Depending on the species (there are about 45 different ones), location and care, the Wasserdost is between 30 and 200 cm high with white to dark purple flowers and smooth or toothed opposite leaves. The plants are decorative, relatively easy to care for, they like moist soil and half-shady places. Only a few species are used as ornamental plants. The Wasserdost is known everywhere in Germany under the names Wasserhanf and Kunigundenkraut, Hirschklee, Blauwetterkuel and Lammerschwanz. The Latin name Eupatorium cannabinum indicates a relationship to the cannabis plant, but this is not the case. The different species that are used as ornamental plants all have healing properties as well. They are not necessarily native to Europe: only the common daphne is found here. The purple daisy (purple water daisy) comes from North America, which flowers in strong shades of the red spectrum and exudes a light apple scent as a perennial. In terms of care and location, it is just as undemanding as the common water daffodil.

The site

Wasserdost feels comfortable in moist soil. Accordingly, it should be planted in the garden where sufficient water is available: it is ideally located at the edge of streams, can limit the garden pond or nicely accentuate a damp corner in the garden. The soil should be loamy and the plants need shade or at least partial shade. Tall trees in the background are ideal, and various shrubs that like it moist are also happy to keep the water daffodil company.

The plants can also be settled in the tub, but then they need fertilization. In the natural habitat, the soils are rich and fertile – clay and water provide a constant supply of nutrients. If you keep the plants in the container, you should imitate this – with weekly doses of diluted fertilizer this works quite well. The pot should be in partial shade: the water daffodil feels at home near the wall of the house, on appropriate fences or near taller plants and small groups of trees. The plants don’t get blazing sun, but a dark location shouldn’t be chosen either. Since the Wasserdost is native to Germany, the plants can remain outdoors all year round. They do not need to be brought indoors to overwinter. The plants can withstand temperatures down to -20°C.

Incidentally, you can easily mix the optimal soil for the Wasserdost yourself: you need loamy garden soil and fine-grained sand. They are mixed in equal parts. You can use this mixture both in the tub and in the natural environment. If the Wasserdost is to sit in the ground, dig out a correspondingly large hollow, line it with the mixture of loam and sand and plant the Wasserdost in there. Make sure that the plants in the immediate vicinity can also handle this soil mixture! Tansy, for example, feels at home next to water daffodil in nature.

The care

Waterdrop is quite frugal when it sits in the ground. In moist, loamy soil, fertilizing is rarely or not at all necessary, because the water and loam ensure that the plant has everything it needs. Only in the tub should be fertilized regularly, with diluted fertilizers. In this way, over-fertilization can be avoided while at the same time ensuring the optimal supply of nutrients. A fertilizer for herbaceous plants, perennials and flowering plants is completely sufficient. The fertilizer is simply diluted with water.

Wasserdost does not need to be cut. The herbaceous plants can be cut back if they get too big. You should prune it a little in spring or autumn and use the plant as cut flowers in the vase. Of course, they can also be divided for propagation. The right time to cut flowers for the vase is easy to determine: the flowers should already be slightly open when you cut the flower stalks.

In spring or autumn the water daffodil should be cut back a little so that it grows better. In the further course of the year this is not necessary, even if the plants should grow quite tall. Usually they don’t snap. However, if the weather is very bad, strong winds combine with heavy rain or hail is forecast, the individual stems should be tied together. So they cannot twist their ankles, but are reasonably protected and hold each other.

There is nothing to worry about when it comes to pests, as water elm is resilient and nothing can throw it off course so easily:

  • Snails like water hazel, but the water hazel is tolerant.
  • Wasserdost magically attracts bees and various butterflies. The insects pollinate the plants, but also lay their eggs on them.
  • Bees, butterflies and hymenoptera attract other animals (robbers) that may use the water drop stock as a hunting ground, but do not harm the plants.

divide and multiply

You can, of course, buy water drop as a plant and simply use it, but you can also propagate and sow it yourself. If you plant water lavender, please make sure there is sufficient distance between the plants. That should be at least half a growth width, a little more is not bad. As a rule of thumb, a distance of about 80 to 100 cm applies to fully grown plants.

The germination temperature of the seeds is 18° C or slightly above. Keep the seeds evenly moist and cover them – the water canister will germinate in two to four weeks. The small seedling can then be planted in soil. When he’s a bit bigger and less likely to be eaten by wildlife, he can migrate outside. The seedlings should be at least half a growth width apart. This way the plants don’t get in each other’s way. Depending on the planning, you may have to move the water box again after a short growth phase in order to achieve the ideal distance of 80 to 100 cm.

The seeds of the water daffodil fall out in autumn. If you do not want to have any other wild plants in the garden, you can carefully cut off the flower stalks with the ripe seeds and dry them indoors. This makes sense in that the plant’s seeds have a pappus, i.e. a ring of fine hairs, which allows them to fly easily in the wind – this means that the incredibly easy-to-care-for water lavender can settle in parts of the garden where it is absolutely undesirable .

You don’t have to grow waterdrops in the grow box indoors. The plants multiply quite happily by themselves, because in autumn there are really numerous seeds that need the winter cooling phase and then germinate in spring to early summer.


Wasserdost is native here, which means that the plants in the field survive the winter very well without human help. Temperatures down to – 20° C do not bother them, the absolute minimum is – 25° C. Accordingly, you do not have to worry about the Wasserdost outdoors, nothing will happen to it.

Things are a bit different in pots: the plants need enough soil around the root ball. Since water elms are at home in moist soil, the tub will otherwise easily freeze and the roots can be damaged. If the plant pots have a very high volume and are not too damp before the first frost, the water drop and pot will survive the winter. Smaller pots should possibly be stored in a garage or basement, on the frost-protected veranda or in the hallway. A light layer of cushioning material such as fleece, jute bags or the like also helps. Or you plant the Wasserdost outdoors in autumn and transfer it back to the bucket in spring – that’s also possible. Make sure the roots stay intact.

Wasserdost is an easy-care plant that feels at home in damp gardens and ensures a species-rich fauna. Bees and various butterflies feel comfortable with Wasserdost, pollinate the plants and sometimes use them to lay their eggs. This attracts birds and other small hunters, which increases biodiversity. The flowers of the plant range between white, bright red and purple, depending on the species. Only the water daffodil is native to Europe. The flowers look lovely in a vase and will keep for a few days, but should be checked for insects before cutting.

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