How Long Can Monstera Plants Live In Water?

If you spend any amount of time admiring Monsteras online, you have probably seen full, established plants that appear to be growing just in a vase of water – no soil in sight. This might leave you curious and puzzled about how the plant is surviving.

It’s difficult to give an exact timeline for how long you can keep a Monstera in water. Some people claim to have had their plants growing in water for years, and if you manage to provide the perfect conditions, your plant will probably survive almost indefinitely in water. However, it will not be as happy or healthy as a Monstera growing in soil.

Can I Grow My Monstera Just In Water?

You can grow a Monstera in water for a few months without needing to worry about it, but it will need you to meet certain conditions. If you just stick a Monstera in a jug of water and leave it, it will soon die. Growing a Monstera in water requires quite a lot of maintenance.

So, let’s look at what you need to do to be successful.

Change The Water

Many people think that once a Monstera is in water, they don’t need to do anything – the plant has plenty to drink, after all. However, the water your plant is in will soon run out of oxygen, which the Monstera needs, and it will develop algae, which may cause the plant’s roots to rot and suffocate it.

If you are going to grow your plant in water, you need to change the water every few days. To do this, lift the Monstera out of the container and set it on the side, and then tip out the old water. Thoroughly wash the container to remove any algae from the sides, and refill it with fresh water.

You can use tap water, but your Monstera will not particularly like this. Tap water contains various chemicals, including fluoride and chlorine, which can be harmful to the plant’s roots. If you live in a hard water area, you will also have problems with limescale coating your plant’s roots.

Monstera Adansonii in water

If you are going to grow your Monstera in water, it is best to use rainwater if possible. This will be free from chemicals and has the added benefit of containing some trace nutrients that will feed your plant. Collect rainwater from outside and use this to fill the plant’s container.

If you can’t use rainwater, make sure you boil tap water (to remove the limescale) and then leave it on the counter for 24 hours. This will allow the chlorine to evaporate, making it better for the plant.

Once you have refilled the container, rinse your Monstera’s roots with tepid water to remove any algae from them, and then put it back in.

Provide Sufficient Light

All plants need light, but because your Monstera will be getting fewer nutrients from the soil, light will become even more important. Make sure you have put your Monstera somewhere that it gets plenty of bright, indirect sunlight.

No Monstera will grow well in the dark, but a Monstera growing in water must have enough sunlight to thrive. However, you need to keep it out of direct sunlight, or its leaves will burn. Hang up a thin curtain if your windows are too bright for this plant.

Add Nutrients

If you want to grow your Monstera in water for an extended period of time, you will need to add nutrients to the water – even if your plant gets plenty of light.

Choose a hydroponic fertilizer; this will contain both macronutrients and micronutrients, making it suitable for a plant grown in water. Many standard fertilizers will only contain macronutrients, assuming that the plant will get the micronutrients needed for growth from the surrounding soil.

A hydroponic fertilizer gives your Monstera its best chance of growing well, so make sure you buy a high-quality one. Follow the directions on the packaging for an idea of how frequently to fertilize your plant – but don’t overdo it, or your Monstera’s roots will burn and it will get sick.

Why Are Monstera Cuttings Grown In Water?

You might be wondering why we grow Monstera cuttings in water if it is not a particularly suitable medium. There are a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it is easy to see when the plant is rooting if you grow it in water, particularly if you choose a clear container. This helps growers to determine whether their cutting is likely to be successful or not.

Monstera cutting propagation in water

Secondly, if you take a large cutting, the vase will help support it while it establishes roots. It can be difficult to get a big Monstera cutting to stand up in the soil, which may make it hard to ensure that the growth node remains buried. A vase is often easier.

Thirdly, Monstera cuttings like to be kept really damp pretty much all of the time while they are rooting. They will not have an established root network to chase water through the soil, so making this water readily available to them can increase the chances of them successfully rooting.

The disadvantage of rooting Monstera cuttings in water is that at some point, you will need to transfer the plant into soil, and this can be a shock for the young plant.

Will My Monstera Keep Growing If I Don’t Put It In Soil?

Some people decide that they don’t want to move their Monstera cutting into soil once it has grown roots. If you keep it in water and meet the conditions mentioned above, it may continue growing, at least for a while.

However, a Monstera will never grow brilliantly well in water; these plants evolved to have their subterranean roots immersed in soil, and they will struggle to get the food they need if they are always grown in water.

If you aren’t ready to transfer your cutting over yet, it’s fine to keep it in water, as long as you are happy with the fact that it will not grow very quickly. If you want a large Monstera fast, the best thing to do is transfer it to soil as soon as its roots are a few inches long.

Can I Move A Monstera From Soil To Water?

If you want to move an established Monstera from soil to water, you can do so, but it is a little tricky and there is a risk that the plant won’t like it. You should seek to minimize other kinds of stress, so make sure your plant is healthy, free from insects, and has the right conditions (temperature, humidity, lighting) before you attempt this.

Transplanting a Monstera Plant

To transfer a Monstera, loosen the soil around the plant’s roots and lift it out of its pot. Wash the roots to remove the excess soil – it is important to get as much of it off as possible. Soil that remains on the roots will wash into the water, contaminating it and increasing the risk of the plant’s roots rotting.

Once the roots are clean, remove any that look unhealthy using sharp, sterile scissors, and then transfer your Monstera to a container full of suitable water (preferably rainwater). This should be all it needs for a few days, and then you will need to change the water to keep it clean and ensure there is sufficient oxygen around the plant’s roots.

Make sure that you have a big enough container before you transplant a Monstera from soil into water. Although Monsteras like to be a little pot-bound, they will not appreciate being crammed into a small vase. This will reduce their ability to grow.

Put the container back in the Monstera’s previous position if possible, as this will reduce the shock the plant gets and may help it to adapt. You can move it later if you wish to, but minimize how much its conditions change in one go.

If you wish to grow a Monstera in water, it is generally better to take a cutting from an established plant and put this in water instead. It will grow roots that are better suited to a wet environment, and it may cope better overall. This also negates the risk of you losing your main plant if the transition does not go well.

How Big Will A Monstera Grown In Water Get?

There’s no way to estimate how large a Monstera grown in water will get – it depends very much on the conditions. If you are providing the plant with adequate light, nutrients, space, and clean water, it may grow to be quite large, especially if you are patient.

Monstera plants grown in soil can reach amazing lengths of up to fifteen feet indoors, but it is highly unlikely that a plant grown in water will ever achieve this. It is very difficult to provide Monsteras grown in water with a support to climb up, and without this, your plant will struggle to get to more than a few feet tall.

Monsteras cannot support their own foliage past this height, as they only have thin stems and their leaves are very large. Unless the vase is tall enough to provide additional support, the plant will not get taller.

Consequently, its leaves will also be smaller, as only the biggest Monsteras produce foliage of two feet across. If you want to grow your Monstera in water, you should assume that it will never be bigger than a few feet at the most.

What Are The Advantages Of Growing A Monstera In Water?

You may be wondering what benefits you will enjoy as a result of growing a Monstera plant in water. A lot of people are keen to do this, so let’s look at the upsides.

It Looks Cool

This is probably the biggest reason that people like to grow Monstera plants in water: they look great. Those bright green leaves look fantastic when splayed against the modern minimalism of a glass vase. Forget the pot, moss pole, soil, and other clutter – your Monstera’s beauty can really shine.

This has made the Monstera grown in water a popular internet image in recent years and prompted many people to try it. If you are a fan of home decor magazines, you have probably seen these plants splayed across the pages, and the glass vase only adds an extra flair to that aesthetic.

It Lets You See The Roots

Monstera Cuttings in water

Your plant’s roots are a key indicator of how healthy it is, but unfortunately, they are rarely visible for you to inspect them. Removing your plant from its pot and shaking off the soil is a drastic way to check whether it is healthy, and can shock and stress the plant unnecessarily.

If you grow the plant in a container of water, you can lift it out to inspect its roots at any time, and indeed you will need to do so in order to change the water frequently. A clear container can make it even easier to see what’s going on with your plant at a glance.

You will therefore have more insight into how your plant is doing and whether it is happy. This is one of the reasons that cuttings are often grown in water, and it works for adult plants too.

It’s Interesting For Kids

It’s also really interesting to see a plant grow in just water. A surprising number of plants can do this, but since we mostly grow plants in soil, it’s always a talking point to find one that will grow reasonably happily in nothing but water.

This is particularly interesting for children, who may not have come across the concept before. If you want to teach your child about the various needs of a plant and how it grows, this is a great opportunity to explain some key concepts.

Even adults are often curious about how plants can survive in exclusively water when they have evolved to grow on land. The adaptability that the Monstera shows is fascinating.

It Adds A New Challenge

If you have always grown houseplants in soil, there’s something very fun about suddenly growing them in water. You will have to learn new techniques and take a more hands-on approach, which can be enjoyable.

Some people find that growing their Monsteras in water encourages them to spend more time looking after them. This can increase the bond between the owner and the plant.

It Decreases The Risk Of Pests

One of the big advantages of growing a Monstera in water is that it can reduce the risk of your plant getting infested by pests. Most pests arrive on a plant by crawling over the soil to reach the main stem and then spreading out from there.

However, if your Monstera’s stem is surrounded by water, the pests cannot reach it, and therefore cannot infest it.

This isn’t foolproof, of course. Pests that can fly (such as aphids and thrips) will still be able to reach your plant and spread across its leaves. If any leaves touch the surface around the vase or the vase itself, insects will also be able to climb.

Overall, it does reduce the risk, but it doesn’t completely get rid of it. You will still need to regularly inspect your Monstera for pests and treat it for insect infestations if they occur.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Growing A Monstera In Water?

There are quite a few disadvantages that come with growing a Monstera in water, so don’t rush to put your plant in a vase just yet.

Your Plant Will Stay Smaller

Almost invariably, a Monstera grown in water will be smaller than a Monstera grown in soil. Water is simply not an equivalent environment and it will not give your plant the same growth opportunities.

You will have to wait longer for your plant to establish new roots, shoots, and leaves, and its overall increase in height will be far slower. It is unlikely to get bigger than a few feet at the most, and this may take years longer than if you grow it in a container.

If you are happy to have a small Monstera that grows more slowly, you may feel that this is a reasonable payoff.

It’s More Work

Many people think that growing a Monstera in water will reduce the amount of work this plant needs because it prevents you from having to water it. There’s also no risk of the plant getting forgotten and dying of thirst.

However, it isn’t this simple. You will need to change the water in the container more often than you would need to water a plant in soil (in most cases). This is specially true if you have used a glass container, as algae will quickly build up in the sunlight.

This will spoil the aesthetic and make the plant sick if it isn’t dealt with regularly. Constant washing and water replenishment will be necessary if you want your Monstera to grow well. Even an opaque vase will allow algae to grow, and regular water changes will still be needed.

If you fail to change the water frequently enough, your plant will start to suffocate. Although Monsteras can take in some oxygen through their aerial roots, this will not usually be sufficient to support them. Regularly changing the water reoxygenates it and keeps the plant happy.

There’s A Risk Of Root Rot

Root rot is a big risk whether you grow your Monstera in soil or water, but it’s certainly one you need to be aware of when growing your plant in water. As long as you keep the water clean, it shouldn’t occur.

You might be wondering why this is the case because if you over-water a Monstera in soil, its roots will quickly start to rot. Why can the same plant cope when completely submerged in water?

There are a couple of reasons. One is that waterlogged soil has almost no oxygen in it because the water drives the air out, and this starves the plant of oxygen. Water, however, will have good oxygen levels as long as it is regularly replenished.

There is also more competition for the oxygen in waterlogged soil; your plant will be fighting microorganisms, fungi, and bacteria for access to it, meaning it will get used up more quickly. In clean, fresh water, your plant is often the only organism using this resource, and therefore it should be able to get what it needs.

There is also more scope for different kinds of fungi to thrive in soil, and when your plant’s roots start to suffer as a result of the lack of oxygen, the fungi will attack them and spread quickly across the damaged tissue.

Furthermore, plants often develop slightly different kinds of roots when they are rooted in water to when they are rooted in soil. The soil roots are designed to seek out and soak up water as effectively as possible, and this can lead to them getting over-saturated.

When kept constantly in water, the plant develops waxy roots instead, and these are capable of only taking up the water that they need. They will not soak in excess water. This is why many cuttings struggle with being transferred from one medium to the other – it takes time for them to develop the right roots for the environment.


You can grow Monstera plants in water for months, and some people have had success in growing their Monsteras in water for years. However, you should be aware that this is an involved, challenging prospect and your plant is likely to be less healthy if you keep it in water all the time. It will grow more slowly and will need more time and attention.

On the whole, Monstera plants are better off being grown in soil, but if you are determined, you should be able to keep yours thriving in water for months or years if you meet all its needs.