured.  They both do well growing this way.

This jar was given to me by someone who had it in their garage and planned to throw it away…30ish years ago. I still love this jar.

The little jar on the right is one of several (different sizes) that I bought at a garage sale many years ago. The seller said they were old pharmacy bottles. I love them,  especially the larger ones. The pitcher was a wedding gift. I’ve been married 29 years 🙂  I’m decluttering everything these days, trying to keep only the things I love.  These are some of the things I love.  
It was quite by accident that I learned they could survive this way.  Both philodendron and pothos have little nodes on them, that when you keep them submerged in water will begin to grow roots.  I was originally planning to root a new plant from the one I already had growing.  Well, I left it there a really long time and the roots started getting really long in the jar.  I googled it and realized, that yes, they could actually live that way.

My kids were much younger when I started these and the plant in soil that I got the cutting from has been long gone, but these in water just can’t be killed.   At times the water has gotten too low and some leaves will turn yellow to alert me.  I pluck the dead leaves off, refill the water  and they’re good to go.

This is an excellent way to enjoy something green growing when you’re in a season of life when time for much gardening is a luxury you don’t have.

Here are some tips if you want to grow philodendron or pothos in this way:

  1. To start the plant, just get a cutting from a friend.  If you don’t have a friend with one, you can buy a new one (Walmart usually carries them) to do this and it will make several jars.  Put in water, making sure the nodes are completely covered, as that’s where the roots will start.
  2. As the water evaporates, refill with water, keeping the water level above the roots growing and the nodes that you want to root in the water.
  3. The roots will eventually grow really long.  Just take the plant to the sink, trim the roots (however much so that the jar isn’t so crowded) with scissors, rinse out your jar and refill it with water.
  4. When the leaves get dusty, just sit the whole jar in the sink and shower it with your kitchen faucet sprayer.  That’s usually when I go ahead and change the water. Let it sit in the sink a few minutes if needed till the leaves are dry enough to put back where you have it displayed.
  5. Over time if you don’t change the water (I forget about them until I see the water start to turn green) algae will start to grow.  Just take the plant out of the water, give it a good shower with your kitchen sprayer in the sink.  Wash your jar and refill with clean water.
  6. I haven’t been doing this, so they can survive without it, but I have known this tip for watering houseplants.  I read that you should let city/chlorinated water sit 24 hours for the chlorine to dissipate and then replace the water in your jars with non-chlorinated water.  I used to keep a gallon jug of water under my kitchen sink for this purpose to water houseplants.  Over time the gallon milk jug would spring a leak (they’ve gotten less sturdy in recent years!) and caused water damage under my sink.  I need to get a sturdier container to save water in, plants really do like it better.
  7. Depending on what kind of water you have, city, well, hard, soft, it can cause a build up on the inside of your jar.   The crystal pitcher pictured has hard water deposits that I cannot get off no matter what I’ve tried, so consider what you want to use OR clean them more often than I do 🙂
  8. Both plants are poisonous, you can read here about it.  It doesn’t sound deadly but could make you sick.  I’ve never had my kids or pets bother mine, but just to be aware.
  9. These do require some light but can survive without a ton.  You can experiment with different locations.  My kitchen table is a great place with lots of light, but my cat is too tempted when it’s there.
  10. I have never fertilized mine, but read that tip when researching for this post. If you’re new to this, don’t stress over it, mine have survived more than 10 years without it.  They have stopped growing bigger the way they used to.  I will start fertilizing and see what happens.  The recommendation I read was for liquid fertilizer (like Miracle Gro, you mix it with water)  every 4-6 weeks.
  11. I read years ago that you after they’ve grown them in water for a really long time they may not transplant well to soil.  I haven’t tried to transplant any and I’m ok with that.  Maybe I will try it though just to see.
  12. Look for pretty jars at thrift stores or garage sales.  Most of my jars have come from garage sales for next to nothing.  I loved glass jars for long before they were a “cool thing” to love.

This is our mantle currently. If your kids are little and you don’t have time for much gardening or anything else….know that one day you’ll have a beautiful picture of your married kid and you’ll have more time for your interests and you’ll have mixed feelings about it all. Enjoy every season. They each have their own beauty. 
Currently I only have one houseplant other than these growing in water and it was given to me.  My efforts at some point switched to outdoor plants.  I do plan to start growing some house plants again soon now that I feel that I can care for them.   I will still want to grow ones that are easy to grow and forgiving.


If you decide to grow some plants in water, or already do, please share your pictures.  Even if its weeks later, share them with me please!

Hope you’re having a great week!


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