Alphabetical Plant Listing

Azolla caroliniana (Carolina Mosquito Fern)

Carolina Mosquitofern, Carolina Mosquito Fern, Water Fern, Eastern Mosquito Fern, Fairy Moss, Fairy Floating Moss


Azolla caroliniana (Carolina Mosquito Fern) is a tiny floating fern forming a mat of prostrate and freely branched stems covered with bilobed scale-like leaves arranged in two rows. The upper leaf floats on the surface and the lower leaf is submerged. The pale green to blue-green foliage warms up to bright red in response to stress such as very bright light or very high or low temperatures. Small feather-like roots are produced along the lower surface of the stem and hang freely in the water. Native to North America, Carolina Mosquito Fern occurs naturally in ponds and lakes, in slow moving streams, in canals, and in back waters and sloughs. It grows extremely quickly under optimum conditions and can sometimes become a nuisance. It can form thick mats that completely cover the surface of the water, preventing mosquitoes from depositing their eggs. A unique trait of Carolina Mosquito Fern is its ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen into a usable form. This is done via a symbiosis with the cyanobacterium, Anabaena azollae. Nitrogen is one of the 3 vital macronutrients required for plant health, so this species can be used as a biofertilizer. Carolina Mosquito Fern is cultivated as an ornamental plant for use in water gardens, aquaria and ponds.

  • This deciduous perennial spreads indefinitely.
  • Performs best in full sun to part shade in water gardens, bog gardens or aquatic containers.
  • Virtually pest and disease free.
  • Reduce its spread by removing portions with a net.
  • Propagate by redistributing clusters of plantlets when they appear.
  • Native to North America.

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Requirements

Hardiness 7 – 11
Heat Zones 1 – 11
Plant Type Ferns
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 1" – 2" (2cm – 5cm)
Water Needs High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Poorly Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Southwest, Oklahoma, Texas
Garden Uses Ponds and Streams

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Samantha, Flickr, Gerry Bishop, Iam_Sunday, Anghi, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 7 – 11
Heat Zones 1 – 11
Plant Type Ferns
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 1" – 2" (2cm – 5cm)
Water Needs High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Poorly Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Southwest, Oklahoma, Texas
Garden Uses Ponds and Streams

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Azolla caroliniana (Carolina Mosquito Fern)

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