Calathea plants are renowned for their vibrant foliage and unique patterns, making them a favorite among plant enthusiasts. If you’re looking to try a different approach to cultivating these stunning plants, growing Calathea in water might be the next exciting venture for you.


Choosing the Right Calathea Variety

Before you embark on the water propagation journey, it’s essential to choose the right Calathea variety. Popular choices include the Calathea Orbifolia, Calathea Medallion, and Calathea Zebrina. Consider factors like leaf size, color patterns, and growth habits when selecting the perfect Calathea for water propagation.

Preparing the Water Propagation Setup

Creating an optimal environment for water propagation is crucial. Choose a transparent container to allow visibility into the root development process. Ensure the water is free from chemicals, and maintain a room temperature of around 70°F (21°C) for optimal results.

Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Calathea in Water

  1. Preparing the Calathea Cutting:
  1. Select a healthy Calathea stem with a minimum of two leaves.
  2. Use sharp scissors or pruning shears to make a clean cut just below a leaf node.
  1. Placing the Cutting in Water:
  1. Submerge the cut end of the Calathea stem in water, ensuring the node is fully submerged.
  2. Place the container in a well-lit location without direct sunlight.
  1. Monitoring Growth and Changing Water:
  1. Keep an eye on root development, and change the water every few days to maintain freshness.
  2. Once roots are well-established, the Calathea can be transitioned to soil.

Understanding Calathea’s Water Needs

Calatheas originate from the tropical rainforests of South America, where they thrive in high humidity. Replicate their natural habitat by misting the leaves regularly and maintaining a humid environment. This ensures the plant receives the moisture it needs for healthy growth.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While water propagation offers numerous benefits, certain mistakes can hinder the process. Overwatering is a common pitfall, leading to root rot. Additionally, using water with high chemical content can negatively impact the plant. Patience is key, as Calatheas may take time to show signs of growth.

Benefits of Growing Calathea in Water

  1. Enhanced Root Development:
  1. Water propagation encourages robust root growth, leading to healthier and more resilient plants.
  1. Faster Growth Compared to Soil Propagation:
  1. Calatheas often show quicker growth when propagated in water, providing a more satisfying gardening experience.
  1. Creating a Beautiful Display with Water-Filled Containers:
  1. The transparent containers used for water propagation can serve as unique and eye-catching decor items.

Troubleshooting and Solutions

  1. Yellowing Leaves:
  1. Adjust the lighting conditions to prevent direct sunlight, which can cause leaf discoloration.
  1. Slow Growth Issues:
  1. Ensure the Calathea receives adequate light and nutrients, adjusting as needed.
  1. Addressing Potential Root Rot:
  1. If signs of root rot appear, trim affected roots and transfer the Calathea to fresh water.

Decorative Ideas for Water Propagated Calathea

Elevate your home decor with stylish containers and creative arrangements for your water-propagated Calathea. Consider placing multiple cuttings in a single container for a captivating display.

Tips for Transitioning Calathea to Soil

When the roots are well-established, it’s time to transition your Calathea to soil. Gradually acclimate the plant to its new environment by introducing soil in small increments. This ensures a smooth transition, reducing the risk of stress to the plant.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can any Calathea variety be propagated in water?
  1. While many Calathea varieties can be propagated in water, some may respond better to traditional soil propagation.
  1. How long does it take for roots to develop in water?
  1. Root development varies, but on average, you can expect to see roots within 2-6 weeks.
  1. What water should be used for Calathea water propagation?
  1. Use distilled or filtered water to prevent the build-up of harmful chemicals that may affect the plant.
  1. Can I skip the transition to soil and keep my Calathea in water permanently?
  1. While Calathea can thrive in water, transitioning to soil provides essential nutrients for long-term health.
  1. How often should I change the water during the propagation process?
  1. Change the water every 2-3 days to maintain freshness and provide optimal conditions for root development.


Growing Calathea in water is not only a rewarding experience for plant enthusiasts but also a unique way to showcase these stunning plants. The benefits of enhanced root development and faster growth make water propagation an attractive option for those looking to try something new in their gardening journey.


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