Propagating Calathea In Water – How Does The Process Work?

Calathea is a beautiful tropical plant that is gaining popularity in recent times. The beauty of this plant is its unique and eye-catching leaves. Calathea plants are also considered pet-friendly plants. So many people love to grow this plant in the home or office.

Typically, many types of houseplants can be grown in both water and soil environments. Therefore, many people tend to assume that Calathea plants can also live in aquatic environments. Can Calathea plants grow and develop in water? Is Propagating Calathea in water an effective method? Let’s find out the details in the article below.

Propagating Calathea In Water – Should I Do It?

Calathea plants can grow in water but this does not mean that they can live completely in water. As you know, Calathea plants are tropical forest plants, so they will grow and develop best in the soil environment.

You can propagate Calathea plants in water, but once they have rooted, you should switch to growing in soil. If you continue to grow Calathea plants in water, they will not be able to grow normally, and even root rot and die. These plants will receive more nutrients in the soil and fertilizer than when you grow them in water.

So many people start to ask the question, why don’t we propagate Calathea plants in soil? This is because you cannot take cuttings from this plant to propagate directly into the ground. You should divide the plants and their root systems and propagate them in water. It is a simple process and will be more effective than breeding in the water.

propagating calathea in water

How To Propagate The Calathea Plant In Water?

You cannot use leaves or cuttings to propagate Calathes plants. Instead, you must divide the plant into small clumps to propagate this plant. One of the most important factors that you need to pay attention to is the quality of the seedling. An adult Calathea tree, in good health, free from pests and diseases, and in full growing season would be the best choice. The reason is that if the quality of the seedlings is low, the propagation process will quickly fail. Therefore, only when you find good quality seedlings can you proceed with the propagation process for Calathea plants.

Tools You Need To Prepare

The propagation process of Calathea plants does not require any complicated tools, so you only need to prepare a few tools as follows:

Glass container: Using a glass jar or container to propagate the Calathea plant in water is the best choice. You will easily observe the development of the root system without having to lift them out of the water every day.

Pruning tools: Use clean and disinfected knives or scissors to avoid creating favorable conditions for bacteria to attack plants.

Water: Water is the most important factor in the propagation of Calathea plants in water. Water quality will determine the rate of rooting and the success rate of propagation. You should not use tap water for breeding because it often contains some chemicals such as chlorine, fluorine, or bicarbonate.

Steps To Propagate

Once you have selected mature and healthy Calathea plants, you will begin to follow the steps below.

Step 1: Divide the Calathea plant into small clumps or the appropriate amount according to your needs. The plants in each clump should have healthy root systems, stems, and leaves. You should do the division process gently and carefully. Because the root system of Calathea plants is fragile. So they will be easily broken or damaged in the process. If you cannot divide the plant by hand, use tools such as scissors or a sterilized knife.

Step 2: Put the clumps into the glass jars with water. Make sure the entire root system will be in the water, and the stems and leaves will be on the front. Therefore, you need to choose a glass vase that is the right size for the height of the Calathes plants. If the glass vase is longer than the length of the plant, you should use supports or create points to support the stems and leaves above the water.

Step 3: You should regularly check and change the water in the glass jar. While the Calathea plants take root, you need to maintain the ideal water level in the glass vase. Depending on the temperature and volatility of the water in the glass jar, you should change the water once a week. This process will also help remove dirty water, bacteria, or excess substances that have accumulated in the water.

Step 4: Fertilizing the root system is extremely necessary to stimulate the root system of Calathea plants. As you know, water is not the ideal medium for keeping nutrients for long periods. Therefore, you need to fertilize Calathea plants to provide them with adequate nutrients. You can opt for hydroponic fertilizers that are created for plants growing in water. Be careful while adding fertilizer to the water as too much fertilizer can damage the roots.

How To Care For Calathea Plants After Propagation?

After Calathea plants have grown many new roots, leaves also start to grow and the stem is taller, you can plant them in water or move them to the ground. As I mentioned, Calathea plants will grow and develop best in soil.

However, if you still want to grow them in hydroponics, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

  • Choose the right size container for the root system in each stage.
  • Make sure the container is large enough to cover the entire underwater root system
  • You must change the water whenever the water is dirty or mossy.
  • You also have to fertilize the water so that the plant gets enough nutrients and doesn’t weaken.
  • Use good quality water, do not use tap water because there are many chemicals.
  • The growth process of Calathea plants will not be rapid and reach the standard size when grown in water.

Care For Calathea Plants After Planting In The Ground

After finishing the propagation process, you can plant Calathea plants in the ground. Because the root system of this plant is still fragile, you should choose potting soil that is loose and retains moisture well. The root system of Calathea plants in the water will be weaker than those grown in soil. Therefore, you should do this process gently and carefully.

After a day when you plant the plant in the ground, the plant can be stressed by sudden changes in habitat. They may wilt, shrivel, or soften when grown in water. However, give them time to acclimate to their new environment and root system deeper into the soil.

You just need to keep the plants moist because they are used to living in the water. Make sure the soil has enough nutrients and is well drained to avoid waterlogging after each watering.


Calathea plants can propagate in water but they cannot grow and develop well in water completely. Therefore, you can choose to breed in the country for the best effect. Then, when the plants have new roots, healthy leaves, and stems, you can plant them in the ground because the soil is the most ideal medium for Calathea plants.

To carry out this process, you need to prepare some tools such as a glass container to easily observe the root growth, scissors, or a sterilized knife and water quality. Do not use tap water because it contains many chemicals.

The key to the success of propagation is the quality of the seedling and the water. You should choose seedlings that are mature, in good health, free from pests and diseases, and in the growing season.

Leave a Comment