Monday, August 27, 2012

Keeping Water Lettuce and Water Hyacinth Green

    Water Hyacinth

Keeping water hyacinth and water lettuce healthy and green can be a challenge, especially when they are grown in a new pond. Water Hyacinth and Water Lettuce need warm weather and will not survive if exposed to frost and freezing temperatures.The plants are a natural way of oxygenating and clarifying pond water.  They also help balance the pond ecosystem and reduce the chance of algae by providing shade and water coverage.  The plants free float on the surface with their roots dangling down into the water below.  The roots also provide an excellent environment for spawning fish. 

Water Hyacinth grows best in full sun, but can grow in partial sun to full shade.  Hyacinth grown in partial shade produce less flowers than hyacinth grown in full sun, and hyacinth grown in full shade rarely blooms at all.  It can grow indoors if kept in an aquarium with a glass top to keep in the humidity. Grown in shade, the plant will produce long skinny bulbs.  Grown in full sun or partial sun, hyacinth will produce round full bulbs. 

Water Hyacinth grows best in shallow water ponds 10"-2' deep. Do not place in an area with a fountain or moving water, as the water movement will push the plants to the edge of the pool and also damage the roots.  Water Hyacinth is safe for all animals and is often fed to cattle in South America.  Pond life such as Koi and turtles will eat water hyacinth and destroy the plants.


     Water Lettuce

Water Lettuce comes in several different varieties: Rosette Water Lettuce (as pictured), Ruffled Water Lettuce, and Jurassic Water Lettuce.

Jurassic Water Lettuce is the hardiest water lettuce of the three.  It will grow well indoors and outdoors; in full sun or full shade.  If grown indoors, it should also be kept in an aquarium with a glass top to keep in the humidity.  Grows well in both deep and shallow ponds.

Ruffled Water Lettuce grows well in partial sun in hot climates and in full sun in cool climates.  Grows best in shallow ponds 10"-2' deep.

Rosette Water Lettuce must have full sun.  If grown in full shade, it will become flat and yellow (as pictured on left).  Grows best in shallow water ponds 10"-2' deep. 

All water lettuce must be grown in a still body of water.  Do not place in an area with a fountain or moving water, as the water movement will push the plants to the edge of the pool and damage the roots. Water Lettuce is also safe for all animals. Pond life such as Koi and turtles will eat water lettuce and destroy the plants.


 Fertilizing Water Hyacinth and Water Lettuce


Browning and yellowing leaves often occur when water hyacinth and water lettuce lack nutrients to stay healthy and green.  Although there may be fish in the water, the ecosystem may not be balanced to support floating plant life.  I use 10-26-10 Highland Rim Fertilizer in my ponds to keep water hyacinth and water lettuce green and healthy.  For a 10' square area, crumble up 2 fertilzier tabs and scatter under the water below the plant roots.  Highland Rim is safe for all plant and animal life.  It may create green water, but will not promote string algae.
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Another option for healthy green water lettuce and water hyacinth is MiracleGro flower fertilizer. The directions call for 1 tablespoon per 1 gallon of water.  For water plants, use 1 tablespoon per 2 gallons of water instead.  DO NOT ADD MiracleGro to your pond.  Instead, mix a batch in a separate container and give the water lettuce and water hyacinth a soak for about 20 minutes.  Remove the plants from the soak and rinse off the roots.  Place back into the pond. 

1 comment:

jrhoden said...

Thanks for this info. I live in Northeast Florida and my hyacinths isn't blooming although it's in full Sun. I'm soaking them right now. How soon would I see results in growth and flowering?