How to Care for a Water Hyacinth in Winter
The common water hyacinth, Eichornia crassipes, is a confirmed sun-worshiper that has absolutely zero tolerance for freezing, and performs best in temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. While Floridians and Africans disparage this beauty, many water gardeners adore the plant for its exotic blooms, rapid growth rate and ability to compete with algae in backyard ponds. It’s true that you could easily and inexpensively replace your water hyacinth next spring, gardeners are known to form strong attachments to special favorites. If you simply cannot bear to part with your beloved water hyacinth, rescue your beauty before winter takes hold of your area. This plant won’t be happy about it, but will survive.
things you’ll need:
- 8-inch clay pot
- 5-gallon bucket
- Floating aquarium thermometer
- 8-inch plastic pot
- Fluorescent shop light
- Plant the hyacinth in an 8-inch clay pot filled with moist compost if you live in a milder area where your outdoor pond never freezes. Submerge the pot so that the rim is 1 or 2 inches below the surface of the water. Clay pots are heavy, so they’re the best choice for this. The roots will survive there until all danger of frost passes in the spring.
- Remove your water hyacinth from the water when temperatures begin dipping below 50 F. Grasp the plant firmly by the stalk near its roots and slowly pull it straight upward and out of the water with its roots intact. If your outdoor pond typically freezes during the winter, the plant will have to come indoors if it is to survive.
- Fill a 5-gallon bucket halfway with pond water and float the hyacinth in it. Place it in a brightly lit area where the water temperature won’t drop below 60 F. Drop a floating aquarium thermometer into the water and check it daily. This plant will not survive in a dark basement or garage, no matter how warm you keep it. Water hyacinth requires lots of bright light.
- Fill an 8-inch plastic pot with moist compost. Plant the water hyacinth in it and drench the soil thoroughly. Keep it in bright light in a spot where the temperature will remain above 50 F. Keep the soil very moist at all times.
- Suspend a fluorescent shop light about 6 inches above your water hyacinth to provide light for the plant, if necessary. It will also add warmth to the immediate area.