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Pistia stratiotes (Dwarf Water Lettuce)

Pistia stratiotes (Dwarf Water Lettuce)

SKU: 00263

Pistia stratiotes 'ABC' (Dwarf Water Lettuce, Water Lettuce, Nile Cabbage, Water Cabbage)


Invasive species warning: This species is a known invasive pest in the Great Lakes region where it may be regulated or prohibited by U.S. State and Federal statutes. It is restricted in Wisconsin. If you are ordering from WI, this product will be removed from your order and the difference refunded.


Resembling a miniature rosette of fancy lettuce, Pistia stratiotes is a beautiful plant that can add something to any aquarium (or pond). It is a floating plant and is easily cultivated by anyone. It requires little more than some water column fertilization or a high bioload of fish, shrimp and inverts. While beautiful, Water Lettuce is powerfully efficient at removing nitrate and ammonia from the water column, reducing the frequency of water changes while creating a healthier habitat for fish and invertebrates. Our cultivar usually stays quite small in the aquarium but can get quite a bit larger in ponds - though it is generally smaller than some other varieties. 



Difficulty: Very Easy

Type: Floating rosette plant.

Size: Usually smaller than 5cm (2") in diameter in the aquarium - can grow up to 30cm in ponds.

Position and Usage: Floating plant that cleans your water. Suitable for aquariums and ponds. Suspended root network can be substantial and provide a nice, shaded refuge for small fish and shrimp. 

Growth rate: Moderate to Fast

Lighting: 2/5 – 5/5

Water Conditions: 15 – 30°C; pH of 6.0 – 8.4; Hardness unimportant

CO2: Not required

Special requirements: Loves nitrate rich water - great for cleaning water column with high bioload. Water column fertilization can be very important.

Propagation: New plantlets form through "runners". Sexual reproduction through seeds can be done.

Emersed growth: Does not grow emersed - needs to be floating on water. Can be used in Vivariums and Paludariums where there is some water. 

INVASIVE SPECIES INFORMATION: Restricted in the State of Wisconsin and poses a threat to the ecosystems of our Great Lakes. While unrestricted in Canada, this plant (along with any other aquatic plant) should never ever be released into any natural waterway and excess cuttings should be disposed properly either by trading them with your local fish store for credit or by sealing them in a plastic bag and disposing in the garbage. Keep our natural freswater ecosystems healthy!

  • Description

    Dwarf Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) is a wonderful floating plant with a rosette of stought, slightly hairy green leaves around a center that looks almost like a floating blossom. It hails from many tropical regions and can differ in appearance. Our cultivar ('ABC') tends to stay quite small and produces round, smooth leaves from its rosette. It is one of the easiest, least demanding aquatic plants.

    In the wild, P. stratiotes grows happily over polluted waterways and is fantastic at using up excess nutrients and is one of the single best plants for cleaning the water in your aquarium or pond for the health of your animal inhabitants. It will dramatically reduce nitrate and ammonia as well as other harmful compounds. It has even been demonstrated to absorb and sequester heavy metals. 

    Dwarf Water Lettuce produces blueish roots and their many branches make a wonderful refuge for small animals to hide and find microscopic food. It can also provide much appreciated shade to certain plants and animals.

    Pistia stratiotes is amazingly easy to care for - just make sure that the water temperature does not get too cold (22C and above is ideal) and there are plenty of nutrients. If you don't have a high bioload, liquid fertilizer will probably be needed.

    Water Lettuce is as unpicky about water parameters as any plant could be. You can grow it in very soft to very hard water and even tolerates quite alkaline water. Pistia stratiotes has been found in brackish water as well.

    Our Water Lettuce variety stays quite small in aquaria - rarely surpassing an inch. It can get quite a bit larger in an outdoor pond but overall, it a smaller cultivar than many others in this widely distributed and highly variable species. It reproduces readily through "runners" - bearing miniature plantlets and tends to grow as a clump of plants and plantlets rather than scattering over the entire water surface. Care must still be taken to ensure that you Water Lettuce is under control and is not blocking vital parts of the filtration system.

    Surpisingly, this plant, along with Giant Duckweed (and other duckweeds) are members of the storied Araceae family - best represented by Anubias, Buces and Crypts underwater and Monsteras, Pothos and Phildendrons above.

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