Adding a Wisteria to Your Water Garden

You can enhance your water garden by adding water wisteria to it. Water wisteria grows submerged under water, transplants easily and is very simple to propagate. Water wisteria can be found at most aquarium supply stores and is now becoming more available at outdoor garden supply and pond equipment centers. This hardy plant is very easy to care for and adding it to your water garden will serve as an oxygenator contributing to the biological needs of the animals living in your water garden.


Also known as hygrophila difformis, ruellia triflora and ruellia difformis, water wisteria features light green leaves that resemble the shape of ferns.  The leaves grow opposite each other from thin branches and can grow to ten centimeters long. The leaves on vertical branches that reach the water surface change in shape and continue growing floating on water surface.  If you cultivate your water wisteria to float on the surface, it can eventually flower. The leaves and branches are very fragile. Branches will shoot vertically and horizontally. The horizontal runners take root in the gravel bed and can shoot vertical branches along the way. The runners will eventually turn upwards themselves and become vertical branches.

Growth Environment

Water wisteria grows fastest under water in medium light conditions. It will also live well and grow slowly under low light as well. This hardy plant will tolerate a margin of PH levels from five to nine and water temperatures from 20 to 28 degrees centigrade. Keep in mind that water wisteria is a tropical plant.


Water wisteria propagates itself very easily. The ends of the floating branches eventually break off into small pieces. The small floating pieces that can find their way into gravel will easily take root and become new plants.

Water wisteria can also be cultivated from cuttings. Simply cut off a branch with at least six leaves on it. Trim the bottom two leaves off and then secure the cut end to a stone with a rubber band. Then bury the stone in gravel.  Your cutting should take root quickly.

How to Plant in your Water Garden

Use a rubber band and bunch together a group of water wisteria stems. Secure the bunch to a pond basket or fabric pot with a twist tie or another rubber band. Fill the basket or fabric pot with gravel that matches the décor of your garden then submerge the basket and water wisteria in a suitable spot. This can be done any time of year.


If your water garden freezes over the winter, you can winterize the water wisteria by simply trimming it back below the ice line. This should keep it alive over the winter.

Water wisteria is a very hardy tropical plant that was first introduced for use as an ornamental aquarium plant but has now become popular for use in outdoor water gardens. The plant originated from India, Thailand and Malaysia. It is extremely easy to maintain and cultivate and contributes essential nutrients to the ecosystem in your water garden.