Gardening

Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Getting Water Hyacinths to Bloom in a Cool Climate

Juillet 18

The beautiful water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes, a floating plant popular in water gardens, is known for its spikes of violet flowers reminiscent of hyacinths by their shape (but not their scent). It has curious swollen air-filled leaf petioles that help it float (they look like they had swallowed a tennis ball!) However, a water hyacinth will often bloom little or not at all in temperate climates. The problem? It needs heat in order to bloom and it finds the temperature in many temperate water gardens positively frigid. Instead of launching your water hyacinth into a big pond that will take ages to heat up, try growing in a pot of its own in a very sunny location protected from the wind (thus warmer than normal). And choose a black or dark pot that absorbs heat. Try that and you will have flowers all summer long!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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