Pothos plants are very hardy and can survive well in many conditions, but how long can pothos live in water?
Pothos can live their entire lifespan of 5 to 10 years in water, but it impacts how fast they will grow and the kind of maintenance you will need to undertake.
There are a lot of factors that come into play if you decide to grow pothos in water, and from my own experience, it can be tricky to get right if you’re unprepared.
What Factors Affect Pothos Growth Rate In Water?
Growing pothos in water looks very unique and has become a popular way of growing them through the years.
I have recently propagated a golden pothos in water and intend to keep it in the water for as long as possible. Through this process, I’ve learnt a few factors which I’ll get into shortly that can have a huge impact on how your pothos will grow.
1. Water Quality
Depending on where you live your tap water will contain different amounts of minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
Most of the time this won’t be an issue, especially if you use fertilizer, but it’s worth doing a water test if you are concerned about your water being unsuitable to support your pothos. This will reveal if your water is lacking in essential nutrients such as potassium and calcium, to name a few.
Before I decided to grow a pothos in water I first attempted to propagate a cutting to see how it grew. After this was successful, I knew that my tap water would be suitable for a pothos plant.
Just like growing pothos in soil, you need to make sure that you fertilize your pothos when it is in water as well.
Once you’ve ensured that your water is suitable for growing pothos, simply add a water-soluble fertilizer directly to the water every few weeks. This will ensure that your pothos is getting the right nutrients and will encourage it to grow quickly.
In the growing season (around springtime) I opt to fertilize my golden pothos every time I change the water, which is roughly every 3 or 4 days.
3. Water Changing Schedule
During my first attempt at propagating a pothos in water, I completely forgot to change the water.
After a while, I noticed that the growth of my pothos had reduced drastically, and it wasn’t until I started replacing the water that it started to grow as usual again. Rep[lacing the water regularly helps to keep the levels of oxygen high whilst reducing the likelihood of algae forming, which can damage the roots of the pothos.
4. Temperature And Humidity
Pothos thrive with temperatures between 70°F and 90°F and humidity around 60%.
Humidity shouldn’t be an issue as the presence of water will naturally increase the humidity around the plant, but you need to ensure that the temperature is suitable just like you would if it was potted in soil.
Pruning is an easy way to encourage pothos growth, as long as you do it correctly.
Cut shortly above growth nodes for the best chance of success, and remove leaves that have died as soon as you can. I recommend pruning during the spring and summertime when your pothos will be growing much more, rather than in the winter when growth will be minimal.
Pothos require bright, indirect sunlight to grow properly, and this is no different for water-based pothos either.
Be careful to not place your pothos in an area with lots of bright and direct sunlight as this can damage the plant in quite a short amount of time.
Do Pothos Grow Better In Water Or Soil?
While pothos can propagate faster in water than in soil, the opposite is true for overall growth.
If you’re interested in growing a pothos as fast as possible you can read this guide for more information, but when it comes to choosing your soil make sure you choose one that is well-draining and full of nutrients.
Can Pothos Live Underwater?
While pothos plants may thrive with water in place of soil, they cannot be fully submerged in water.
This is mainly because pothos leaves do not possess the necessary adaptation to survive in water. These adaptations include having fewer (or no) cuticles and stomata that stay open all of the time.
In simple terms, a pothos cannot process nutrients from water in the same way as an aquatic plant, and if you fully submerge a pothos in water it will only be a matter of time before it dies.