Water Lettuce: Perfect fast growing water plant suitable for your small water garden setup

Water Lettuce: Perfect fast growing water plant suitable for your small water garden setup
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Image Source: Dinesh Valke from Thane, India / CC BY-SA (Image Cropped)

It is a water plant usually grown in the ponds or any slow-moving water. They are quick growers. The plants are grown for their attractive features. The plants grow on the surface of the water. The leaves are arranged in rosette form with roots beneath them. The flowers are formed at the center. The plant can be grown in aquariums or in small ponds in gardens. They are considered as weeds in outdoor water bodies.

Quick Details of Water Lettuce

Other Common NamesWater lettuce, Nile cabbage, water cabbage
TypeWater plant.
MaintenanceModerate/ high
FloweringLate summer/early winter
LightIndirect light
WaterGrows in water
TemperatureWarm humid climate
SoilSand loamy soil
FertilizerDo not require fertilizer
HabitatAfrica
ToxicityToxic if eaten in large quantity
Common DiseasesMostly resistant to diseases
Scientific namePistia stratiotes

Water Lettuce Buying Instructions

  • Should have a developed root system.
  • Bring these plants in water. Use either some plastic box or polythene filled with water to carry.
  • Leaves should not be damaged or yellow in color.

Overview of Water Lettuce

These water plants are said to be native of the African continent. It is an invasive species and is considered as a pest in the water bodies. However, they are grown in aquariums and garden ponds as a shelter to fish. These plants can grow and spread quickly. They belong to the family Araceae and are perennial evergreen plants. The leaves are arranged in rosette form and are spongy and green to Gray green coloured. The plants can spread upto a length of 3 by 12 foot and the roots can grow up to a length of 20 foot.

Usage and Advantage of Water Lettuce

  • In some parts of the world it is used in traditional medicine to cure many ailments.
  • It is used in the treatment of piles, tumors, and boils.
  • It is used in treating skin diseases.
  • Treatment of issues related to kidney, diabetes, anemia.
  • The plants are grown in ponds and aquariums as a shelter to the fish.

General Care for Water Lettuce

Soil: The plants are aquatic. They can be grown in ponds or aquariums with a soil bed containing a mix of moist loam and sand.

Water: The plant prefers humid conditions. The water should be maintained at a temperature ranging between 19-22ºc. Specially in summers when temperature goes to 40-45ºc, make sure your water garden is in shade to avoid damage to plants.

Light: They prefer shade. The plants should be placed in places with light indirect sunlight. If grown in an aquarium it can be provided with artificial light. The leaves tend to burn and die when exposed to direct sunlight.

Pruning: The plants should be regularly pruned. The old and dying leaves can be removed to encourage new growth. The plants spread by producing daughter plants that are connected with the help of solons, these can either be removed and planted separately or can be cut out to prevent the plant from occupying the whole space.

Fertilizer: Does not require any fertilizer.

Pests and other problems for Water Lettuce

The plant is not usually attacked by any pests or pathogens. However, exposing the plants to direct sunlight or heat can cause the leaves to dry and fall making the plants weak.

Propagation of Water Lettuce

The propagation can take place both sexually by seeds or asexually by division. The propagation by seeds is rare because the plants produce either male flowers or female flowers and the flowers are present in the center of the plants. The seeds are formed only if there is pollination taking place.

The asexual propagation happens by division. In mature plants there is the formation of small daughter plants that are attached to the parent through stolons. These can be cut out and planted separately to grow into a new plant.

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