Have you ever wanted to grow an Anthurium in water? These spectacular plants look amazing, but you need to know what you’re doing and have the right approach if you are going to be successful.
You can grow an Anthurium in water by choosing a vase that will support your plant, occasionally supplementing its nutrients, and regularly changing the water to keep it fresh and prevent algal growth. Growing an Anthurium in water can be challenging, but it’s a great, unusual way to display your plant.
How To Grow An Anthurium In Water
You will probably want to start with a cutting, as these are frequently propagated in water anyway. Anthuriums are easy to propagate, so if you already have an established plant, you can simply get one from there. Alternatively, ask a friend or purchase a cutting online.
If you don’t want to start from a cutting, a small, rooted Anthurium will also cope with being moved into a fully aquatic environment. Remove it from its pot, wash the soil off its roots, and you’re ready to go!
Here are the steps for growing an Anthurium in water:
1- Choose your container
Many people prefer to use glass vases or clear bottles so that they can see the roots. It’s best to have one with a reasonably wide neck so that you can easily change the water, and so you can lift the plant out if you choose to, without damaging its roots. However, any supportive container will do.
2- Fill the container with clean water
Some people use tap water, but it’s better to use mineral water or rainwater if you can. Tap water may be high in chemicals and often contains limescale, which will coat your plant’s roots and prevent it from growing well. If your tap water is highly filtered, it may lack the nutrients that your plant needs to grow, so consider adding some fertilizer. If you do use tap water, let it stand for 24 hours to ensure the chlorine evaporates from its surface.
3- Place the Anthurium into the container
Its roots should be below the level of the water, while all of its foliage should be above. Submerged leaves will rot and pollute the water, so if any trail below the surface cut them off with sterile scissors.
4- Place your plant somewhere with bright, indirect light
Anthuriums do not like standing in direct sunlight, as they are at risk of burning, but they do need plenty of light. This is particularly true of those grown in water, as they will get most of their energy from photosynthesizing.
5- Change the water regularly
The water will become stagnant and algae will grow in it, and you need to make sure that you keep on top of this. It will ruin the aesthetic and could also be dangerous to your plant, so regular water changes will be necessary. They will also help to keep the water oxygenated.
If you follow these steps, you should soon have a healthy Anthurium growing in water. Keep an eye on your plant to ensure it remains happy, and remember that it will occasionally need a few drops of fertilizer added to the water to ensure that it can access nutrients.
Add fertilizer once or twice a month, preferably after you have recently changed the water. Your Anthurium will soak up the nutrients from the water, fueling its growth.
However, be wary of adding a lot of fertilizer; your Anthurium only needs a small amount, and excess nutrients will cause algae to flourish. This isn’t good for your plant and creates more work for you in terms of water changing.
What Are The Advantages Of Growing An Anthurium In Water?
There are quite a few reasons to grow Anthuriums like this, apart from the novelty factor of having a plant that exists entirely in water.
It’s Easier To Transplant
It’s very easy to move a hydroponic Anthurium from one container to another. All you have to do is lift it out and then place it in the new container, without any additional fuss. This means that if your plant does outgrow its container, repotting is a minor chore.
There’s no need to worry about cleaning up dirt, getting your hands muddy, or getting soil all over the floor. All you need is a new container filled with suitable water, and you’re done.
It Looks Lovely
This is probably the biggest reason to grow Anthuriums in water; they look wonderful. There’s something very striking about hydroponically grown plants, perhaps because they are unusual. You can accent your plant with pretty stones or beads, making it look even more attractive.
You can also see the extraordinary root structure, normally hidden from sight, and marvel over the cleverness of nature. This is particularly great if you have young children that you want to teach about plants and how they operate. Your child will have a real example of roots to look at.
Watering Becomes A Breeze
Many people are wary of keeping houseplants because they struggle so much with watering them. It’s easy to fall into the trap of over-watering your plants, and then they die, which is disheartening.
However, a hydroponic Anthurium does not carry this risk. Your plant will never be thirsty, and you don’t need to worry about root rot. You will be able to see when it needs more to drink, and when its water is getting dirty and needs changing. Say goodbye to trying to work out whether your plant needs a drink or not!
You Can See Problems Quickly
Another big advantage of growing an Anthurium in water is you can see its roots so you know if they are looking healthy. You’ll also be able to see how quickly it’s growing and developing.
Additionally, a hydroponic Anthurium may get fewer pests. These tend to live in the soil and need to be able to reach your plant; a plant with no soil around its base can be challenging for them to access.
There’s no guarantee that all pests will be eradicated by growing your plant in water, but it does help!
What Are The Disadvantages Of Growing An Anthurium In Water?
Of course, there are some downsides to growing an Anthurium in this way, which is why not everybody does it.
It Will Grow More Slowly
Plants grown in water almost invariably develop more slowly than plants grown in soil. A hydroponic Anthurium may never get as large as a traditionally grown one, and it will usually take a lot longer to develop new growth. Even with regular fertilization, hydroponic Anthuriums just won’t grow as fast.
You Have To Clean The Container
Although you can cross “watering” off your list, for the most part, you will still need to pay attention to your Anthurium and clean its container regularly if you don’t want it getting swamped with algae.
Your plant will shed leaves and other bits of matter into the water, which will start to cloud and turn green, especially if it gets a lot of light. You will have to stay on top of algal growth by regularly changing the water, every month or even every couple of weeks.
This is also important for keeping the oxygen levels in the water high. Plants need oxygen around their roots, and a soil-based plant can access plenty of oxygen through the soil’s structure. However, in water, the plant will deplete the oxygen supply and you need to make sure that you are renewing it.
Fresh water will have oxygen in it, which your plant can use to maintain its growth.
You should rinse the roots and wash the container every time you change the water, removing any scum. Use lukewarm or cool water, as hot or cold could shock your plant.
It Can Be Difficult To Move Them Back To Soil
It’s perfectly possible to move an Anthurium grown in water back into soil later if you change your mind, but it can be a challenging transition, and your plant may die if you don’t undertake it carefully.
Plants adapt to their environment, and if you grow your Anthurium in water for years, being transitioned into soil could shock it. You should keep the soil quite wet to start with to help ease the transition and ensure your plant has enough to drink now that it is in a drier environment.
You can grow an Anthurium in water easily if you have a pretty container and you’re willing to change the water every few weeks. Anthuriums naturally grow semi-hydroponically, with their roots clinging to a non-porous surface like a tree trunk, buried in an absorbent substrate.
Some people choose this method for growing their Anthuriums instead, but it is more labor-intensive because you have to keep watering the substrate. Whichever you choose, make sure your plant is getting plenty of water and nutrients, and it should thrive.