How long a plant lives in a water culture greatly depends on the water source. Water should keep fresh and nutritious, for plants need mineral nutrients to grow healthy.
When roots become deficient in mineral nutrients, particularly calcium and boron, which are required in the external solution for normal functioning of roots, the roots die and decay. And as they die and decay, the roots release some mineral nutrients, which then presumably help new roots to grow. Some gardeners said they noticed this repeating pattern when they grew pothos in a mineral nutrient solution that was lacking of calcium.
Another stress on roots in water culture is that the lack of oxygen and pH extremes that the plant may suffer.
How do I water my plants?
In general, I treat the plants that grow in water more or less the same as those that are planted in soil. Different plants have different watering needs. After experimenting with several types of plant in the water culture, I have learned that plants draw up water whenever they need it, and let it sit whenever they don’t.
So, for me, I usually allow water to run out or nearly run out before adding more fresh water. And when I add in new water, I will dump away the old water that is left in the container, if possible. Fresh water contains oxygen, and the roots love it. While decayed roots release some mineral nutrients that help growing new roots, they also release ethylene that is poisonous to plants.
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