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Eared Watermoss

Salvinia auriculata

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Eared Watermoss (Salvinia auriculata) at Echter's Nursery & Garden Center

Eared Watermoss

Eared Watermoss

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  12 inches

Spacing:  3 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  6b

Other Names:  Butterfly Fern, Aquarium Watermoss


An aquatic fern that does not require soil, and floats on the surface of ponds or water features; interesting glossy folded leaves with brownish edges, form thick mats; used largely in aquariums; considered invasive, and restricted in many areas

Ornamental Features

Eared Watermoss' attractive glossy round leaves emerge light green in spring, turning green in color with distinctive brown edges throughout the season. Neither the flowers nor the fruit are ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Eared Watermoss is a dense herbaceous perennial with a low habit of growth, spreading atop the surface of the water. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This is a high maintenance plant that will require regular care and upkeep, and can be pruned at anytime. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spreading
  • Invasive

Eared Watermoss is ideally suited for growing in a pond, water garden or patio water container, and is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Water Gardens
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Eared Watermoss will grow to be about 12 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 4 feet. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 3 feet apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the water, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 5 years.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. As an aquatic plant, it requires a suitable water garden environment and will benefit from special planting and ongoing care practices; consult one of our in-store experts for further details and instructions. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division.

Eared Watermoss is a fine choice for the water garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a 'spiller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when grown in outdoor pots and containers, aquatic plants like this one will require a special growing environment that meets their requirement for consistent moisture. Be aware that in our climate, this plant may be too tender to survive the winter if left outdoors in a container. Contact our store for more information on how to protect it over the winter months.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Container  Water 
Foliage Color  Texture 
Ornamental Features

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