Bacopa, commonly known as herb-of-grace or water hyssop, is used in hanging baskets, water gardens and as a shallow-water ground cover. This perennial plant boasts small oval green foliage among small white, blue or purple flowers and grows close to the ground in a sprawling and matting fashion.
Bacopa will grow year-round in warmer climates. However, in cooler regions, further propagation may be necessary to ensure you have bacopa plants year after year. According to "The Encyclopedia of Water Plants," the best way to propagate bacopa plants is with simple cuttings. Cut the plant approximately 3 inches from the tip and place the cut end in water in a warm and sunny area until roots sprout. Once the plant has roots it can be planted in soil. "The Encyclopedia of Water Plants" indicates that although cuttings are the best way to start new bacopa plants, seeds are easy as well. Bacopa seeds will sprout sown close to the surface of moist soil mixes.
Bacopa is generally an easy plant to grow. Most varieties require full sun and wet soil but will tolerate and even thrive in a little afternoon shade. In addition, bacopa can tolerate light flooding and therefore is often used in areas with poor drainage. This perennial is frost sensitive, and containers should be brought indoors when the weather cools or if there is any risk of frost.
Bacopa is traditionally used in hanging baskets. Bacopa will drape over the edges of traditional hanging baskets or other containers and therefore has become a potted favorite. However, it is also a popular plant for borders and edges. Because bacopa grows close to the ground in a sprawling manner it can be cultivated as an ornamental ground cover or space filler in rock or specialty gardens as well.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, bacopa is widely distributed throughout the United States. However, this plant did not show up in U.S. nurseries until the 1990s. It is generally marketed as a container plant but smaller starter plants are starting to make their way to greenhouse shelves. Seeds are not widely available yet but can be ordered through specialty markets.
Bacopa has been used in Ayurvedic medicine since the sixth century. Specifically, the leaves of the bacopa plant are made into a tea and used as a nerve tonic. According to Ayurvedic, bacopa contains chemical properties that help the nerve impulses to transmit faster and smoother. Conditions such as mental illness, epilepsy and memory loss are all improved by bacopa. In addition, bacopa is used to boost mental clarity and cognition.