Can You Put Pothos With Roots in Water vs. Soil?

Pothos are pretty plants that often propagate best in water. However, you may wonder if they can stay in water indefinitely or if they must be transferred into soil at some point. Some plants can only handle propagation in water and have to be moved to soil shortly after, so what is the rule with Pothos?

Pothos with roots do equally well in both water and soil as long as you transfer them to their habitat when their roots are just beginning to form. If you wait too long to transfer them, it can cause your plant stress to move them once their roots are fully established. 

Unfortunately, this means that if the plant isn’t healthy enough or able to recover, your Pothos can eventually die. So if you have a choice, we recommend transferring your Pothos early. 

Can You Put Pothos With Roots in Water?

While it is possible to put a Pothos with already established roots into water, it isn’t ideal. While Pothos can grow happily in water or soil, changing their growing medium after they’ve already established themselves can lead to stress in your Pothos plant. 

It is better to transfer a plant to one medium before the roots are established. This allows your plant to adapt and grow happily. 

If you decide to move a Pothos with roots from soil to water, it is best to take it slow and try to keep the rest of their environment as similar as possible. Place them back in the same space for a few weeks in their new container to reduce the shock and stress on your Pothos. 

Your Pothos may stop growing for a while, and a few leaves may turn yellow or die. This is normal; your plant should bounce back in a few weeks. 

Can I Transfer My Pothos From Water to Soil?

Similar to moving Pothos from soil to water, it is best to do this when their roots are still young and not fully established. The longer your plant gets used to its environment in the water, the more your plant struggles in the soil. 

So if you know you want your Pothos to eventually be a soil plant, it is best to transfer it when the roots are just starting to grow from the node or cutting you placed into the water. Otherwise, you may see signs of stress and even death in your Pothos plant. 

Does Pothos Grow Better in Water or Soil?

For the most part, Pothos grow equally well in soil or water. There are two significant differences between the two. The first is that Pothos tend to root faster when in water. However, as a whole, Pothos grow faster in soil than they would in water. So if you want a faster-growing Pothos plant, soil is best. 

Maintenance is also easier in soil. Depending on the type of glass you use, you may have to clean the container your Pothos is in every few days to a couple of weeks when they are in the water, as algae can start growing and cause harm to your plant. 

But growing in water, you don’t have to worry about replacing potting mix or the dangers of over or underwatering. Also, since there is no soil, the chances of root rot are slim to none. So if you have problems watering your plants, a water Pothos may be better for you. 

Can I Keep My Pothos in Water Forever?

It is perfectly fine to keep your Pothos in water forever. There is no danger as long as your Pothos is adapted to the water. Ensure you understand how to properly take care of your Pothos in water. Without soil, it will need more frequent doses of fertilizer, but you have to make sure you don’t add too much, or you can harm your plant. 

Also, avoid using plain tap water, as chlorine can damage your plant. Bottled or distilled water is best. If you use a water filter for your water, you can use that as well, as it removes many harmful chemicals that may damage your plant. 

An additional option is to let your water sit out overnight. Chlorine will turn to gas after 24 hours. So by filling up a big pitcher with water and then waiting for 24 hours, you can still use tap water and ensure that your plant isn’t getting too much chlorine. 

Are Water Roots Different From Soil Roots?

While it is the same plant, people have noticed that plants that grow in water and plants that grow in soil have distinctly different roots. This is true of more than just Pothos. Any plant you can grow in water or soil will show different roots depending on their growing medium. 

This is partially why they struggle to change from one habitat to another when roots are established. The roots are slightly different than they should be and cannot handle the different mediums well. 

Generally, the differences are small but noticeable. For example, soil roots are a bit thicker and sturdier, supporting plants in the soil. It also allows them to gather more water from their environment. 

Roots in water don’t have to be so thick as they aren’t struggling to find water. So usually, they are thinner and more fragile. Moving water Pothos to soil is more difficult than the reverse as the roots are weaker and more easily breakable. 

How Long Does it Take for Pothos to Root in Water?

Roots in water
Water propagation of plants like Pothos is usually the fastest and most effective way to propagate the plant from cuttings. Usually, it only takes a week or two for new roots to sprout after a node is submerged in water. 

Around this time, you should start thinking about getting it ready to be potted in the soil if that is what you wish. Otherwise, all you have to do is get some liquid fertilizer to make sure your plant gets enough nutrients. 

Why Is My Pothos Not Growing in Water?

It is important to remember that most Pothos, while they do grow in water, grow more slowly than they would in soil. So if your plant isn’t growing as fast as you think it should, consider that first. If your Pothos isn’t growing at all, that is usually a sign that something is wrong with its habitat. Just like Pothos planted in soil, sometimes, the habitat might not meet the requirements of your Pothos. 

The first is that there is not enough air. Though the roots are submerged in water, they still need air. Changing out the water frequently, usually once a week, ensures that your plants get the oxygen it needs. 

Also, you have to find the ideal amount of fertilizer for your plants. It is harder to determine than soils, and it might take a bit of experimenting. We suggest starting with a few drops for a while and increasing as needed. Always use liquid fertilizer when keeping plants in water to ensure the nutrients get distributed correctly. 

If you notice any algae in your container, taking your Pothos out of the water is important. Scrub the container thoroughly to remove all algae before putting your plant and some fresh water back in. While a clear glass may allow you to see the roots and check for algae easier, it also increases algae growth as more light can get in. If you don’t want to have to clean as much, use opaque or colored glass. 


Pothos do equally well in both water and soil as long as you transfer them to their habitat when their roots are just beginning to form. When you transfer them otherwise, it can cause your plant stress to move them once their roots are fully established. 

While Pothos with already established roots don’t do well transferring from water to soil and vice versa, that doesn’t mean the plant doesn’t do equally well in both environments. Although plants can thrive in water and soil, plant roots grow differently depending on the soil they are in.

It is important to note that although Pothos grow well in water or soil, they don’t grow the same way. Plants in water tend to grow roots faster but have slower growth overall.