How to Use Water Hyacinth
Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a popular floating water plant that does as well in small container gardens as it does in large backyard ponds. "Floaters" usually add the finishing touch to water gardens–after submerged, marginal and surface plants–and are the only plants that float free on the water’s surface. But you can also grow water hyacinths alone in a half-barrel or other waterproof container, just to try the water garden concept.
things you’ll need:
- Waterproof container with dark interior, 15 to 25 gallons
- Water hyacinth plants
- Clear nylon string (optional)
- Dark rocks (optional)
- Choose a spot for your water garden that receives at least six hours of full sun each day. Locate your container so it serves as a garden focal point, or can easily be enjoyed from the house.
- Fill the container with water, and allow the water to sit 24 to 48 hours to allow excess chlorine to evaporate.
- Place water hyacinths in the water only after water temperature is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and when air temperatures are at least 70 degrees in the daytime and no colder than 50 degrees at night.
- Thin water hyacinth plants periodically, because they grow very rapidly and reproduce freely. Allow them to shade water, to reduce algae growth, but limit them to covering no more than 50 percent of the garden surface.
- Anchor water hyacinth plants in place, if that’s desired. Tie a length of nylon string to a rock, and place the rock on the bottom of the container. Attach the other end to a plant.
- Monitor the water pH of garden water on an ongoing basis. Maintain a fairly neutral pH in the range of 6.2 to 7.4.
Tips & Warnings
Locate your water garden near a water source to make it convenient to add water as needed.
In areas with cold winters, "floaters" such as water hyacinths can be overwintered indoors in a tub of water placed in a sunny location.
City water supplies are sometimes treated with chloramine, a persistent, more stable form of chlorine. If this is true in your community, you’ll need to purchase a commercial product to remove the chlorine.
Don’t add water from a water softener to your water garden, and don’t add other chemicals to the water.
Avoid locating water gardens under overhanging trees because falling leaves can decay in the water and harm plants and fish.