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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | One Wicked Plant

One Wicked Plant


This spring, on an impulse visit to a nearby nursery, I bought a rather pretty plant for my upper pond. It was a water hyacinth, which floats on the water, has interesting succulent leaves, and a beautiful blue flower.

If I had bothered to check my book Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart, I might not have been so surprised three weeks later when my pond looked like this:

Yikes! I wondered if it would be able to get out of the pond, come into the house, and eat one of my children in the night!

Apparently this lovely little plant is a pernicious weed that doubles in area every 2 weeks. According to Amy Stewart: “The crimes that this aquatic plant has committed are so great that it should be locked away forever – if only that worked.” She also says: “The plant is so horrible that it has earned its own Guinness World Record as the world’s worst aquatic weed.”

I probably would not have bought the plant if I had known this. And yet, as it turns out – no harm done. The hyacinths have produced pretty blue flowers all summer; the frogs love the pond, and our lower pond has never been so clear! Apparently the water strained through the hyacinth blockage comes out stripped of nitrogen – which feeds the algae that has been a constant problem in previous summers.

When I clipped some of the hyacinths out and threw them in the lower pond to see what would happen, they didn’t make out so well. Apparently even this hardened criminal of a plant could not withstand the mighty force of my voracious pond fish.

Have you ever invited a pernicious pest into your home by mistake? How did it turn out for you?

8 Responses to One Wicked Plant

  1. salarsenッ says:

    Yikes is right. I’d love to say I’ve overgrowth, but alas…I’m a plant killer.

  2. Linda G. says:

    I guess “pernicious pestiness” is in the eye of the beholder, huh? I take this as a reminder to keep my characters layered. All good or all bad = pretty darn dull.

  3. *pulls on gloves to go weed AGAIN* nasty buggers in our front garden–vine weeds, they drive me MAD!!!!

  4. Wow, that must have been a surprise! Sounds like it wasn’t too bad for your pond though. I got some marigolds to decorate my herb garden, thinking itd be nice to have some orange and yellow flowers well into november. But they basically turned into these huge monsterous weed trees that blocked out the light for everything else. Needless to say my husband pulled out every single one about a week ago.

  5. JEM says:

    Omg, I can’t believe you posted about this, I had a very similar experience recently! The partner-in-crime and I recently bought our first house, and I’m learning all kinds of things about landscaping (mainly that I don’t do it). But when we first moved in everyone who came to visit told us to get rid of the bamboo plant in the backyard. I thought it was nice, so I left it. I came out into the backyard one day and the P-i-C said, “What is that plant? It looks like a tiny palm tree.” It took a few seconds for it to register, but I finally realized it was an offshoot of the bamboo. I know what you’re thinking – what’s so scary about that? Well, it was 200 feet away from the main plant. Yeah. 200 feet. With no visible connection. I had nightmares that a bamboo shoot in a black ski mask would come into my bedroom at night and eat my dog a la Little Shop of Horrors.

  6. Jess says:

    I have, in a way. My mom and I got mint we knew we wanted it but we didn’t know it would spread over half the shade garden! LOL

  7. mshatch says:

    I love your little ponds. They look very peaceful.

  8. See, there’s always good to be found. (Smiles) Here’s to optimism. (raises cup of coffee)