Water Hyacinth in Hawaii – Tropical Garden C

This Garden is Now Resting Under Lava

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Featured Garden Plant: Water Hyacinth

1) Plant History & General Information:

Water Hyacinth Hawaii
Water Hyacinth Hawaii

a) Scientific & Other Names: Eichhoria crassipes

b) Region of Origin: Native to South America but has naturalized much of the Southern U.S.

c) General Information: Water hyacinth is a free-floating perennial plant that can grow to a height of 3 feet. The dark green leaf blades are circular to elliptical and attached to a spongy, inflated petiole.

Underneath the water is a thick, heavily branched, dark fibrous root system. The water hyacinth has striking light blue to violet flowers located on a terminal spike.

2) Plant Uses:

a) As Food: The plant is used as a carotene-rich table vegetable in Taiwan. Javanese sometimes cook and eat the green parts and inflorescence

Water HyacinthFish Pond Hedonisia
Water Hyacinth Fish Pond Hedonisia

b) As Medicine: In Kedah (Java), the flowers are used for medicating the skin of horses. The species is a "tonic.

c) Other Uses:  In East Africa, water hyacinths from Lake Victoria are used to make furniture, handbags and rope. The plant is also used as animal feed and organic fertilizer although there is controversy stemming from the high alkaline pH value of the fertilizer. Though a study found water hyacinths of very limited use for paper production, they are nonetheless being used for paper production on a small scale. 

Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macroinvertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus” for many aquatic invertebrates.

3) Growing Instructions

Water Hyacinth Plant
Water Hyacinth Plant

a) Growing: Water hyacinth is a free-floating plant that gets its nutrients from the water from dangling roots. The plant reproduces by seeds and vegetatively through daughter plants that form on rhizomes and produce dense plant beds. In one study, two plants produced 1,200 daughter plants in four months. By this mechanism, water hyacinths can form impenetrable mats of floating vegetation.

Individual plants break off the mat and can be dispersed by wind and water currents. A single plant can produce as many as 5,000 seeds and waterfowl eat and transport seeds to new locations. Seedlings are common on mud banks exposed to low water levels.

b) Best time to Harvest: n/a

c) Sunlight Requirements: Full Shade, Partial Shade, Full Sunlight

d) Soil Requirements: n/a

e) Propagation: A water hyacinth is a self-propagating plant that doubles its mass every six to 14 days which will quickly take over your pond if you don't remove unwanted plants. So maintenance is our focus here.

f) Controlling Spread:  When not controlled, water hyacinth will cover lakes and ponds entirely; this dramatically impacts water flow, blocks sunlight from reaching native aquatic plants, and starves the water of oxygen, often killing fish (or turtles). The plants also create a prime habitat for mosquitos, the classic vectors of disease, and a species of snail known to host a parasitic flatworm that causes schistosomiasis (snail fever) Directly blamed for starving subsistence farmers in Papua New Guinea, water hyacinth remains a major problem where effective control programs are not in place.

Water hyacinth is often problematic in man-made ponds if uncontrolled, but can also provide a food source for goldfish, keep water clean, and help to provide oxygen to man-made ponds. Thin the plants when they cover more than 60 percent of the water surface by removing any excess, dead, or unwanted plants about once a week (Spring/Summer, bi-weekly in Fall/Winter) to control their spread. Place unwanted hyacinth plants in the other garden beds as organic fertilizer remove 50 percent of the tiny lily pads to allow sunlight to roots and place them into the Eco-toilet aquarium to feed fish.

g) Difficulties with this plant: considered a highly problematic invasive species outside its native range

h) History of this Plant at Hedonisia: n/a

i) Sources:


Garden C Pre-Volcano Instructions

Garden C is rather easy to oversee, oftentimes just needing weeding jobs assigned to volunteers to clear up space for the decorative as well as edible plants. Garden C proudly contains
one of Hedonisia Hawaii's multi-purpose ponds which function as mosquito control, decorating, and a tranquil place for people to ease their mind.


  • Lawn/Yard of Cottage

Lodgings and/or Facilities in areas of the Garden

This Mixed Jungle Garden has the following plants

  • Mulberry
  • Red Hibiscus
  • Plumeria
  • Lauhala
  • Blue Ginger
  • Water Hyacinth

Maintenance Activities For This Garden

  • Main Weeds: Cane Grass
    • Eradicate cane grass as close to the base as possible using a Kama and pickax out if accessible
    • Dump weeds onto the berm on the side of Jungle Cottage to build a safe slope at a 45° angle.
  • Identification and Labeling:
    • Tag and label transplanted trees with color tree ribbon.
    • Label the tree with the date it was transplanted (only babies so we can see the growth process)
    • Update plant pages if any are added or removed from the garden.
  • Borders & Maintenance:
    • "Civilize" Berm (side path) trail - fill walking gaps and spaces with a base of black rock and a layer of red cinder
    • Thin Ferns
    • Plant more low, decorative, and easy edibles
    • Half / reduce night-blooming Jasmine and throw "spears" into the crater slope (too fragrant)
    • Keeping the borders free of weeds and mosses is easy and can be done weekly during Spring/Summer, and bi-weekly in Fall/Winter for 15 minutes during a shift.
    • Hand weed around each tree/large plant
    • Use weed whacker to trim grasses where needed, making sure NOT to hit the plants or trees and to avoid getting too many clippings into the pond.
    • Continue fine-hand weeding the rest of the garden using the Kama to remove choking weeds and climbers
    • Trim decorative plants and trees that are obstructing/overhanging the entrance to the property (focus on Lauhala which grows too big)
    • Add soil to smaller plants, trim, and mulch tree bases as in the propagation section above.
    • We also collect wood shavings from projects to use as decorative mulch in non-food beds. Guava inhibits plant and weed growth. Use in decorative areas only.
    • If you have processed compost, mix in equal amounts with soil for feeding.
  • Harvesting:
    • Harvesting regularly promotes budding and growth low to the ground. Keep an eye to see if it's needed weekly or bi-weekly (fruiting trees such as Avocado)
    • Pick up Coconuts that have fallen and take them to the outdoor eating area
    • Some trees need topping or harvesting is impossible, and food will be damaged and unusable,
    • Check with the director first about topping a tree or if you have any ideas for new red plants in this area.


Post-Volcano Online Community

With our model of community living, we attracted wonderful people from around the world.
Over a 14-year history, the Hedonisia community developed websites, books, and eCourses.

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