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Is Water Hyacinth Invasive: Learn About Water Hyacinth Control

Is Water Hyacinth Invasive: Learn About Water Hyacinth Control


By: Kristi Waterworth

The garden offers us a variety of beautiful plants to pick and choose between. Many are selected because of their prolific fruit production, while others attract us with insurmountable beauty. Water hyacinth is one of those plants that is deceptively gorgeous, delivering a serious payload to anyone unlucky enough to plant them in warm climates. Water hyacinth in ponds seems like a great idea when you plant them, but it won’t be long before you need major help.

Is Water Hyacinth Invasive?

Although the brilliant purple water hyacinth isn’t yet federally listed as a noxious weed, plant and waterway experts the world over agree: this plant is bad news. The plant was initially spread because of its beautiful flowers, but the mistake of this particular decision was soon realized – after the damage couldn’t be undone. Now, water hyacinth threatens dams, waterways and wildlife across the globe, often forming dense mats so thick that a grown man can walk across them.

So while it’s not legally considered invasive, water hyacinth control occupies a great deal of time in the minds of experts everywhere. These people would tell you that it’s only a matter of time before this plant is listed and regulated because of its aggressive nature.

How to Control Water Hyacinth

If you’ve already been drawn in by the siren song of the water hyacinth, or a former owner of your property fell hard for this plant, you know the sheer determination it can exhibit. Managing water hyacinths is no small feat, but you can rid your garden ponds of these plants for good. The most effective methods so far found to control these plants include draining ponds completely, then removing and chopping up the plant (away from the pond, as even a small piece can regrow into new water hyacinths). Water hyacinth can then be composted, provided your compost pile is far from any water sources that could be affected by runoff, or double-bagged and thrown in the trash.

It may take several tries to rid your pond completely of water hyacinth, due to its weed-like behavior. If you’ve tried simply pulling this plant out of your pond in the past, without draining or cleaning the pond and equipment thoroughly, you’ve probably convinced yourself nothing will kill water hyacinth. However, by using an aggressive combination approach, you should be rid of your water hyacinth in no time.

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Water Garden Blog: Pond Plants and Water Lilies Blog

Water Hyacinths #1 Selling Pond Plant in America! (Eichhornia crassipes)

Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) are truely an amazing species. They are extremely easy to grow. I have talked to a few people who have managed to let these plants not perform well or die, but it’s rare. They grow so well and so quickly that they cannot be shipped to 11 states. You can still have these plants in many of these states, just keep them in private waters. The trouble comes when plant loving people take the extras to waterways and release their excess into no native waterways. The good news, in more than 90% of the united states gets a hard freeze each year, one hard freeze zaps these wonderful plants and they will no longer be a problem. This means they are annuals and must be replaced each year. Not a problem for most as they cost about $2-$3 and if you buy in quantity, can be as low as $1.50 each.

These plants are amazing filters of the water, in Europe in fact huge vats and greenhouses of Hyacinths are used as primary water treatment tanks. They grow and multiply so quickly and absorb almost all nutrients in the water.

Water Hyacinths Growing, To Flower let them grow in clucsters, fertilize with miracle grow, and they like sun and heat 85*+

These plants like still water, they like to grow in clusters, do not break old foliage apart only new if you must. They enjoy sunshine but will do well in shade. Add them only after wether is warm, cold night will prohibit growth for up to 6 weeks and cause yellowing! They love nutrients, you can add a granular fertilizer like regular old miracle grow to a pond. Fish wont notice anything and plants will thrive. Add a few tablespoons per week anywhere in the pond, THERE IS “NOTHING” SPECIAL ABOUT POND PLANT FERTILIZER. (it will contain no iron but thats it, most fertilizers dont contain iron which is a cause of algae).

Below is how a water hyacinth looks normally upon arrive. If too tall it may lay on its side for a few days but all new growth will be upright.

Water Hyacinth at arrival when ordered or bought from store. Buy in quantity for quicker blooming.

KEEP AWAY FROM SPLASHING WATERFALLS AND FOUNTAINS! A wet plant is an unhappy plant, they need to exchange oxygen through the leaves and water inhibits this process.

This plant will prevent algae and keepwater crystal clear once 30-40% of the pond has coverage by plants (lilies, lettuce, or hyacinth).

The roots are a great place to hide from herons and raccoons. An all around wonderful plant.


Add Water Hyacinths to Your Pond→Pond

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Is this the one in the front yard? I know you said before that you have 3 ponds.

What do the flowers look like? What color?

Hummingbirds are beautiful flying jewels in the garden!



Hummingbirds are beautiful flying jewels in the garden!


RavenCroft Cottage . a daylily place



I have tried some in the pond for the koi to play with - the WH get so beaten up by the koi! WH would never last long in my pond if I just had them floating. They also have a way of finding their way into my skimmer.

I do buy them every year - but I also compost them each in the fall as well. It does not take much for the frost to do them in. If I buy them too early, I have to protect them as some of the cool May mornings can do them in as well.


RavenCroft Cottage . a daylily place



They're everywhere in the ditches and are always invading ponds and other drainage canals along with the water lettuce.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill


Do you have fish? Could they be the culprits? I know my fish won't leave them alone. Usually I plant mine in my bogs and throw one or two into the pond for the fish to play with. I generally toss the ones in the pond when I get sick of pulling them out of my skimmer.


Cultural Requirements

Eichhornias can be grown in pots, tubs, and ponds of any size. Just put them in the water in spring after removing damaged leaves and some of the darker colored, older roots. They do well with guppies, minnows, and turtles.

  • Warmth is the main requirement for growth they flower best in summer months.
  • A sunny location will ensure a continuous supply of flowers. In shady areas plants become taller and darker with few flowers.
  • Nutritional supplementation with a potash fertilizer may be necessary, especially in small ponds with limited animal life.
  • Neutral or near neutral water is preferred.
  • Though free-floating, adding a little soil to the container is good for them.


The Growing Method To Preserve Bulbs

Individuals who want to grow hyacinth bulbs with a method that will preserve the original bulb should eschew the water version and instead plant their flowers in pots with regular soil. Gardeners should still keep the bulbs cool until they sprout, and the hyacinths can then be moved to a warmer environment. However, the bulb will be surrounded by several inches of nutrit i ous soil and will be watered on a regular basis, allowing the bulb to replenish its nutrients and survive storage.

Anyone who plants hyacinths in regular soil should choose a brand that is of average strength and density, meaning it has the nutrients of a temperate zone and allows for some water drainage during planting. Hyacinths do not need to be planted deeply and can survive with around 4-5 in. of soil. Just make sure the bulb is covered but not smothered by the surrounding dirt. When possible, choose a terracotta pot and plant accordingly.


Physical Management of Water Hyacinth

Since Water Hyacinth is a floating plant it can be removed by raking or skimming the ponds surface. It has the ability to multiply rapidly and may take multiple cleanings throughout the year to keep it under control using a rake or skimmer.

Products To Physically Manage Water Hyacinth

The RakeZilla is our newest invention and our customers just love it! This product can easily collect and scoop up Water Hyacinth at the bottom or floating on top of your lake or pond.

The RakeZilla comes with an extra wide 3 foot rake head with unbreakable 9 inch long teeth and a 7 foot or 11 foot long handle with a 25 foot rope that allows you to reach way out into your lake or pond. It weighs just 6.5 pounds and the optional float mount makes it the perfect tool for skimming Water Hyacinth off the surface or your lake or pond.

Our parachute skimmer measure 5 feet in width and comes with a 24 foot pull line. It is constructed of 2 horizontal bars, one which has a floating device, and a screening net.

When you throw the parachute skimmer into the lake or pond, the bottom bar drops and creates an opening to collect Water Hyacinth into the net as you pull it back to shore or to your boat.

Automated Control of Water Hyacinth

For lake and pond management companies, automated control of Water Hyacinth is ideal when you have a large lake or pond that has been overtaken by the weed.

Automated Products To Control Water Hyacinth

For lake and pond management companies, our Eco Harvester pulls Water Hyacinth up from the roots and harvests them to be reused as mulch or animal feed.

The Eco Harvester can operate in as little as 12 inches of water and is built so it only takes one person to operate. Additionally, our patent protected Eco Harvester is one-third the price of traditional harvesters, making it one of the most affordable Water Hyacinth removal machines on the market.

Herbicide Control of Water Hyacinth

Herbicide control is a great option for Water Hyacinth because you can literally apply the herbicide and then sit back and let it do its work. Most herbicides can control Water Hyacinth throughout the season and only needs to be applied once a year.

Herbicide Products To Control Water Hyacinth

Rodeo herbicide is extremely effective at killing Water Hyacinth at its roots and preventing it from coming back for years. Its active ingredient is Glyphosate† N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine, isopropylamine salt which has shown to be practically not-toxic to freshwater invertebrates. The Adjuvant helps speed up the process of effectiveness of Rodeo herbicide to produce even better results.

After applying Rodeo herbicide you should start to see results within 2 to 4 days and within 7 to 10 days your Water Hyacinth problem should disappear. However, you want to make sure there is no rain in sight for 6 hours after applying for maximum results.

Clipper herbicide shows signs of Water Hyacinth eradication within hours of application and generally yields a complete kill within 7 to 14 days. The active ingredient in Clipper is Flumioxazin which was approved for aquatic use in 2010.

When using this product be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle carefully. Besides Clipper herbicide you will need to mix with water that has a pH of 5 to 7 and a spray tank. Do not apply Clipper herbicide more than once every 28 days.


Some Facts about Water Hyacinth

Water hyacinth is often found as floating masses with round, dark green leaves and purple/lavender flowers. This plant with a fibrous root system, spread very fast, as they propagate vegetatively and through seeds. It is said that only a few weeks are needed for the water hyacinth to cover a large area. It is commonly found in streams, lakes, ponds, waterways, ditches, marshy areas, and backwaters. These plants are also grown for ornamental purposes, and are sold by some garden centers. They are grown in ponds, due to the showy flowers and floating foliage. If not controlled properly, water hyacinth can take over the whole pond, thereby affecting life of other aquatic plants and animals.

The uncontrolled growth of water hyacinth in water bodies has created a host of problems, like blockage of waterways. This affects navigation through lakes, inland waterways, etc. Intertwined water hyacinth form a dense mat that is impossible to cross. Even fishing will get affected by such infestation. Water hyacinth infestation is one of the major causes for clogging of irrigation pipes and intakes of hydropower systems. Even water supply systems and drainage systems can get clogged up with these weeds. These weeds can also cause floods, as they block normal water flow through the rivers and canals. In water bodies with water hyacinth infestation, loss of water through evapotranspiration is very high.

As these plants can make the water oxygen-deprived, other aquatic plants and animals living in that water body will eventually get eradicated. Water hyacinth infestation creates a habitat for disease-carrying vectors, like mosquitoes, leading to health problems, like malaria, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, etc.


Watch the video: A Dangerous Beauty, the Water Hyacinth