Eleocharis - Chinese Water Chestnut, Hair Grass, Spike Rush, Water Chestnut
DESCRIPTION: This is a group of aquatic, rush-like perennials. Some grow naturally along the edges of ponds and others grow completely submerged. E. acicularis, Hair Grass, is a hardy variety native to North America, Asia and Europe. It has pale green, needle-like leaves, up to 8 inches in length. This plant spreads vigorously by means of rhizomes and care must be taken that it doesn't choke out other submerged plants. E. montevidensis, Spike Rush, is a handsome plant that grows from 6 to 12 inches high. This grass-like plant is equipped with tiny, round pokers on its tips. This plant can be used as a filler plant in the pots of tall plants. E. tuberosa, Chinese Water Chestnut, has bright green, hollow stems that grow up to 2 feet high. It produces edible tubers that are widely used in Chinese cuisine.
POTTING: Hair Grass is grown completely submerged underneath the water. The Spike Rush is grown in 1- or 2-gallon containers and covered with up to 2 inches of water. They need a sunny or partially shaded place to grow in. It doesn't like to be transplanted and will take a few days to recuperate. The Chinese Water Chestnut should be grown in containers of fertile soil under 6 inches of water. The tubers are ready for use after about 6 months. This plant is hardy in the milder parts of North America.
PROPAGATION: These plants are rapid spreaders by stolons and seeds, therefore, care must be taken or you'll have them growing in every pot in the water garden. They may be increased by root division in the spring.
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