Water Hyacinth: Attractive aquatic flowering plant – Details and care tips

Water Hyacinth: Attractive aquatic flowering plant – Details and care tips
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Image by Maya A. P from Pixabay

They are aquatic plants with large leaves and attractive flowers that float on the surface of water. The water hyacinth was considered as an invasive species and it grows and spreads quickly. It is grown as an ornamental plant and also because of their use as fuel and in phytoremediation.

Quick Details of Water Hyacinth

Other Common NamesWater hyacinth
TypeAquatic flowering ornamental plant.
MaintenanceLow
FloweringSpring
LightBright direct light
WaterIt is a water plant
TemperatureWarm humid climate
SoilGarden/pond soil
FertilizerNot required
HabitatAmazon
ToxicityToxic
Common DiseasesMostly resistant to diseases
Scientific nameEichhornia Crassipes

Overview of Water Hyacinth

They are free floating perennial plants. They are aquatic and grow on the surface of water. They belong to the family of pontederiaceae and are native to south America. The leaves are broad, ovate, thick, glossy and float above the surface of water. The plants can spread to a length of 3 feet. The stalks are green and bulbous. The roots are feathery and free hanging mostly purple black in colour. The flowers are attractive, lavender colour with six petals and stand above an erect stalk.

Special features:

The plants contain bulbous stalks that are spongy which helps in the buoyancy of the plant above water. The plants have an ability to absorb pollutants and toxins in the environment and hence can be toxic to animals and humans.

Usage and Advantage of Water Hyacinth

  • Used as a fuel. The plant is collected dried and burned.
  • The plant is extensively used in phytoremediation. It helps in reducing nitrogen and potassium.
  • They are to remove pollutants from water.
  • It is used as a fertilizer and animal feed.
  • The plant is also used in making household goods.
  • The leaves are consumed as a vegetable in Taiwan
  • The flowers are used as a medicine to treat horses.
  • The extracts can be used as a bio-herbicide.

General Care for Water Hyacinth

Soil: Garden soil can be used as the soil bed. The potting mix that is commercially obtained may contain chemicals and fertilizers that can be harmful to the plants.

Water: They are aquatic plants and require water for growth. They cannot survive in very cold or hot waters. So, care should be taken during winters and extreme summers to prevent frosting or over heating of the water.

Light: They prefer direct sunlight and hot conditions. The best time to grow plants is during summer. In places with extreme summer, the plants can be placed in partial shade.

Pruning: The plants spread fast and hence it should be pruned to prevent it from spreading all over the place. The new young plants can be pruned and planted separately. The dead and dying leaves can also be removed.

Fertilizer: They are easy to grow and do not require fertilizer.

Pests and other problems for Water Hyacinth

They are not prone to many diseases. However, under unfavorable conditions the plants are seen to be affected with leaf blight diseases. In such cases,the infected leaves can be cut out to prevent the spread of diseases. 

Propagation of Water Hyacinth

The plants produce young ones that are attached to the parent plant with the help of stolon. It can be easily propagated by division of the young once from the mother plant.

The propagation can also take place through seeds.

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