Parrot Feather Plants

How Parrot Feather Plants Benefit Koi

No koi pond is complete without plants, which serve as a source of nutrients and domicile for the fish. There are many plants to choose from, and one of the most prominent is the parrot feather.


Parrot feather is a diverse aquatic plant that can be grown either on land or submerged. It can be invasive if not properly controlled, and works best in either container gardens or ponds which are lined. It is pleasing to the eyes, with leaves that are feathery with red woody stems. In warmer areas it might appear ever green. The plant is originally from the Amazon but has spread across the world since the 1800s. Although parrot feather can be grown in the northern parts of the U.S. it performs best in the south where it has access to fresh water in ponds, streams and lakes.

Life Cycle

This plant is distinct from other species since it thrives in all four seasons. When lake, stream and pond water begins to warm up in spring, these plants will start to flourish, but some will actually flower during autumn. Visually, the plant is small with a white color. The majority of parrot feathers are female, and most males are confined to South America. The seeds aren’t produced in most North American plants, and since parrot feather usually reproduces asexually, the new plants will sprout from the fragments of plants which are already rooted.

The rhizomes are important as they act as a structure for root which is adventitious while giving buoyancy for continuous growth during summer months. The leaves and stems will extend as much as one foot above the surface of the water, which will provide lots of shade to the fish that are underneath.

Pond owners have recognized the beauty and importance of parrot feather and keep them both in and outdoors. It is especially popular in water gardens, but in lakes and other places it has caused problems. For instance, unlike other plants, it does not have natural predators in the U.S., which means it can grow excessively. Additionally, the plant’s toughness means that it is difficult to eat and digest for water grazes. Overgrowth of parrot feather can lead to the eradication of both algae and mosquito larvae, which many pond owners will see as a blessing, but can actually cause issues in natural ponds, lakes and streams.

Care And Management

Those that wish to keep parrot feather must be aware of its tendency to overgrow. Aquatic herbicides are quite effective in controlling growth, and these plants should never be cut because this will actually make them grow even more rapidly. Although parrot feather is indeed a beautiful plant that offers many benefits to pond owners that keep them, in some states they are considered noxious weeds and are therefore banned, so it is important to check your local laws before purchasing.

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