6- Water Hyacinths :
Tips For Growing Water Hyacinth Plants
By Jackie Carroll
Water Hyacinth bears leathery foliage that creeps across the surface of the pond. The foliage helps to provide shade and the roots provide filtration, a spawning area for the pond fish, and absorb excess nutrients from the water, helping to reduce algae. It also is an excellent water clarifier. The delicate, purple flowers have a yellow "eye" on one petal, last approximately one day, but bloom throughout the season, and add a pleasing splash of color to the pond. The flowers grow on 6-inch stems at the center of a rosette of glossy bulb-like leaves. These leaves will gather air in pockets and keep the plant afloat. Reaches height of 6-12".
Because the Water Hyacinth has a tropical nature, it will require heat and full sun to thrive and flower. Yellowish leaves are a sign of insufficient nutrients in the water; move plants with yellowing leaving to an alternate area and add plant food to their water, rotating with plants left in the pond. A vigorous reproducer, it can quickly take over the water garden. Remove excess plants to help prevent this from happening. Zones 9-11.
Approximate Purchase Size: 6" to 8"
With no fish in here, you can use any fertilizer you want. See photo at bottom for results
Beautiful but destructive in the wrong environment, water hyacinths (Eichhornia crassipes) are among the showiest of water garden plants. Flower stalks that grow about six inches above the foliage arise from the centers of the rosettes in spring, and by the end of spring, each plant holds as many as 20 gorgeous purple flowers. The flowers last until fall and make striking cut flowers.
How to Grow Water Hyacinth
Growing water hyacinth plants is easy. Once established, they require no special care except occasional thinning to keep them from choking out everything else in the pond. Under perfect conditions, a colony of water hyacinths can double its size every 8 to 12 days.
Water hyacinths need full sun and hot summer temperatures. Introduce them to the garden by scattering bunches of plants over the surface of the water. They quickly take hold and begin to grow. Thin the plants when they cover more than 60 percent of the water surface.
Water hyacinth plants survive winters in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11. They are best grown as annuals in places where cold winters keep them in check by killing them back. In warmer areas, these plants do become invasive. You can overwinter them indoors in a sunny spot, but they are inexpensive to replace each year. Most gardeners don’t find them worth the trouble to keep over winter.
Container Grown Water Hyacinths
A half barrel is an ideal container for a water hyacinth. The plants need full sun in garden ponds, but in containers they do best if they have shade from mid to late afternoon. Cover the inside of the barrel with a heavy duty garbage bag and then place a layer of soil in the bottom of the container. Don’t use commercial potting soil, which contains fertilizers and other chemicals that may harm the plant and encourage the growth of algae. Commercial soils also contain perlite and vermiculite, which floats to the top of the container. Cover the soil with a thin layer of sand.
City water is usually treated with chlorine or chloramine, which is harmful to plants. Garden centers sell products that remove the chlorine and chloramine from the water and make it safe for plants. There is no need to treat the small amounts of water that you use to top off the container through the season.
You can allow the plant to float on the surface of the water, or anchor it in place by attaching one end of a length of nylon string to the plant and the other end to a brick.
WARNING: Water hyacinth is a highly invasive species in areas with mild winters. The plants are banned in several states. Once they enter waterways, the plants grow and reproduce to form dense mats that choke out native species. A thick growth of water hyacinths can ensnare boat motors and make it impossible to use infested lakes for recreational purposes. The plants block out sunlight and deplete oxygen, killing off fish and other wildlife that live in the water.
Caring for Your New Water Hyacinth
courtesy to : aqualandpetsplus.com/Pond,%20Water%20Hyacinth.htm
Water Hyacinth Facts :
Origin :Amazon River basin -- mostly Brasil
Fertilizers :Add if leaves start yellowing
UsesBeautifies, purifies, provides shade and security
Flowers : Light purple blooms when temp hits 80 F
Growth rate : Fastest growing plant in the world
Sun or Shade :Full sun best
Threats :Cold weather, salt, herbicides, children
Water :Removes pollutants from water
Craig Hall's pic of his hyacinth ranch. Just kidding, Craig. Water hyacinths are pretty.
Origins: Originally from what most people call Brazil, water hyacinths came to the U.S. in 1880. They were brought to the Cotton Exposition in Louisiana, introduced into Florida, and from there quickly spread to all our southern states. Now considered a noxious weed in these states and “the worst aquatic plant,” they are illegal to export or import into these and several other states. They grow so fast that they block waterways and impede navigation in many states.
Movie Stars: If you saw the movie “Anaconda,” you saw their boat plow thru vast quantities of water hyacinths. It was a sad movie, because the anaconda died at the end.
Really attractive flowers.
Floating Plants: You don’t plant water hyacinths in special pots; you just toss them in the water. Their air-filled leaves keep them afloat. They float like a green-leaved cork. You don’t even need to remember “green side up.” Their heavy roots automatically right them no matter what you do.
Older roots turn black. New roots come in white.
Root System: Long heavily branched roots looking like they’re covered with black whiskers very efficiently remove fish wastes from the water. Older roots turn black. Younger roots are white. Roots can grow as long as 18 inches. If they reach a mud bottom, they grow even faster.
Baby plant growing off the bottom left side.
Starting out: We trim our hyacinths back as far as possible. If you get yours elsewhere, pull off ALL dead or broken leaves. They will not repair themselves. Also pull off the excess roots. Trimming them back (a lot) encourages new growth and makes them look better. Dead or broken leaves will not repair themselves.
Even this young plant has three daughter cells growing from its base.
Reproduction: Water hyacinths can reproduce by seeds in warm climates -- not in Iowa. Seeds can survive 15 to 20 years during crummy weather. However, most hyacinths reproduce by stolons (like strawberry runners). In good conditions they double in population every 12 days. In Florida, they can yield 200 tons per acre. All these traits make them a great pond plant for Iowa -- but not Florida.
Once they look like this, they will not recover. Our fall weather really slows them down.
Iowa Winters: We see some reports saying hyacinths die at temps below 20o. In Iowa backyards they stop growing at 40 and die out at 32. The first frost wipes them totally. If we had no winters in IOwa, they would be a noxious weed here also.
Substrate: It matters not what you put on the bottom of your pond. Water hyacinths will prosper. If you have a dirt bottom, they will very likely have access to more nutrients.
Fertilizers: You will need to fertilize your fast-growing hyacinths if their leaves turn yellow. Use any fertilizer you know will not hurt your fish. If you have no fish in your pond. use any type of fertilizer you want. Small frequent feedings work better than one massive feeding.
At the beginning of the pond season, water hyacinths arrive in bags of 100.
Excess Plants: Once they get a good start, you wind up with more than you need. At the end of the pond season, disposal of dead hyacinths can present a problem. We find the best solution involves raking them out of your pond, drying them a couple days, then mulching them with your lawn mower. If you leave them in your pond over the winter, they make a royal mess. Get the dead ones out as soon as possible. In some countries, they compost their hyacinths and use them to grow mushrooms.
Algae Cure: Water hyacinths control algae growth in two main ways. They reduce the amount of sunlight entering the water. They also suck out the nutrients that algae need to grow successfully.
About 2 inches across at first, these baby hyacinths will explode in size and number.
Other Uses: In addition to looking good, water hyacinths also provide the security some fishes need. Their roots also serve as prime spawning areas. The roots also provide a home for tiny insects and other critters that fishes enjoy snacking upon.
Water: Water hyacinths grow in nearly any kind of water without salt in it. Copper will kill them, so will most algae treatments. The only algae treatment that lets them live is AlgaeFix.
Trimmed water hyacinths ready for sale in Aqualand's front window.
Last Word: Water hyacinths will grow for anybody. Lack a green thumb? Try the water hyacinths.
Size: Most water hyacinths grow 12 to18-inches tall. They will grow taller -- up to three feet tall. Crowded conditions plus fertilizer make them really stretch out.
Other websites :
Water Hyacinth - A Very Wicked Plant
EatTheWeeds: Episode 38: Water Hyacinth
Water Gardens & Features Q & A
courtesy to : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eichhornia_crassipes
Q: I’ve had many people tell me to add water hyacinth to my water garden. I heard they spread like wildfire and can take over my water garden. What’s so great about them? – Tiffany of West Virginia
A: Water hyacinth, especially in water gardens, are a useful tool when trying to create a balanced ecosystem. Water hyacinth are simple to use and perform many functions in a water garden such as: great for filtration, compete with algae for nutrients and provides shade and shelter. I know many of our readers may not agree with this so let’s explain some of the cons first.
Many southern states have restricted water hyacinth because of its aggressive growth. They clog waterways and choke out native plants. In these areas other plant types can be used.
Bogs can be planted with marginal/bog plants to maintain the water body that are not as aggressive. Water lilies can be utilized for shelter and shade. If you are in the northern climates, water hyacinth still spread quickly but they cannot survive the cold harsh winter.
So Why Use Water Hyacinth Anyway?
Easy to Plant: Water hyacinth are one of the most simple plants to add to your water garden. Simply drop them in and enjoy. You can place them in your waterfall filter, calm areas in the pond or any place where there is at least a few inches of water.
Shelter: Water hyacinth float on the water’s surface covering the pond and shading it from the sun keeping the water cooler. The root systems also provide hiding places for your baby fish as well as cover in general against predators.
Filtration Capacity: Water hyacinth have large root systems that can stretch 10 or more inches. Each of these individual roots have thousands of root hairs which increase the roots surface area. We know from our filter systems that the main reason they work so well is the large amount of surface area for bacteria to grow on. Multiply that by numerous water hyacinth and you have instantly doubled or even tripled your filtration capacity.
Compete with Algae: Since water hyacinth are prolific growers, they compete with algae for the same food source, thus keeping your water garden balanced and looking good all year.
Looks: Water hyacinth are nice too look at. Foliage is green all season and purple flowers form through out the year as well.
Easy to Remove: If water hyacinth get out of control in your water garden, don’t worry, they are extremely easy to remove with a pond net.
With so many benefits, in the right conditions, water hyacinth are a great renewable resource.
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