How to Grow a Plant in Water


Growing a plant in water without the presence of soil is called hydroponics. This growing method is popular for producing vegetable plants during seasons where the weather is not adequate for outdoor gardening. The benefit of hydroponics is the capability to control the temperature, light and nutrients given to the plants with a decrease in the disease and pest damage. Plants that grow well in home hydroponic systems are herbs, tomatoes and a variety of peppers.

Step 1

Construct or purchase a hydroponic growing system and assemble it according to the manufacturer's directions. Fill the holding tank with water and turn the system on to make sure the tubing and pump are working properly.

Step 2

Test the water pH to make sure it is not too acidic or alkaline for the type of plant growing in the system. Adjust the water pH with phosphoric acid to decrease the pH number or potassium hydroxide to increase the pH number.

Step 3

Purchase or grow plant seedlings to a height of 2 to 4 inches. Remove the root ball from the growing container and gently remove the soil from the root system without damaging the roots. Rinse the roots in a tub of water to remove the remaining soil from the roots.

Step 4

Fill the hydroponic netted pots 1/2 to 2/3 full of hydroponic medium. Set the roots of the plant into the pot and gently cover with medium to hold in place. The amount of medium required will depend on the size of the plant and root ball.

Step 5

Add hydroponic nutrients to the water tank. Follow the package instructions for the amount needed based on the volume of water that runs through the system. Add nutrients each time you add water to the system to maintain the proper level.

Step 6

Install a grow light over an indoor hydroponic system to make sure the plants receive adequate day lengths for proper growth. Vegetable plants prefer long 14- to 16-hour days.

Things You'll Need

  • Hydroponic system
  • Water pH test
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Potassium hydroxide
  • Plant seedlings
  • Netted pots
  • Hydroponic medium
  • Hydroponic nutrient mix
  • Grow lights


  • Growing Tomatoes Hydroponically: Propagation
  • Waiakeawaena Elementary School: Starting a Simple Hydroponic Garden
  • Simply Hydroponics and Organics: Hydroponic System Plans

Who Can Help

  • Simply Hydroponics and Organics: pH
Keywords: grow hydroponics plants, grow plant water, use water hydroponics

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.