A Monstera Mystery: Why They Thrive In Water But Die In Waterlogged Soil

One of the most intriguing questions plant enthusiasts often grapple with is the seeming contradiction in the way plants interact with water.

How is it that plants like Monsteras can thrive when grown directly in water but may succumb to root rot if their soil remains waterlogged?

Some of our articles include affiliate links and AI content that was carefully vetted by our team

This video from the popular gardening channel @purived plant food, unravels the mystery. Watch here:

@purivedplantfood Replying to @tinaacosta2 Great question! How is it that plants such as Monsteras can thrive in water but can also die out root rot if they're in waterlogged soil? The answer lies in the amount of oxygen available to the plant's roots. When soil is saturated with water and remains that way for too long there's not enough oxygen for the roots to survive, leading to root rot and eventual death of the plant. That’s why you often hear me talking about well draining soil and good drainage. On the other hand, water alone provides an ample amount oxygen for the roots to thrive, but if the plant remains in the same water for too long, it can still die due to lack of oxygen. Therefore, it's important to ensure that the water is re-oxygenated by changing the water frequently to which keeps your roots healthy because happy roots, happy plant! 😃🌱 #houseplants #hydroponics #leca #plantcare #indoorplants #waterpropagation #plantlover #planttips #plantnutrition #monstera #monsteradeliciosa #overwatering #rootrot #healthyroots #planthealth #welldrainingsoil ♬ original sound – Purived Plant Food

The Oxygen Mystery Unraveled

According to @purived plant food, the answer lies in the amount of oxygen available to the plant’s roots.

Roots require oxygen to survive and grow. Without enough oxygen, roots may begin to rot, leading to the eventual death of the plant.

The key difference in these two scenarios is the way in which oxygen is made available to the roots.

Oxygen in Soil

When a plant is in soil, it depends on the air pockets within the soil for its oxygen supply.


When the soil becomes saturated with water and remains that way for too long, there are no air pockets left. The roots end up suffocating due to lack of oxygen.

This is why gardeners often emphasize the importance of well-draining soil and good drainage.

Read more here: 10 Brilliant Hacks to Improve Monstera Drainage (And Prevent Root Rot)

With good drainage, the soil can retain enough moisture for the plant without drowning the roots in water.

Here’s how you can prevent Monstera root rot: This Hidden Threat Can Ruin Your Monstera: Tackling Root Rot, Your Plant’s Worst Foe

Oxygen in Water

In contrast, water can provide an ample amount of oxygen for roots to thrive. This explains why many plants can grow healthily in a glass of water.

However, the water must be changed frequently to ensure it is re-oxygenated.

Stagnant water can lose its oxygen content over time, leading to a similar suffocation situation as waterlogged soil.

Audience Engagement

The @purived plant food video, which gathered over 65.1K views, generated interesting conversations among its 19.3K followers.

Monstera in a mason jar of water

A user by the name of @sowandtell pointed out that “Water roots and soil roots absorb oxygen differently. That’s why you have to transition established water roots slowly into different mediums.”

Another user, @planty_Frenchy_&_ses_amis, shared that they were considering introducing a fish tank type oxygen bubble to their water-only Monsteras.

Responding to this, the creator of the video, expressed support for the idea and encouraged the user to share their results.

More Helpful Tips

In addition to the crucial oxygen-water balance, the video also sparked some interesting and inventive care tips for plants.

One user shared their practice of pouring leftover sparkling water into their water and soil grown plants, attributing their plants’ lush growth to the carbonation in the water.

When asked about how frequently to change the water for plants growing in it, Purived Plant Food recommended doing it weekly.

Monsteras Can Thrive In Water

Understanding the dynamics of water, soil, and oxygen can significantly improve your plant care routine and, subsequently, the health of your plants.

Regardless of the medium in which your plants are growing, ensuring they receive adequate oxygen is crucial.

And as they say, happy roots equal a happy plant!

For more Monstera watering tips, check out these other articles:

Should You Really Put Monstera’s Aerial Roots In Water?

Signs Your Monstera Is Overwatered (& How To Restore Its Health)