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how to grow duckweed indoors

How to Grow Duckweed Indoors

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Duckweed (Lemna spp.) is among the world’s smallest plants. In fact, the Wolfia genera of duckweed has the world’s smallest blossom — each flower is no larger than a candy sprinkle, according to the Library of Congress. In nature, duckweed floats in carpets on quiet waters where it provides protection to aquatic creatures. Duckweed is also used in aquaculture. At home, duckweed can be grown in a large aquarium near a sunny window. Winter-hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 10, these tiny plants are forgiving of temperature variations, making them easy to grow indoors. Ducks, turtles, carp and koi eat duckweed, whether it’s growing in the pond outside or specially grown indoors just for their enjoyment.

Cover the outside of the aquarium with black contact paper. While in ponds, duckweed will outgrow algae, in an aquarium the algae will thrive in the light coming in through the glass.

Place the aquarium in a warm, sunny location where it receives at least six hours of sunlight daily.

Install an airstone and small pump to keep the water oxygenated. Set the pump at its lowest speed.

Fill the aquarium with pond water if possible. Otherwise, use tap water but allow the water to stand overnight so the chlorine evaporates.

Add a balanced 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer that contains iron, diluted with four to five times the normal amount of water. If you are also stocking your aquarium with fish, don’t add any fertilizer.

Test the water pH with a pool strip. The ideal pH for duckweed is between 6.0 and 8.0. If the water pH is too high or low, alkaline and acid buffers are available at aquarium supply stores.

Add the duckweed to the aquarium. Handle the plants gently; they are easily damaged.

  • Bioponica: Tips for Growing Duckweed
  • Fairfax County Public Schools: Study of Northern Virginia Ecology — Common Duckweed
  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Tips for Growing Duckweed
  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Lemna Minor
  • Aquasol: Facing the Economic Reality of Sustainable Commercial Aquaculture
  • Library of Congress — Everyday Mysteries: World’s Smallest Flower
  • Hang a fluorescent shop light over the aquarium if there isn’t enough sunlight; duckweed requires at least six hours daily of direct sunlight.
  • Scoop the duckweed out of the tank with a small net to feed it to your turtles or fish.
  • Keep children and pets away from open top aquariums. A child can drown in as little as 1 inch of water.
  • Keep all fertilizers and chemicals out of reach of children and pets.
  • Never pour water containing duckweed into storm drains or wetlands; it could be invasive in your area.

With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, available as an ebook. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement and social issues.

How to Grow Duckweed Indoors. Duckweed (Lemna spp.) is among the world’s smallest plants. In fact, the Wolfia genera of duckweed has the world’s smallest blossom — each flower is no larger than a candy sprinkle, according to the Library of Congress. In nature, duckweed floats in carpets on quiet waters where …

How to Grow Duckweed

Last Updated: April 24, 2019 References

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Duckweed is an aquatic plant that is commonly found in lakes, forming what seems to be a green blanket over the water. Easily grown, it is a natural food for many animals and keeps mosquitoes from breeding on the water. If you would like to grow some for a science project, animal feed, or for fun, you can grow it indoors or outside in a pond.

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How to Grow Duckweed. Duckweed is an aquatic plant that is commonly found in lakes, forming what seems to be a green blanket over the water. Easily grown, it is a natural food for many animals and keeps mosquitoes from breeding on the…