I would like to know which edible plants can actually root from twigs and/or leaves put in water or a similar setup? Is it as simple as leaving them in water or do you need chemicals to induce rooting?

  • Are you specifically looking for plants in which you eat the leaves/stem ("vegetables", e.g. cabbage, rhubarb, oregano), or are fruit-bearing plants ok (e.g. blueberries, tomatoes, squash)? Are you specifically looking for those that will root in water, or are you interested in plants that will root in soil?
    – bstpierre
    Nov 22 '11 at 23:47
  • @bstpierre: any plant. I would prefer water for now, but soil would also be nice, although I think I may open a similar question for soil. Also, I would really appreciate if the underlying mechanism granting this effect is explained, so that I can extend it to other plants having the same property but are not among those mentioned. Nov 23 '11 at 0:00
  • @StefanoBorini There are several questions on plants that root in soil. Looking through the vegetable tag might be a good start. But if you're asking for ones that grow in your climate specifically, then that's very welcome. I don't think we've had questions for Amsterdam or Europe in general. Make sure to give us your climate info and soil conditions. Nov 23 '11 at 0:05
  • @yoda: Well, I would like to play a bit and get some practice, and I am looking for some examples to try at home. I will plant them in spring in a garden at work, but my main interest is to practice it and see it working (or not, and hopefully fix it) Nov 23 '11 at 0:20
  • Per Wikipedia, almost any terrestrial plant will grow with hydroponics. Is that what you meant, or did you mean to grow roots for the purpose of planting in soil at a later time?
    – Lisa
    Nov 23 '11 at 4:39

Theoretically you can induce most slips (of an asexually reproducing plant) to root in just water as long as the water is extremely aerated, the right temperature and the proper pH. Most plants that can reproduce asexually don't need nutrients from soil to start roots for a limited time. Once they slip/seed has used up its stored energy source it will need nutrients added to the water or to be transplanted to the soil.

These are the vegetables/fruits that I know of that can be grown asexually:

  • Asparagus
  • Rhubarb
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Horseradish
  • Jerusalem Artichokes

Note: You can start any plant hydroponically/aeroponically and then transplant it to soil later.


Sweet potato slips root readily in room temperature water near a light source. The slips are 8" cuttings from the growing tips, with all of the completely mature leaves removed. Tomatoes are also easy to root this way. Change the water and rinse the roots in room temperature water every other day for best results. Peppers take longer, but they will root. Fig trees root pretty well from ripe-wood and hardwood cuttings.

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