getting to the root of it.

plant roots in glass jars / sfgirlbybay

a well traveled woman.

i have been coveting the idea of rooting plants in vintage glass jars for a while now. i even tried the (seemingly) easy idea of rooting an avocado pit to no avail. i’ve been successful when it comes to growing from bulbs — like paper whites, but when it comes to roots, i’m an utter failure. so i’m coming to you guys for guidance. i just think this is the prettiest idea, and love the simplicity of the look, but i’ve yet to be able to pull it off. are there any particular plants that you know of that root well like this, from a simple stem in a jar with a narrow neck? if you’ve got some tips, bring ’em on – i’d be most appreciative!

plants with roots in glass jars / sfgirlbybay

residence magazine.

white flowers in jars / sfgirlbybay

weekday carnival.

large glass jars filled with green plants and water / sfgirlbybay

nordic leaves.

exotic plants growing in glass jars / sfgirlbybay

stijlbloem.

lovely rooted plants in vintage glass jars / sfgirlbybay

vtwonen (above + below).

diy rooting plants in vintage glass / sfgirlbybay



Comments
37 Responses to “getting to the root of it.”
  1. Sara says:

    Yes! The absolute, no fail plant who will root with ease is the Heartleaf Philodendron. It is such a good and unfussy plant and grows as a vine (I have mine in a hanging planter and the vines reach all the way to the floor). Every time a tendril gets too long, I just snip it and place it in a glass jar with water. It will start to root within a week, and you can leave them virtually forever. I’m looking at one I have on my desk at work that has a lovely mess of root tangles that’s been there for months with hardly any natural light.

    Another sweet water rooter is the spider plant. If you snip one of the babies off and stick it’s butt in water, it will begin to root as well. That one just needs a little more care as you will have to prune and watch to make sure it doesn’t get too submerged. It needs a vase with a wide bottom and small, untapered opening. Enjoy!

  2. Victoria, like you, I’ve been eyeing and wanting to do the same, especially with large nuts and acorns. I tried recently with an English Walnut only to have the whole thing grow moldy. Nuts aside, the easiest plants to start from cuttings in water is the mint, the wandering jew and the coleus. I learned this back in the 70s from a fabulous book called THE PURPLE THUMB http://www.amazon.com/House-Plants-Purple-Thumb/dp/B000SAJ92W

  3. Monica says:

    Golden Pothos has never failed me. In fact, I’m rooting some now in a Ball jar for a friend.

  4. Therese says:

    Hi Victoria!
    I have recently succeeded with acorns and avocado, but it sure is hard. I’m not sure about your climate but in Sweden you succeed the best with acorns if you pick them (from the ground) in the very end of the autumn (close to the winter). Acorns that fell from the tree and have been lying on the ground among cozy leaves until the beginning of november has started to grow a little bit. So then you should search the park for acorns that already grew a little tail or. Putting the tail in water indoor it will grow roots fast. For avocado I just learned this from my dad: put them under the soil in your garden in the spring and dig them up after the summer, then they will have small roots. Then you can take them indoor and plant them in a pot or put them in a glass jar with water. If you don’t want to wait I have tried with bought plants, just taken away the pot and soil and put the roots in water. It works well with Araucaria heterophylla (star pine) and looks so nice in a glass jar for christmas. Good luck!

  5. Libbynan says:

    Both avocado seeds and sweet potato segments have always been a no-brainier for me. Back in the 70s and 80s the kiddos and I grew these on the window sills (any window) all the time. Believe it or not, I used to transplant them into vintage Roseville containers that were $4-7 at the flea market and give them as gifts!

  6. Kim says:

    I’ve had some luck with succulent off-cuts, they grow like crazy and you’ll soon be spawning a whole family of little succulents.

  7. Kelcey says:

    My mom has a ficus cutting that has been happily growing away in an old clear glass jug for the last 20+ years. She’d clipped a branch off the ficus tree outside and stuck it in the jar when sprucing the house up for some guests– and promptly forgot about it until she noticed it had started to sprout roots a few weeks later…. I’ve never had such luck.

  8. Maria says:

    ivy. easiest thing in the world to root. good luck! i love, love, love growing and tending plants – indoors & out! :)

  9. Ivy says:

    more to try to try are angel wing, or any other begonia, jade plant, and spider plants – and papyrus /umbrella plants are fun – just clip an “umbrella” with stem attached, turn it over and shove the umbrella in the water, and it puts out roots and leaves from the center of the leaf.
    I’ve always had trouble with avocados – they take so long to sprout, and I have trouble keeping the water level consistent, so if the germ is starting and it gets dry…no avocado. I do best with them by just plopping the seed into potting soil (often next to another plant that already looks ok) pushing it in a bit and keeping the soil moist. Then I forget about it until one day, I spy a leaf, and know I can carefully transplant to its own pot. Hooray!
    Another cool thing about sweet potato is that you can eat the leaves, so if it gets particularly lush, you can cook up the trimmings.

  10. Diana says:

    Mother-in-law tongue, they grow happily in water and display a big tangle of pale roots…

  11. Frances says:

    Hoya and Swedish ivy both root easily; also, apparently, basil. My mother had beautiful hoya in wine bottles for years; they bloomed, too, and she insists she never fertilized them. I used to root impatiens this way as well but always put them in soil before they bloomed so can’t comment on whether they would.

  12. Ela says:

    Adding a sprig of willow to your water will help most plants grow roots- there are hormones in willow which stimulate root growth and the salicylic acid in willow is a natural defense against bacteria and fungi .

  13. Begonias are so eager to grow in a jar of water! Real little people-pleasers, they are. x

  14. Sam says:

    I love your website so much. Also your pinterst and Instagram. I feel so inspired by these plants, I only wish I had space to have more indoor greenery.

  15. Charlotte says:

    I highly recommend the book Don’t Throw It, Grow It by Deborah Peterson. There are good tricks in there that I never would have known (for instance, starting an avocado seed in a bag of sphagnum moss and putting it in a dark place). Once it roots, you could probably transfer it to a jar!

  16. kim says:

    I love this look as well- the secret is taking a plant that’s already established roots , cleaning off the dirt and placing it in a water garden . I use avocados and here’s the foolproof starting directions that I teach in workshops. Peel all the dark skin off of the avocado seed , then cut a small slice from both the top and bottom (I use a carrot peeler) . Plant the seed in a pot of dirt and water it and keep it watered until you see a sprout (this can take up to 4 weeks sometimes)once you’ve got a nice established plant remove , clean dirt from the roots and voila. I have dozens of avocados from doing this and several in vases of water . Also that curly willow in the florist shop will root beautifully in water – make sure its still a little green.

  17. kim says:

    oops forgot- the avocado seed will need sunlight- preferably outdoors to root but will rot on a sunny room.

  18. eva says:

    Basil happened for me by accident; I bought a bunch of basil at the grocery store and put it in a jar to keep fresh. A few weeks later I noticed it was still very lush and green and perhaps even growing a bit. When I checked, it had totally rooted! Now I do it intentionally.

  19. nohatnogloves says:

    Like you, I have struggled with avocados but have accidentally managed to get geraniums to root and live quite happily in water. It survived on the kitchen windowsill for quite some time. I live in hope of avocados though.

  20. Lucia says:

    We keep green onions in a jar on the kitchen counter. They grow so fast, you’ll never have to buy green onions again!

  21. Chelsea says:

    I agree with the comments above but for the photo shoot of these plants – quite a few of them look like they were dug up and roots washed off and then placed into a nice jar. Especially the hardwood seedlings – otherwise, their roots wouldn’t look so curved like they were in a smaller pot. If it’s a temporary look you’re after – I’d say that’d be a good technique. However, a lot of these jars will begin to have a layer of film and won’t look so fresh after trying to grow the plant for some time.

  22. Sam says:

    Any kind of willow will root easily…. impatiens, creeping charlies/sweedish ivy… actually most plants will root in water easily, but the most important part is to keep the water fresh and out of direct sunlight. Water+Sunlight=algae and eventually mold.
    You can also use young willow branches to make a sort of “root tea” for your other plants. Steep young willows branches stripped of their bark in hot water, after it’s cooled you can use it to water your other plants and it will help with root development.
    I’ve also had great success by taking a sharp knife to the end of the stem, stripping off some of the harder outer layer and exposing the softer inside layer, then I split the stem lengthwise at the bottom by about a 1/4 inch.

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