perennial aquatic plant native to Brazil, widespread as a wild plant in all subtropical areas of the world. For the rapid growth and ease of multiplication in many places it is a weed that is creating major environmental problems, to avoid the propagation of the plant it is therefore appropriate to cultivate it in closed ponds, even if in our country it should not create problems. The water hyacinth has fleshy stolons, from which soft, round or oval leaves branch off, slightly curled on the sides, are kept high on the surface of the water and sometimes used as true sails; the petiole of the leaves is swollen of air and spongy, to favor the floating of the water. In spring it produces an inflorescence consisting of an ear of numerous very showy blue-violet flowers with yellow spots on the upper part of the petals.
Eichhornia crassipes prefers sunny positions, but adapts to any condition, even in the shade; the plants are completely floating on the surface of the water, since the long black roots draw nourishment directly from the water and do not need to be buried.
If they are grown in ponds with water that is not very rich in organic matter, they tend to decay and lose their leaves, so it is advisable to periodically add fertilizer for aquatic plants to the pond water; in case there were essences or animals that do not like fertilizers, these plants can be grown by periodically transferring them to a tub in which to supply the fertilizer; in this way they will be able to absorb all the nutrients for their best development.
The water hyacinth plants fear the cold, they do not bear temperatures below 10-15 degrees, for this reason in winter, even if the minimum temperatures are not too rigid, they must be transferred to a sheltered and protected place where the temperature is mild . They can be placed inside a large aquarium or even a tub, where they can remain until the outside temperatures are hotter. In northern regions it is good to wait for the month of June to bring them back to an open place.
To get new water hyacinth seedlings it is good to know that, in summer, Eichhornia crassipes plants produce capsules full of small seeds that germinate directly in water; if these seeds are collected and kept in a dry environment they can remain fertile even for 10-15 years.
The reproduction of this kind of plant is very simple, without particular problems, also because the water hyacinth plants tend to reproduce themselves with extreme ease if the climatic conditions are favorable to them.
The plants of Eichhornia crassipes, in fact, tend to form large colonies in nature, since the stolons usually divide continuously and constitute new plants that rapidly colonize the body of water in which they are grown.
Water hyacinth - Eichhornia crassipes: Pests and diseases
The specimens belonging to this particular variety have a rather rustic and resistant character and, for this reason, they do not fear the attack of pests and diseases and, therefore, they do not require any kind of preventive treatment to keep them healthy.