Otherwise known as pond scum, duckweed is often found as a green film that covers still water bodies. It is a fast-growing aquatic plant that is very small and simple. Unlike typical plants, duckweed lacks stems and leaves. The plant consists of minute plate-like structures that float just above or beneath the water surface. Sometimes, these plate-like structures are referred to as leaves. Some of them may have one or two single rootlets too. The plant is found to grow fast in still waters and may cover the entire water surface in a very small period. This may be one of the reasons for the plant being named as duckweed. It is relished by ducks and waterfowl and this could be another reason for the name of this plant.
The plant that belongs to the family Araceae, is said to have various useful properties. Apart from being a food source for various animals (aquatic and others), these plants are also said to prevent mosquito breeding, as they cover water surfaces. It is also found to be an excellent water purifier, as duckweed absorbs nitrogen, phosphates, etc. According to recent researches, duckweed could be an excellent food source (especially protein) for humans too. It is also claimed that water conservation is possible with this plant, as it reduces the rate of evaporation. Duckweed is being increasingly grown in indoor ponds and tanks, as it is relished by fish and other aquatic animals. This plant is also grown for ornamental purposes.
Tips for Growing Duckweed
Duckweed is one of the easiest plants to grow, provided you introduce it into a still water body and not a flowing one. It will grow fast, even if you ignore it completely.
Here are some guidelines that will help you to grow duckweed.
- First of all, you have to get the duckweed plant. You may either buy it from the local nursery or pond supplies stores or collect a few from the nearest water body.
- The second step is applicable for those duckweed plants that have been collected from the wild. You need to disinfect them before introducing them into the pond or aquarium.
- You can disinfect the plant within a few seconds. All you have to do is to mix a teaspoon of potassium permanganate in twelve gallons of water. Immerse the plants in this water for around thirty seconds.
- After that, take out the plants and immerse them in fresh water for another thirty seconds. You are done with the disinfecting part. This process will ensure that the plants are free of bacteria and aquatic pests.
- Now you have to make a perfect environment for duckweed to grow. Get a plastic tray with at least 12 to 14 inches depth and pond plant food. Fill the tray with water and add the plant food, as per the instructions of the manufacturer.
- These plants need sufficient sunlight to establish themselves. So, place them in a location, where these plants will get ten hours of sunlight. Duckweed can also be grown with the help of fluorescent lights. Such lights must be placed at a distance of 15 inches above the tray.
- Now, you can leave the plants undisturbed for a week. Meanwhile, remove damaged leaves in between. After a week, remove the water and add fresh water supplemented with plant food.
- It will take around ten days for the duckweed to multiply. After that use a net to remove some of these plants and transfer them to the pond that is located in a place with good sunlight.
- You may also transfer some of these plants to the aquarium. In that case, provide the aquarium with some light source attached to its cover.
The above said is a brief overview about how to grow duckweed. If you want to grow this plant only for feeding purposes, then, there is no need to transfer them to the pond or aquarium. You may grow duckweed in the plastic tray itself and feed your fish or waterfowl as per their requirement. You may use it as a supplement too. If you have further doubts, clear them by consulting the authorities from a local nursery or a pet store.