Where To Find Water Lettuce In Florida

 Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants University of Florida, IFAS
Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants University of Florida, IFAS from plants.ifas.ufl.edu

What is Water Lettuce?

Water lettuce is a floating aquatic plant native to tropical regions of the world. It is easily identifiable by its bright green leaves that form a rosette shape, resembling a head of lettuce. It is sometimes confused with water hyacinth, another aquatic plant, but is easily distinguishable by its outwardly ruffled leaves. Water lettuce is also known by its scientific name, Pistia stratiotes, or as "Pistia" for short.

Water lettuce is an invasive species in the United States, and can be found in most states. In Florida, it is especially prevalent in the warmer, southern regions and is considered to be a nuisance. It has a tendency to quickly take over areas, blocking out sunlight and oxygen needed by other native aquatic plants and animals.

The Benefits of Water Lettuce

Despite its invasive nature in Florida, water lettuce is actually beneficial in many ways. It helps to absorb excess nutrients from the water, reducing the amount of algae growth. It can also be used as a natural filter to clean the water, removing pollutants and providing a habitat for fish to lay eggs. Additionally, water lettuce helps to reduce the effects of erosion on the shoreline, making it a great plant for helping to keep waterways clean and healthy.

Water lettuce can also be used as a natural fertilizer for gardens and lawns. Its leaves contain a high concentration of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are essential for healthy plant growth. As the leaves decompose, they release these nutrients into the soil, making them available for use by the plants.

Where to Find Water Lettuce in Florida

Water lettuce can be found in many areas of Florida, but it is most commonly found in the southern regions. It can be found in ponds, lakes, and other areas of standing water, and is often seen along the edges of rivers and streams.

In some areas, such as the Florida Keys, water lettuce is considered an invasive species. In these areas, it is illegal to purchase or sell water lettuce. However, it can still be found in the wild, growing naturally.

In other areas, such as the Everglades and other wetlands, water lettuce can be found in abundance. It is important to note that taking water lettuce from the wild is not allowed. It is illegal to harvest water lettuce from the wild without a permit.

How to Buy Water Lettuce in Florida

If you're looking to purchase water lettuce in Florida, there are several places where you can buy it. The most common place to purchase water lettuce is at a local nursery or garden center. Here, you will find the plant in various sizes and quantities. Most nurseries will also have the necessary supplies to help you care for the plant, such as fertilizer and aquatic plant food.

You can also purchase water lettuce online from retailers, such as Amazon and eBay. However, it is important to note that it is illegal to ship water lettuce across state lines, so you must ensure that the retailer you are purchasing from is located in Florida. Additionally, you should make sure that the water lettuce is fresh and has not been stored for too long, as this can lead to the plant becoming diseased or infested with pests.

Caring for Water Lettuce in Florida

Water lettuce is a fairly easy plant to care for in Florida. It prefers an environment with warm temperatures and plenty of sunlight. It can also tolerate a wide range of pH levels, but prefers a slightly acidic environment. When planting, it is important to space the plants at least three feet apart, as this helps to reduce the spread of diseases.

It is important to keep the plant in an area with water movement, as this helps to keep the leaves clean. Additionally, it is important to fertilize the plant every two to three weeks with an aquatic plant fertilizer. This helps to ensure that the plant has access to the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and vigorous.


Water lettuce is a beneficial aquatic plant in Florida, but it can also be an invasive species. It can be found in the wild in many areas of the state, but it is illegal to harvest it without a permit. You can purchase water lettuce from a local nursery or garden center, or online from retailers located in Florida. When planted, it is important to keep it in an area with plenty of sunlight and water movement, as well as fertilizing it every two to three weeks.

Previous Post Next Post