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Water Hyacinth

Eichhornia crassipes

Family: Pontederiaceae
Genus: Eichhornia (ike-HORN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: crassipes (KRASS-ih-peez) (Info)
Synonym:Eichhornia speciosa
Synonym:Piaropus crassipes
View this plant in a garden


Ponds and Aquatics

Water Requirements:

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage

Foliage Color:




6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Medium Purple

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


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

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Clayton, California

Merced, California

Sacramento, California

San Francisco, California

Simi Valley, California

Deland, Florida

Delray Beach, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Lutz, Florida

North Fort Myers, Florida

Orange Springs, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Venice, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Hawkinsville, Georgia

Hinesville, Georgia

Honomu, Hawaii

Mount Sterling, Kentucky

Paint Lick, Kentucky

Cumberland, Maryland

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey

Ithaca, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Jacksonville, North Carolina

Swansboro, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Alice, Texas

Baytown, Texas

Deer Park, Texas

Mont Belvieu, Texas

Port Neches, Texas

Santa Fe, Texas

Spring Branch, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 1, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

In the north, this species can grow as an annual. In warm summers, populations can double in as little as six days.

This species easily escapes water gardens and damages habitat even in the north. Its hardy seeds are dispersed by birds, and easily spread from water gardens to wild areas by that route.

The World Conservation Union IUCN has included this species on their list of 100 of the world's worst invasive species, an honor it shares with only 3 other aquatic plants.

According to BONAP, this species has naturalized in 29 states and one province, including WI, ... read more


On Dec 14, 2013, ilovejesus99 from Baytown, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant is not just outlawed by states but it is on the FEDERAL OUTLAWED LIST !! http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/documents/outla...

The fines and jail time are high...would you really take a chance for this plant to go to jail and possibly pay 2000 for each plant you own? I composted mine years ago.


On Aug 18, 2013, bb679804 from Phenix City, AL wrote:

These plants are beautiful. Are they illegal in Alabama only in public water ways? How about a small yard pond? Do they really spread by seeds / birds?


On Jul 27, 2011, cocoa_lulu from Grand Saline, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

Texans Beware: this plant has been become a Class B Parks and Wildlife Code Misdemeanor and illegal to own, grow, sell, or transport in Texas. With fines of not less than $200 or more than $2000 (per plant) a jail term not to exceed 180 days, or both a fine AND imprisonment. For more and updated information, visit http://www.ntwgs.org/articles/illegalAquatics.html#control


On Aug 6, 2009, napdognewfie from Cumberland, MD (Zone 6a) wrote:

I love it with it's little air bladders. Spreads nicely, pretty lavender flowers & not at all invasive here. Turns to mush at the first good freeze. I have tried to overwinter a few plants inside in an aquarium under fluorescents but they don't make it so I buy new plants each year.


On Jul 14, 2009, javakittie from Atlanta, GA wrote:

I think the whole "noxious weed" thing is a little over done. I've been growing water hyacinth in my pond for 3 years now and have never once had an issue with it being so invasive I couldn't fix it. That's with 2 months of neglect after a surgery kept me out of the yard! If you can't be bothered to maintain *any* plant, you shouldn't be growing it. It's a gorgeous addition to any pond and here in Georgia I get lots of blooms all summer long.


On Jun 22, 2008, alpaca95 from Smyrna, GA wrote:

This has been a great plant to grow. I had mine repeatedly bloom for the whole summer. I only let it divide a few times. Its dead leaves make a good compost.


On Oct 26, 2007, msfeatherflower from Sugar Land, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Please do not ever deliberately plant this monster. This is a horrible, cursed plant. Over the course of two years, I have watched it completely cover several beautiful lakes here in the Sugar Land, TX area. It is illegal to grow or even possess this plant here in Texas, for good reason. Unfortunately, just today I found it growing along Oyster Creek in my back yard in Fort Bend County. It was not easy, but I was able to climb down our steep creek bank, slosh through the mud and pull it all out. Hopefully that will be the end of it. Keep me in your prayers.


On May 16, 2007, MarthaMoye from Jacksonville, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I curse the person who sold me this plant!!! At first I was able to keep a small planting of it contained with a floating barrier in our large pond. (This pond covers about half an acre.) Originally the pond was partially surrounded by cattails and hosted a variety of fish (including brim and tripoloid grass eating carp), turtles, visiting herons, etc. (It was located in Sneads Ferry, NC, on the coast, zone 8a.)

Well, I thought the winter would kill the plant off, but no such luck. The cold browned the area that was coated with the water hyacinth, but the following spring, it returned with a vengeance. Not only had it jumped its floating "barrier", but it had spread to cover more than half the water surface in one year. Within two years, the pond was completely covere... read more


On Dec 19, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Water Hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes is naturalized in Texas and other States is considered an invasive noxious plant and is prohibited in Texas.


On May 18, 2005, jnana from South Florida, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

As beautiful as this plant may be, it is an illegal plant to distribute or propagate in Florida. I agree 100% with equilibrium's comments. As a Florida Master Gardener, we are told to inform people of the damage that these invasive exotics pose to our fragile ecosystem. At the end, it is our tax dollars that end up in the eradication of these noxious weeds.
Water Hyacinth is prohibited by Florida DEP, listed as Category I of highly invasive plants by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.


On Apr 14, 2005, Permaculturist from Micanopy, FL wrote:

I keep water hyacinths in a wetland on my property (shhhh... don't tell the nozzleheads), and periodically harvest portions of them for superior garden compost. Water hyacinth is really one of the world's most magnificent plants, and completely undeserving of its persecution. The major reason why it becomes "invasive" in waterways is because of nutrient enrichment and/or metal contamination. Hyacinth is one of the world's most effective plants at removing such contaminants from the water column. Healthy native ecosystems are generally found right next to hyacinth mats, because the hyacinths serve as a sort of "immune system" that sequesters contaminants. Experience and research tell me that eradication of this plant through herbicidal treatment from water bodies in Florida is generally fol... read more


On Dec 2, 2004, careyjane from Rabat,
Morocco wrote:

If my memory serves me correctly, South Africa imported South American wasps to control water hyacinths. I can't remember exaclty how it worked but it seems to have been a success. Don't know what the wasps went on to do with the ecosystem, though...???


On Dec 1, 2004, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I find this flower to be beautifull and had longed to grow them in my small pond after putting it back in the ground and I was ignorant on its invasiveness, but after discussing this with a few members here, and my Paleonthologist DH, not his forte, but he was well aware, and gave me quite a lecture, and after much reading, I will not be one to cause a problem, hence, if seeds possibly could get dispersed by birds, it would surely get into other waterways, We do have a few lakes in the area, so I will continue to look at the pretty pictures in books and online and that will be all!!!! sigh....


On Dec 1, 2004, Equilibrium wrote:

Water Hyacinths... goodness gracious what an overpoweringly attractive plant. To many water gardeners, this plant appears to be the equivalent of the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden. It is virtually irresistible. The plant is an ecological nightmare... the equivalent of zebra mussels in the Great Lakes and Kudzu and fireants down south and so many other exotic invasives that out compete native flora. WH can survive almost as if it was a terrestrial in many areas. When ponds with hyacinth dry up, they get buried in the dirt and the first rains rejuvenate them. WH can survive temps in the 20's and being frozen in ice for short periods. They never completely die in the South unless physically removed and destroyed.

WH is a non-native plant to the US that has naturalized... read more


On Oct 31, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I've used water hyacinth as a cover for my goldfish in our pond several years with good results, and several years with poor results. In zone 5 whether they grow and flower really depends on how hot the summer gets (the hotter the better for them), and how much sun we have. If we have a relatively cool summer with less sun they generally will not flower and growth is minimal. Not as reliable as water lilies.


On Sep 6, 2004, trois from Santa Fe, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

We keep this plant contained to an area of our Lily pond that is full of Cattails. The two together keep each other in check. The Hyacinth is almost 3 feet tall and blooms beautifully. It also keeps the water in the rest of the pond clear. Any excess becomes mulch for other flower beds.


On Aug 31, 2004, Saundra from Sacramento, CA wrote:

This plant is very attractive, and the short-lived blooms are beautiful. I thin it about every two weeks in our small pond. The leaf stems are like nature's bubble wrap -- fun to pop. I break off the roots and use them on top of the soil in our container plants. They keep the moisture in and the squirrels out.


On Aug 7, 2004, BingsBell from SC, MT (Zone 5a) wrote:

This plant does not survive well in my ponds. I believe my water is too cool for both this and water lettuce. I can't even keep them alive in my very sunny and warm sunroom pond.


On May 14, 2004, desertboot from Bangalore,
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

With this particular plant, it's probably p.c to settle for a 'neutral' despite some of it in pleasantly powder-purple bloom and well under control in a glazed terracotta bowl on the lawn. This one's the miniature version; not the infamous larger-leafed variety.
Trivia: The water hyacinth was originally "introduced" to India during the early 20th century - allegedly by a British Raj Memsahib who saw them in Africa and thought they'd be pretty in her new Indian garden. The rest, of course, is history.


On Mar 14, 2004, takkygal from Greenville, TX wrote:

I grow water hyacinth in a small pond (round, approx. 175' diam) and harvest it every two weeks during the warm months to use as mulch on my no-till vegetable garden, ending with a more thorough harvest at the end of the season in fall to avoid a large amount of rotting vegetation in the pond resulting from winter kill. This is a sustainable system, allowing the on-site production of all the mulch I need. Harvest is easy; I put on shorts and old sneakers and wade around the edge of the pond pulling out plants with a pitchfork. The pond is beautified by the flowers, and harmful algal blooms that once plagued the pond have not occurred since the end of the first summer after introducing the plants. According to internet sources, if the pond is in full sun as mine is, up to 1/2 the surface ... read more


On Nov 17, 2003, Thaumaturgist from Rockledge, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), a free-floating plant of South American origin, ranks among the top ten weeds worldwide.

One of the most successful colonizers of the plant world, it has spread to at least 50 countries around the globe, creating a large number of problems, particularly related to the use and management of water resources.

Water Hyacinth, which made its entry into India via the state of Bengal about 1896, now occurs throughout India, in fresh water ponds, pools, tanks, reservoirs, streams, rivers, irrigation channels and paddy fields.


On Nov 17, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant is such a nuisance that several states have made it illegal to carry them across state lines.


On Oct 9, 2003, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

Such a beautiful flower; such a terribly invasive plant. I understand San Diego [California] had a test to harvest the plants and turn them into silage for swine. Never heard if it worked.


On Jul 18, 2003, Gabriels_Garden wrote:

My hyacinths have grown large and have bloomed beautifully, but after a day they fall over and the flowers die underwater. I'd like to enjoy the flowers for more than a day...


On Jun 8, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

It can be very invasive. Keep it away from rivers or lakes... if it escapes from your pond, it will take over those places, draining oxygen from the water and killing fishes. We are having problems with it in a lagoon near here. They planted water hyacinths there, and now they are having problems removing it because it was killing all the life in the lagoon, including fishing birds and the last alligators.


On May 17, 2003, Chamma from Tennille, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I grow these in the shade in large shallow glazed terracotta pots....I add a little iron once a month. I top the water up daily and once a week I let the water run over the pot! They are great for added interests in the garden and multiply rapidly!


On Jan 4, 2003, easter0794 from Seffner, FL wrote:

My friend gave me a cutting from her plant. I just love the pretty color it adds to my pond. Dispose in compost in Florida, home small pond use only. This is a hard plant for Floridians to get because of its evasive nature. I love it!


On Aug 31, 2002, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

A fast multiplying floater for fast pond cover. The blooms are beautiful.


On Aug 4, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

A floating oxygenator, Eichhornia crassipes are dubbed "Water Hyacinths" are so named for the purple flower spike that appears throughout the growing season. The roots provide oxygen to fish and help keep water garden water clear.

In warm climates, the plant is considered a noxious invasive weed, and should not be allowed to enter any bodies of freshwater.

Some sources indicate that excess plants can be spread as a mulch around roses and strawberries to good effect.