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Uses for Duckweed

This list of over seventy uses for duckweed is by no means final, but is meant to give you an inkling of what is possible. I can’t lay claim to developing all of them. A big thank you goes out to all my fellow duckweed enthusiasts from around the world who have been kind enough to share their experiences with me.

Disclaimer: As this is only a list, please exercise common sense and safe practices in any application.

Uses for Duckweed

Indoor Pets

  1. Hamsters and Gerbils
  2. Mice
  3. Goldfish, Bettas, Koi
  4. Turtles
  5. Aquarium water cleaner
  6. As a fish laxative
  7. Frozen duckweed treats

Organic Gardening

  1. Compost
  2. Soil amendment
  3. Green mulch in vegetable gardens
  4. Green mulch in fruit orchards
  5. Green mulch for potted plants
  6. Green mulch for flower beds

Animal Feedstock

  1. Ducks and geese
  2. Chickens- layers and brooders
  3. Pea fowl
  4. Rabbits
  5. Sheep
  6. Hogs
  7. Goats
  8. Cattle
  9. Fermented feed for livestock


  1. Tilapia
  2. Grass Carp
  3. Koi
  4. Catfish

Pond Health and Management

  1. Measurement of  waste nutrient loads in ponds
  2. Algae suppression
  3. Frog haven
  4. Water health of pond
  5. Suppression of mosquito larvae
  6. Minimize evaporation of water
  7. Cooler water columns
  8. Suppression of underwater vegetation
  9. Burning duckweed to drive away mosquitos
  10. As a cover to protect fish from predators


  1. Material for worm beds

Soldier Fly Propagation

  1. As breeding ground/compost medium
  2. Closed loop system


  1. Biomethane
  2. Ethanol production
  3. Duckweed pellets for home heating
  4. Electricity

Wastewater Bioremediation

  1. Wastewater remediation of nitrogen and phosphorus
  2. Polisher of heavy metals and biological pathogens
  3. Interplant with wetland plants for prolonging season
  4. Waste nutrient recycling of duckweed into animal feedstock, bioenergy, etc…
  5. Retaining pond or canal around agriculture fields to collect fertilizer leachate for bioremediation (thanks for the reminder, Ken Carman!)

Integrated farming

  1. Farm animal/biomethane/duckweed semi-closed loop systems
  2. Aquaponics- tilapia/hydroponics/duckweed semi-closed loop systems
  3. Combined fish/duckweed systems


  1. Photos
  2. Waterscaping Outdoors
  3. Waterscaping Indoors
  4. Chlorophyl Art
  5. Dried duckweed applications

Social Inter-relations

  1. Neighborhood duckweed pond recycling
  2. Bartering duckweed for goods or services


  1. Chinese medicinal uses
  2. Homeopathy

Human Food

  1. Lemna recipes
  2. Watermeal recipes
  3. Protein tofu and refined powdered source for protein additives


  1. Space travel research
  2. OMEGA project research


  1. Gene manipulation for wide variety of applications
  2. Indicators of variances in research testing


  1. Duckweed science experiments for kids
  2. Lessons in sustainable aquaculture
  3. Promotion for sustainable wastewater reuse

Commercial Uses

  1. As large-scale protein feed supplement
  2. As large-scale bioenergy feedstock
  3. Bioplastic raw ingredient  (Thanks Ryan Hunt!)

© Tamra Fakhoorian 2012   No portion may be copied or used without express permission of the author.

44 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephanie permalink
    June 12, 2018 8:36 am

    We have duckweed in our pond ,just came into it 3 years ago trying to get it out .please help


    • June 12, 2018 2:10 pm

      Hi Stephanie, I’m not in the habit for killing it because it’s good for so many things, but everything in the right place. I suggest without knowing your situation, that you ensure that all excess nutrients from Lawns Farms Etc get to diverted in other directions. Then I suggest you harvest aggressively daily and put your duckweed in your garden or somewhere where it can do some good. The idea is to let your duckweed finish its job of nutrient removal so that your pond water is Mostly just plain old water. If you don’t remove tge excess nutrients and kill off the duckweed, instead of a duckweed problem you will have an algae problem.( and the duckweed may come back anyway.) Keep me posted please!


  2. August 22, 2016 9:21 am

    I am doing Algaeduckweed innovation in pond and over ground for poulgry and caw feed.


  3. October 15, 2015 4:09 am

    Tamraf – brilliant article! I’m writing a blog post partly about ponds in front gardens, I’d like to refer to your work – I’m at I was mostly interested in it as a survival food, but the number of uses you list makes it even more interesting.


    • November 8, 2015 4:12 am

      Hi Tamra, me again. Thank you for your permission to quote you on my blog … I posted on Friday, but I’ve only just been able to upload pix, so I’m just letting you know now that its up – its in the latest post, dated November 5, about ponds. Thanks again.


  4. Jeff Bolton permalink
    July 11, 2015 8:52 pm

    I have a large amount of duckweed need help in Marketing it


  5. Billy Martinez permalink
    February 9, 2015 7:12 am

    Hello Tamra,
    Im find your article very interesting and imformative. Can I post this article about duck weed on facebook.



    • February 11, 2015 10:07 pm

      Sure. Please do give my name and website credit for it. Thanks!


  6. yew permalink
    January 29, 2015 2:58 am

    hi tamraf
    i would like to ask regarding duckweed productivity /day/area pond
    what is the quantity of manure(duck) require for pond size 2500 meter square


    • January 31, 2015 11:43 am

      Hi Yew,
      Since I do not know how fresh your manure is, or what your pond conditions are like, I’d start with a basic 3-5 20 kg in a burlap sack and position in the deep end of the pond. You can then monitor color and growth of your duckweed. This might not be enough manure, but it is a start. I would refrain from adding manure directly to the pond.

      As far as production goes, grams/sq. meter/day- For annual production of 14 dry tons/hectare (conservatively-speaking) with year round production, you can count on 80 wet grams of duckweed per square meter per day. Your results may vary depending on a multitude of factors.


  7. Perry Calton permalink
    September 25, 2014 8:11 pm

    I’m very excited to find this site. I must research it entirely. I have land in SW Oklahoma which is drought ridden, granite foothills, and a little old pasture land.
    I’m happy now because I have just installed a water line from Lake Tom Steed. The water is plagued with green algae, and too high N & P. Trying to find a solution to remediate the water of its pollutants I web-surfed to Duckweed and it seems like a miracle.
    Unfortunately I have not found any local sources for help and input. I’ve tried a couple if forums about duckweed but have yet to get a reply.


    • September 28, 2014 9:10 am

      Perry, any duckweed species is a good one when it comes to water remediation. I’d use whatever species you have locally- and harvest it 2-3 times a week in the summer so as to pull those nitrates and phosphates out of the water for good. Should be good as animal feed in limited quantities or for compost or mulch. Keep me posted!


  8. May 14, 2014 7:40 am

    That’s really thkining out of the box. Thanks!


  9. Seb permalink
    May 1, 2014 7:25 am

    Hi, your information about Duckweeds is very eye-catching! I’m a High School Student from Philippines and I was wondering if Duckweeds as Human Food is safe and healthy?


    • May 7, 2014 8:02 am

      Seb, there are species that are eaten by humans. The trick is to grow it in clean water- a bit of a challenge, given the nature of bacteria and protozoans.


  10. Lorie Anderson permalink
    April 29, 2014 9:42 pm

    04-29-2014 Is there a link or an article specifically on “Burning duckweed to drive away mosquitoes” from the list above for Pond Health & Management? What types of duckweed samples do you have for sale? I work with the local county extension office here in Georgia and I am very keen on presenting duckweed as a potential mosquito control agent and waste water purification system. Any advice or suggestions will be greatly appreciated !


    • April 30, 2014 7:19 am

      Dear Lorie, much more is known about duckweed’s ability to remediate waste water than as a mosquito repeller from smudge fires. The burning/smudge was suggested to me by a researcher a couple of years ago. My rational for including it was that I have personally burned moist duckweed and the smell was so powerful and lingering… it could quite feasibly work as Citronella but doesn’t smell as nice!] It IS known and researched that a covering mat of duckweed inhibits mosquito larvae’s ability to reach the surface, thereby blocking it from oxygen.
      As far as waste water remediation with duckweed, I can suggest Dr. Louis Landesman for consulting, or Paul Skillicorn for remediation systems using duckweed. Feel free to email me for more communication.


  11. Patricia Keljik permalink
    February 10, 2014 11:17 am

    Can you apply live duckweed directly to a lawn as fertilizer without composting?


    • February 17, 2014 3:11 pm

      Hi Patricia, I have not tried that as I primarily have been working with it for fresh mulch and compost applications. I’m guessing that if you composted it first, you’d have a more even spread rate, won’t kill off young grass sprouts with a heavy blanket of fresh duckweed, and the nutrients will be in a form that gives faster results. (It won’t have to biologically break down as that was done already in the compost bin.) I would try using fresh duckweed in a manure tea that is sitting in the dark. Haven’t done that yet, but if the wet duckweed can be allowed to break down even quicker than in a compost pile, it would be an added benefit to your lawn.


  12. Terri Shaver permalink
    August 24, 2013 9:54 am

    We have a pond, about three acres COVERED in duck weed and have been looking for methods to kill it, as it has become so prolific over the years, that it has killed every fish in it. But, after reading much of the literature out there and examining this site, I’m now reconsidering our ‘green gold’ crop. I literally harvested a 5 gal bucket in less than 30 minutes and will be applying it to my cold crop garden that just went in just a month ago here in Michigan.
    I’m wondering more about how to dry and compost it or uses for chicken feed, which will be my next use.
    Can someone comment or send me to a site(s) that might have more information?
    Thank you!
    Terri S.


    • April 30, 2014 7:24 am

      Solar dry it in indirect light if you can, otherwise, lay it out on black plastic in the sun and turn it once or twice. If rained on during the drying process, it ruins it. You can compost it as is, or add as a nitrogen boost to carbon sources. I’d feed it fresh to half-grown chickensas a supplement for micro-nutrients and more yellow egg yolks. Chickens cannot process a whole lot of water in wet duckweed, so they’ll quit when they have had enough. Dry duckweed up to 20% of their normal rations.


  13. April 18, 2013 8:41 pm

    I’m creating an Aquaponic Garden for my school and would love to get some duckweed! If you could ship me some I would be really appriciative. Please send to Po box 145, Windsor Colorado, 80550, and email me at


    • Julie Snyder permalink
      August 8, 2013 4:49 pm

      I could get lots to you. We sell it by the pound.


      • September 28, 2014 9:16 am

        Terri, solar drying it works well. I’d feed it no more than 15% as a fresh supplement or up to 25% as dried feed (insure that your roots are short 1/4 inch, when you harvest it or your protein content will be too low.)


    • Hillcrest_Orion permalink
      June 26, 2015 9:09 am

      We have large quantity of duckweed for sale. If anybody wants to buy duckweed, please email us at We offer a great deal


  14. April 3, 2013 11:40 am

    I have a method of harvesting Duckweed that could provide a constant and free stream of it through a floating pipe. Several of my Bossy units placed in series could provide an industrial supply, if it were available. Anyone have a supply? I have a friend in Louisiana that is looking into it now.


    • LINDA permalink
      June 8, 2014 8:33 am

      I live on a channel up in Wisconsin with a never ending supply of duck weed. Write me if you are still looking for a supply that might serve you purposes.


      • June 10, 2014 9:04 pm

        Linda, hope you and your neighbors are using that duckweed to best advantage(s). Wish we lived closer, but right now, I have plentiful production myself. Thanks for reading and happy duckweed harvesting!


  15. Joanie permalink
    October 8, 2012 1:01 pm



    • October 9, 2012 10:49 pm

      If you’ve got fish, then you are in luck as far as nutrients go as the duckweed utilizes fish waste. Keep an aquarium light lite up for 8-12 hrs a day or more. Thanks for reading!


  16. Hazel M permalink
    September 14, 2012 1:47 am

    its all very well growing it yourself in a garden pond – but please, please be very carefull not to spread it into the wild! its highly invasive and chokes out native plants. Its a persistent and expensive problem here in the UK


    • September 14, 2012 7:19 am

      Hazel, you are absolutely right. Duckweed’s very nature of being the fastest-growing protein-packed vascular plant in the world doesn’t mean it should be introduced into natural waterways. Far from it. I advocate man-made ponds dedicated to just duckweed with provisions for overflow control. However, if it IS a massive problem in your UK canals, I hate to say it but it isn’t the duckweed that is the problem, it’s the human element that is causing the excess nutrient leaching. I know you can only do so much about that, given your situation. A clear surfaced canal doesn’t mean a healthy water body. Nature is trying to balance an excess of nutrients with duckweed. If killed off or allowed to overpopulate and die, it sinks to the bottom and the excess nutrients just go through the cycle again. Perhaps we can discuss a program of seeing duckweed as a positive and encourage canal residents and neighbors to see duckweed as a free fertilizer/compost for their garden. Win/win.


      • June 14, 2013 12:42 am

        Ace reply! Thank you! We have tons of it here in Japan, it pops up like, weed! Hence we also have the prettiest carp fish you can imagine in just about any body of water over 10 gallons…!


        • June 14, 2013 9:41 pm

          Would love a picture of carp eating duckweed in the wild. Thanks for following. Hope you can find uses for it in your everyday life.


      • Anonymous permalink
        July 8, 2013 5:48 pm

        should be harvested and used for compost


        • July 8, 2013 7:52 pm

          Yep, I agree. Have that down under “organic Gardening” above.


  17. September 13, 2012 10:49 pm

    Now you know why duckweed is like green gold in sustainability efforts.


  18. Clifton Santiago permalink
    September 13, 2012 12:02 pm

    You could feed thousands with the amount of duckweed in Regent’s Canal!


    • November 21, 2012 9:35 am

      Clifton, duckweed is so easy to harvest, local farmers could do just that. Just be sure that the runoff into the Canal is not from an industrial use. Then I’d check the biomass first for heavy metal contaminants, etc… Municipal waste is usually perfectly fine for duckweed use and then on to ducks, hogs, chickens, etc…


  19. Emma permalink
    April 16, 2012 7:38 am

    Hi, thank you so much for all the useful information! I’v been looking for information about this amazing plant, and here i certainly found some!
    I live in Finland and so far have spotted no natural Wolffinia in here. Nevertheles i collected some on my trip to Italy. now i’m growing a tiny collection of it on my window board.I would be really interested in growing it as human food for my family. The question is can i use it just like that as an addition to salad, smoothie etc. is there any danger in eating self grown Wolffia arrhiza just like that? I tasted it and the taste was surprisingly neutral.


    • April 22, 2012 1:45 pm

      Emma, thanks for your interest in duckweed for human consumption. This is a relatively unexplored application in the US. I have been in contact with leader researchers around the world and are designing a growing method. The challenge is growing it in a relatively germ-free environment to assure a clean, safe product. According to Dr. Lewis Landesman, people in Thailand and Burma eat it or have in the past, calling it “water eggs.” There are recipes on the Net for using it as a salad with onions, lemon juice and oil, salt and pepper. I’ve seen it incorporated into muffins and quick breads. I hesitate to advise eating it raw due to possible issues with E. coli, etc. Will keep you posted on this.


  20. March 9, 2012 3:27 pm

    Thanks! If you come up with any more, please let me know and I’ll add them to the list and give you credit.


  21. yassin permalink
    March 9, 2012 3:21 pm

    Thank you for all the info tamra 🙂



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