Ludwigia adscendens (Water Primrose)

Scientific Name

Ludwigia adscendens (L.) H.Hara

Common Names

Water Primrose, Water Dragon, Marshy Jasmine

Synonyms

Jussiaea adscendens, Jussiaea repens

Scientific Classification

Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Ludwigia

Flower

Color: Cream
Bloom Time: Late spring to early fall

Description

Ludwigia adscendens is a perennial floating herb with white spongy buoys and can float on the water surface and creep over the wetlands' surface. The plant has simple leaves with elliptic blades, which are up to 3.8 inches (7 cm) long and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) wide. Its petioles are up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) short. Its cream flowers emerge singly at axils, and each has 5 sepals, 5 petals, and 10 stamens.

Ludwigia adscendens - Water Primrose
Photo via tropical.theferns.info

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

This floating Ludwigia is native to Central and South America, where it can be found growing in stagnant waters and sections of riverine environments free of the current. It is a very common pond plant in warm climates or ponds in conservatories. Cultivation in an aquarium is a bit more complicated.

Above all else, this floating stem plant requires light. Even values in the higher range of what is possible over a planted aquarium are often not enough. Outdoor culture in a well-lit pond or tub is sometimes the only way to achieve satisfactory growth with this species. Heavy fertilization with macro- and micronutrients is essential (if enough light is available) to produce attractive growth. Yellow flowers form on the floating rosettes if the plant is achieving good growth.

Winter hardy to USDA Zone 10. In St. Louis, grow as an annual in containers covered with 6 to 18 inches (15 to 45 cm) of water in full sun to part shade. Plants can be difficult to overwinter indoors.

Although this species' usefulness in the aquascape is markedly limited, its beautiful circles of reddish foliage can lend a unique texture to outdoor ponds. See more at How to Grow and Care for Mosaic Plant (Ludwigia sedoides).

Origin

Its native distribution is unclear. It is now a common weed of rice paddies in Asia and also occurs in Australia and Africa, but may have originated in South America.

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