Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Mosquito Plant, Carolina Mosquito Fern
Azolla caroliniana

Family: Azollaceae
Genus: Azolla (a-ZOL-luh) (Info)
Species: caroliniana (kair-oh-lin-ee-AN-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Azolla portoricensis

12 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ponds and Aquatics

under 6 in. (15 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade
Full Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Soil pH requirements:
4.5 or below (very acidic)
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)
8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)
over 9.1 (very alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From spores

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Azolla caroliniana by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #2 of Azolla caroliniana by Floridian

By poisondartfrog
Thumbnail #3 of Azolla caroliniana by poisondartfrog


3 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive taniaaust1 On Apr 12, 2014, taniaaust1 from Adelaide
Australia wrote:

I think it is this species of Azolla I have. (is this one in Australia? Its not the trianglar Aussie variety I have). It is a great plant, grows very fast, my fish and tabpoles dont eat it, so I dont have to replace it (like they do to my duckweed!). If you get too much it makes great mulch on the garden.

Neutral strange2u On Dec 13, 2010, strange2u from Hinsdale, IL wrote: sells this plant, I think I'll get some and grow it in doors this winter.

Neutral frostweed On Jan 3, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Mosquito Plant, Carolina Mosquito Fern Azolla caroliniana is native to Texas and other States.

Positive crimsontsavo On Jan 23, 2005, crimsontsavo from Crossville, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Adds a continual splash of color to ponds and slow moving streams. Our fish leave this alone for the most part, eating instead the duckweed and water hyacinths. Reproduces very fast and can be a nuisance. Easily removed as compared to duckweed. Composte unwanted portions and use as plant fertilizer.
Pureed then rolled into a thin patty you can dehydrate Azolla caroliniana and make fish flakes from it. Same to be said about Duckweed.

Positive NativePlantFan9 On Nov 5, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is an aquatic plant that is native to the U.S. and is widely distributed throughout much of the East and Midwestern U.S., from New England south through Florida, westward to Texas and northward to South Dakota and is found in all states in between. It is common in still waters, ponds and rivers.

Neutral tcfromky On Oct 7, 2004, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

The name is defined as:
Azolla: name obscure
caroliniana: from Carolinas

Neutral Kelli On Oct 6, 2004, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Cute stuff, but you can't keep koi and azolla in the same pond. The koi will eat it all.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Bartow, Florida
Fountain, Florida
Miccosukee Cpo, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Barbourville, Kentucky
Cleveland, Ohio
Crossville, Tennessee
Wytheville, Virginia

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