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House Plants That Only Grow in Water

By Moira Clune ; Updated September 21, 2017

When ice and snow are piling up outside, a container water garden lets you enjoy a small indoor oasis, complete with fish and water plants. It's a fun and easy way to enjoy unusual houseplants that grow only in water. Use a watertight container, preferably one made of glazed ceramic. The pot should be at least 14 inches across and 12 inches deep. Scrub it out and fill it one-third full with clean gravel or small rocks. Add water and plants, and let your mini-vacation begin.

Marginal Plants

According to University of Vermont Extension, popular houseplants such as Chinese evergreen (Aglaonemas), dumbcane, English ivy, philodendrons, pothos and wax plants can be grown in the water along the margins of your pond, although typical marginal pond plants such as green taro (Plumbae taro), ribbon grass (Phalaris arundinacea) and chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordata) are more commonly used. Plant marginals in small, submerged containers into which you’ve inserted gravel or florists’ foam.

Floating Plants

Floating plants need no pots, dirt or anchoring. They simply float on the surface of the water, taking nutrients from the water for growth. Some popular and attractive floaters are giant velvet leaf (Salvinia longifolia), water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) and water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes).

Submerged Plants

Submerged plants add oxygen and help to keep the water clean. The University of Illinois recommends wild celery (Vallisneria sp.), fanwort (Cabomba canadensis) and anacharis (Egeria densa). Insert the bases of submerged plants into the gravel material in the bottom of your mini-pond.

Fish and Snails

Fish and snails help to balance the ecosystem of your pond garden. Snails eat algae and decaying plant matter, helping to keep water clear. Add several guppies, goldfish or mollies for visual interest. Keep fish populations low to avoid water clarity problems.