How To Care For Wolffia globosa (Duckweed Plant)

duckweed wolffia globosa 4

Last updated on September 13th, 2022 at 05:38 am

Duckweed (wolffia globosa) is an aquatic plant that grows in water bodies such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and shallow seas. The plant has broad ribbon-like leaves and produces tiny flowers. Duckweed belongs to the Lemnaceae family and belongs to the monocotyledonous group of flowering plants.

This plant can be cultivated easily in home gardens and aquariums because it requires less maintenance and does not require sunlight or soil to grow.

Wolffia globosa is an extremely hardy and useful aquatic plant that many aquarium owners enjoy keeping in their tanks. It’s easy to propagate and tends to survive even when all other plants die off, but it requires very specific care in order to thrive for long periods of time.

Wolffia globosa is an aquatic plant that’s commonly found in ponds and slow-moving water. Duckweed forms floating mats on the surface of the water and can turn even the murkiest pond into a clear, healthy body of water.

The following are instructions on how to care for duckweed the right way, so you can keep enjoying the benefits of this interesting plant without having to re-buy it every time you clean your tank!

Origin and descriptions

duckweed wolffia globosa

Found in ponds and lakes, wolffia globosa is a free-floating aquatic plant that can grow up to 2 inches long. Also known as duckweed, wolffia globosa is both an ornamental and nutrient-rich food source. Because of its tiny size, duckweed requires very little maintenance, making it ideal for home aquaponics systems or educational displays. You don’t need special equipment to care for duckweed; all you need are clear glass containers (such as plastic deli bowls) filled with room-temperature water.

Duckweed scientific name

The scientific name of duckweed is Wolffia globosa

Where is duckweed found?

Like many plants, duckweed is found all over. You may have spotted it in ponds and lakes or hanging out near bodies of water (and you might have even eaten some while at a Chinese restaurant). But don’t go looking: It won’t be easy. Wolffia globosa grows on top of still water, which makes it harder to spot than other types of aquatic plants that grow on stream banks and river bottoms. If you do happen to see some—especially if it’s on a lake with an island nearby—don’t worry. You can get your own supply.

Where does duckweed grow

An ideal duckweed habitat is composed of open-to-medium light, deep water, and a medium pH. Because they are found in swamps, ponds, lakes, and ditches, it’s best to recreate their natural environment as closely as possible. This gives them something to grow on in addition to more food sources.

These aquatic plants are semi-aquatic so they will survive well if there is some oxygenation via good water flow or movement. The most popular way to provide great conditions for your Wolffia globosa colony is by placing it inside an aquarium or fish tank. Be sure you have a lid that allows enough light in through diffusion (screens with tight spaces should be avoided).

You can also house your little crop inside an aerated indoor wading pool if you don’t have a fish tank around at home. Just make sure you protect it from those pesky cats!

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How to grow duckweed

duckweed wolffia globosa

Wolffia globosa is an aquatic plant native to Southeast Asia. It belongs to a family of flowering plants commonly known as watermeal. A small floating aquatic herb, duckweed grows best in warm and stagnant water where there is ample sunlight. The plant is actually easy to grow provided you understand its basic needs.

Generally speaking, it is possible to propagate Wolffia globosa by moving a small bit from one body of water into another. Simply break off a bit with your fingers and gently push it into clean water. It will take root in just hours and start growing again almost immediately.

If you’re going through an aquarium supply store or fish department at your local big-box store, ask if they have any live aquatic plants, including Wolffia globosa. If so, buy some; otherwise, purchase something else like algae-eating shrimp that also require very little maintenance.

Adding algae-eating shrimp as well as other aquatic critters to your aquarium keeps it healthy and gives them a safe place to call home while helping eliminate some of that nasty green slime that can plague new tanks.

What nutrients does duckweed need to grow?

Duckweed is an extremely nutrient-sensitive plant and has a limited number of essential nutrients. It will not be able to survive without a source of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and iron. By far, nitrogen is its most critical requirement as it helps facilitate growth and reproduction.

One key element to keep in mind is that Wolffia globosa also needs trace amounts of nearly every nutrient we associate with healthy plants. In addition to nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium provide amazing benefits when given in small quantities. Iron is important because it allows for efficient oxygen uptake which keeps your duckweed happy!

Finally, many people use additives such as humic acid or kelp extract to deliver some other useful elements like magnesium, manganese, and zinc. These compounds are applied at roughly 1/10th strength (1ml per 10 gallons) to ensure you don’t push out too much of any one substance.

Duckweed care

duckweed wolffia globosa

Basic duckweed care involves creating an environment in which it can grow, but there’s more to caring for duckweed than simply putting it in a container of water. While you don’t need to do much work, there are some important things to keep in mind if you want your duckweed plant and seeds to survive.

Listed below are some of the requirements for your plant so it can thrive:

Wolffia globosa light requirement

They require full sun or partial shade (5-8 hours of direct sunlight) at optimal temperature range of 50-75 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. The water should be very soft, with a low hardness level, and very low in dissolved solids (such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese).

If you have hard water, you may need to treat it before using it for your duckweed tank. This can often be done by adding a commercial product to neutralize hardness levels, such as Seachem Prime.

Soil/potting mix

The potting mix must be rich and fertile. Make sure that it is not too small in size as duckweeds should have enough space to grow. The soil should also be wet most of the time, so make sure you choose soil that can hold lots of water. You can also use a small container or plastic bag filled with water and place your duckweeds in there until they start growing. This will ensure they stay moist all through their lives.

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Watering Wolffia globosa

In order to sustain your Wolffia globosa, it is important that you keep them well-watered. Like many plants, they like a lot of water, but unlike other plants, they do not need lots of nutrients, sunlight, or CO2. They can grow in just about any type of water with little care other than being kept moist.

The key is to ensure that their leaves are always above the surface of their container and never allowed to completely dry out. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds as some containers allow a lot more evaporation than others.

Duckweed fertilizer

Although duckweed requires no fertilizer, if you want to maximize growth, adding some nutrients can be beneficial. Fish emulsion or worm casting tea both work well.

Wolffia globosa temperature

Wolffia globosa can thrive in a wide range of temperatures. Some species have been known to survive as low as 5 degrees C and up to 45 degrees C. However, these extremes are rare. In most cases, it will be best if you keep your duckweed somewhere between 15 and 30 degrees C. Keep an eye on them when bringing them home from pet stores or other locations.


Proper humidity is critical for duckweed growth. The optimal range of humidity varies, but 20-40% is recommended in most cases. This can be difficult to control indoors, so consider providing a humidifier if there isn’t already one in your home. If you don’t have a humidifier and live in an arid climate, place a few trays of moist pebbles on top of your containers; as they evaporate, they will increase relative humidity around your plants.

Pruning wolffia globosa

duckweed wolffia globosa

In a vegetative state, duckweed plants can double their biomass every 24 hours. This rapid growth can make them very susceptible to overgrowth and become sickly if not pruned regularly. Pruning of Wolffia globosa involves harvesting mature leaves by cutting off portions at or near their base with a pair of scissors or shears. The leaves can then be used in prepared dishes or made into a fresh green juice, which is known to have some nutritious properties when consumed daily.

When to repot your Wolffia globosa

In order to ensure that duckweed stays healthy, it should be repotted every three months. Repotting a plant is simple—just take it out of its container and put it in a new one, then use scissors or a sharp knife to trim any brown fronds away from around its base. It’s fine if there’s still algae on them; they can simply be left behind when you move your plant into its new pot.

Wolffia globosa growth rate

The growth rate of duckweed is a very important factor to consider in order to establish whether you want to add it as an element of your aquaponics system or not. This is because, despite its small size, it can be seen floating all over your aquarium if you don’t keep an eye on how much light you allow into your tank and manage the way nutrients are supplied.

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Apart from that, duckweed will grow really quickly which means it will take up nutrients before your other plants get a chance.

Wolffia globosa toxicity

Although they are edible, Wolffia globosa are not high in nutrients and can be toxic when consumed in large quantities. If eaten, they can cause illness and discomfort. Ingestion of large amounts can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and depression.

The symptoms generally pass without treatment within one or two days but if you experience these symptoms you should see a doctor immediately. Even if treated with medication, however, some people can have allergic reactions that could result in severe breathing problems or even death.

USDA Hardiness zones

Wolffia globosa thrive in USDA hardiness zones 5-11. Do not attempt to grow it above zones 8-9 unless you are sure of your water quality and know-how to protect it from the summer heat. They can be grown indoors year-round if only in a very small container. It will benefit from high light, but it is not necessary.

You will also want to use fertilizer occasionally and keep a close watch over its temperature when growing duckweed indoors. But with these precautions, we’ve had many happy years of successful indoor growing of duckweed at HydroFlora!

Pests and diseases affecting Wolffia globosa

Although duckweed isn’t susceptible to most pests and diseases, your plant may come under attack from a few specific creatures. That said, you can protect your Wolffia globosa by providing it with a natural habitat as close as possible to its native environment. In general, though, you shouldn’t have any trouble growing duckweed in both warm and cold climates.

The water lily aphid is one pest that may be problematic for owners of duckweed; it tends to thrive in warmer weather. Fortunately, there are several ways of repelling or killing these pesky insects before they infest your plants. Finally, although not fatal to duckweed, rotifers and flatworms will attack freshwater algae plants like those belonging to Wolffia genus.

What fish eat duckweed?

Bottom feeders, such as goldfish and koi, eat duckweed. It’s also eaten by water bugs and snails that live on wetland plants and surfaces. When feeding duckweed to fish in a tank, keep in mind that too much can make your fish sick or even kill them. Start with small amounts until you get an idea of how much your fish can handle without harm.

What is duckweed good for?

duckweed wolffia globosa

Duckweed is a natural fertilizer and is used in aquariums to provide nourishment, a very small floating plant that is a nutrient and mineral powerhouse. It contains vitamins A, B, C, and D as well as calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous. Duckweed has been used for everything from fertilizing the soil to medicines but it does need proper care.

Is duckweed edible for humans?

There are several different species of duckweed, but only a few are edible. The most commonly eaten is wolffia globosa. Its leaves taste like spinach and can be eaten raw or cooked. They’re also full of nutrients and were used as an important source of vitamins in Europe during World War II because they are readily available, grow rapidly, and require very little space or care.

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So in a practical sense, it’s safe to assume that duckweed is perfectly edible for humans. After all, it is part of a plant family that includes food staples like spinach and quinoa. But there’s one important caveat: If you’re planning on harvesting duckweed as a potential food source, be sure your body of water contains no toxins.

Is duckweed poisonous?

Duckweed is non-toxic. This aquatic plant can make a good addition to your pond because it floats on top of the water and has an impressive ability to absorb nutrients from its surroundings. However, if duckweed grows in large enough quantities, it can cover up much of your water body with green carpets that might block sunlight from reaching other plants.

Does duckweed harm fish?

No, although duckweed does cause some issues for aquariums. If your tank is heavily infested with duckweed, it can block out all light and leave other plants in your tank to die as they won’t get enough sunlight. It can also consume oxygen if there are too many leaves on top of each other. Make sure you take them out before they start piling up or plant more floating plants than required so that some can serve as a filter.

Is duckweed an oxygenator?

Although duckweed is often called an oxygenator, it actually plays a different role in water purification. Oxygenators create oxygen from carbon dioxide, while duckweed (as well as other similar floating plants) converts carbon dioxide into oxygen and then uses that oxygen for photosynthesis. The end result is pretty much the same: you have clean water with more oxygen in it.

Duckweed benefits

The duckweed is a tiny aquatic plant that contains a high concentration of nutrients and is capable of reproducing very quickly. It’s a great addition to any tank or home pond, and with proper care, it can be maintained successfully over time. This small plant does not need any soil at all in order to grow. Instead, it spreads itself out over every surface in your tank where its roots will absorb all of its nutrients from your fish’s excrement and urine.

Disadvantages of duckweed

Duckweed is not a good substitute for any other floating plants in small ponds, as it does not grow very large and provides no shade. Also, duckweeds have little, if any, use in larger ponds. This plant has been known to cause water quality problems in some areas.