Native to Africa, Water lettuce is an aquatic plant known for its beautiful foliage arranged in a compact rosette. It belongs to the arum family Araceae. It is scientifically known as Pistia and the name comes from a Greek word pistos meaning Water. It is one of the most productive freshwater plants.
Water lettuce is easy to grow and an amazing addition to any garden. Just make sure to keep its growth in check as it may over-crowd the other plants.
You can grow the plant under full sun or indoors with artificial light too. However, they should slowly be introduced to direct light since a sudden exposure can damage the leaves. Too little light can make the leaves darker and too much light can give them a bleached look.
The plant is mainly known for its foliage. The leaves float on the water surface and form a rosette with dense roots underneath. The thick, light green leaves are hairy and help trap the air to increase the buoyancy of the plant. Very rarely, tiny flowers occur at the centre of the plant.
Water regularly to make up for evaporated water. Also, change the water every two or three weeks.
You can grow the plant in a container with water. Bottom-soil is not required for growth. The plant prefers still waters so try not move the container too much.
The rosettes remain about 6 to 7 inches in height but the plant is known to reproduce and spread a lot. In fact, it prefers over-crowding.
Although the plant does not require water, it does require regular application of fertilizers. You can use an appropriate aquatic fertilizer and just follow the instructions on the label. Adding potassium nitrate to the water is another way.
The plant has no serious pest related issues.
The plant makes for an amazing water feature and is a perfect addition to your water garden. You can grow it separately in a container or use it as an aquarium plant too but you should avoid planting it with herbivorous fish like goldfish as they tend to eat the roots of the plant.