How to Produce Duckweed


Duckweed species (Lemna minor) are small aquatic plants that thrive floating on the surface of ponds and other stagnant water. They are highly successful at removing mineral contaminates from water. Duckweed is also used in fish food for such species as koi. It is being added to poultry feeds as a vegetable protein. According to the Centre for Duckweed Research & Development at the University of New England, tests are underway to utilize duckweed in feed for other ruminate livestock. Growing duckweed is relatively easy but care must be taken not to damage the delicate plants.

Step 1

Fill a large bucket or plastic container with the pond water that the duckweed is currently growing within. The duckweed does not require sterile water conditions if being grown for home use. You will have the best success growing the small plants using the water from the environment they are familiar with.

Step 2

Skim the top of the pond using a lightweight net material such as the fabric used to make wedding veils, according to the Missouri Botanical Society. Gently skim the water to remove the duckweed using the veil, then lift it carefully from the pond.

Step 3

Place the duckweed in buckets or plastic tubs that contain at least 6 inches of pond water. Gently skim the duckweed from the net material using a thin spatula and allow the duckweed to float in the pond water in the container. The roots of the tiny plants are extremely sticky, so utilize a very thin spatula to gently remove the plants from the fabric

Step 4

Choose a location to place the bucket that offers direct sunlight. Duckweed requires six to eight hours of light per day. The plants can also be grown in a sunny window or under a skylight. If there is no area that affords warmth and access to sunlight, then consider using a fluorescent light fixture. Use one cool white tube fluorescent light and one grow light fluorescent light tube suspended above the plastic container.

Step 5

Watch the water bucket closely for water evaporation. The duckweed will need to be placed in fresh pond water as evaporation occurs. Topping off the water will make the water's salinity increase and can kill the duckweed. Replace the entire water content with new water to maintain the ideal water-to-mineral balance.

Step 6

Fertilize duckweed using an organic chicken manure tea fertilizer that can be purchased at hydrophonic garden supply stores or aquatic plant stores. Mix at one-quarter the recommended strength on the label, and apply once per week.

Tips and Warnings

  • Duckweed should be sterilized before placing it in an aquarium setting. Use potassium permanganate. Scoop the duckweed and soak it for 20 minutes in the solution.

Things You'll Need

  • Bacteriological loop
  • Lightweight netting material used to make bridal veils
  • Bucket or plastic container
  • Thin spatula
  • Potassium permanganate
  • Fluorescent light fixture
  • Fluorescent grow light tube
  • Fluorescent white tube
  • Organic chicken manure tea fertilizer


  • Centre for Duckweed Research & Development at the University of New England: Duckweed
  • Missouri Botanical Society: Growing Duckweed
  • Mangrove and wetland wildlife at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve: Growing Duckweed
  • Kokos Goldfish: How To Grow Duckweed

Who Can Help

  • DIY Aquaponics: Duckweed
  • Division Of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance: Duckweed
  • Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations: Duckweed
  • Tilapia Fish Farmers Co-op: Duckweed Aquaculture
Keywords: growing duckweed, aqua duckweed, duckweed growth, uses of duckweed

About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.