The Q&A Archives: Grow Lights on Water Hyacinths

Question: I am trying to raise water hyasis (spellling)over the winter in my basement due to the high costs of them at our local nursey in the spring, plus the fact that it takes them awhile to spread. They have not spread very well this past summer due to the fish eating the roots all the time. I built a large holding tank and have placed some plants in it from the water garden this fall. They are not spreading very well, even though I have a grow light on them. I was wondering if having the light "on" 24 hrs. a day harms them? They have spread a little, but some of the leaves are turning brown, (the ones that appear to be under water). Any suggestions to get them to reproduce? I have an arreator from a acquarium in the tank also.

Answer: Water hyacinths need plenty of nutrients, warm temperatures, and plenty of light to increase. You could try adding a bit of water soluble fertilizer to the water or possibly plant the roots into pots of a heavy rich garden soil to provide the needed nutrients. (Adjust the water level to keep the crowns at the surface.) Keep the water temperature warm -- you might do better with a small aquarium heater rather than the aerator since they do not mind stagnant water at all. Finally, although it seems like it might be a good idea to light them around the clock, it isn't. Allow them a dark period of about eight hours every night during which they can complete their normal cycles. Good luck with your project!

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