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The winter hardy water is ideal for pond or marginal plants and a nice color addition to colorful autumn leaves. The over 40 known species belong to the daisy family (Asteraceae). Most of them - and most interestingly from the horticultural point of view - are perennials, meaning they are perennial and do not lignify. Towards winter, they die above ground and drift again in the spring.
The species of water dost come from Africa, Asia, North and South America, but some of them are also native to Europe. It grows freely on damp forest edges or near water bodies, because it loves moist soil with a high nutrient content.

Appearance and growth

The growth height of the water can vary widely and, depending on the species, between 80 centimeters (Eupatorium album) and 300 centimeters (Eupatorium fistulosum, large photo above) amount. However, most species reach a height of 150 to 200 centimeters. They grow upright to slightly overhanging and harsh. In terms of color, the flowers vary from pale pink as in the Common Watercress (Eupatorium cannabinum) to the rich purple of the Spotted Water Soup (Eupatorium maculatum). Also, shades of light violet, for example, the Hohlstängliger Wasserdost (Eupatorium fistulosum, also known as purple dost), to the strong blue of the Waxed Water Dost (Eupatorium perfoliatum) are possible. The Great Water Springs (Eupatorium fistulosum 'Album') has white flowers.
The single flowers form small tubular flower baskets, sometimes more than 50 copies. The flower baskets in turn are in paniculate Trugdolden together.
The foliage is slightly different depending on the species, but reminds of the typical appearance of hemp plants. The leaves are thus arranged like a finger and inexactly opposite. They are three to five parts and have short stems.

Location and ground

Most types of water do prefer moist, nutrient-rich and well-drained soils with high humus content. They prefer to grow in partial shade, but can also stand in the sun with good water supply.

Water at the pond edge

Water at the pond edge


The colors of perennial borders change from rich green to all variations of yellow and red in autumn. Watery soil can be specifically used as a strong color contrast here. Particularly beautiful is the combination of, for example, speckled purple-purple watercress (Eupatorium purpureum subsp. Maculatum) and the meadow button (Sanguisorba tenuifolia 'Alba'), in which dark speckled stems and rich purple to purple flower baskets strike tender white hanging flower spikes. The Purpurdost also harmonizes very well with the yellow flowers of the Great Telekie (Telekia speciosa) or a tall girl's eye (Coreopsis tripteris). Another species of water-eaten that likes to be planted in the ornamental garden is the purple giant water-sprat (Eupatorium dubium). Not quite as high species as the Blue Water-Eat (Eupatorium coelestinum) or the Brown-leaved Water-Eat (Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate') provide a colorful appearance in smaller town or terraced gardens.
The larger species of water dost with a stature height of over 200 centimeters need a lot of space to unfold. The Great Garden Watercress (Eupatorium fistulosum 'Atropurpureum') or some species of Purple Water Springs are great for privacy. The Purple Water Sprat (Eupatorium purpureum 'Gateway') impresses as well as the variety 'Purple Bush' with its particularly intense coloring.
You can also cultivate water in the pot or pot, provided that a good water supply is ensured. In the pot, however, the perennials are usually much smaller and are not as floriferous as in the perennial flowerbed.

Admiral on water-bloom

Admiral on Water-dew Blossom (Eupatorium cannabinum)

All kinds of water-dost attract beneficial insects and above all numerous butterflies with their flowers. They lure them into the gardens and thus provide additional lively color accents.

Water diet as a medicinal plant

Water contains the bitter substances Eupatoriopikrin, Euparin, Lactucerol and essential oil, tannins and saponins. He is considered a tried and tested medicinal plant and is still used today in medicines for cold and fever.

Planting and care

It is preferable to plant the water-dew, like most shrubs, in the spring. Because of its stately dimensions, it is usually placed in the perennial plant bed in the background, either in individual position or as a small group of two to three plants. Very light, sandy soils should be enriched with mature compost or leafy humus to optimize their water retention capacity.
The robust water needs a lot of water in hot summers.Because it prefers to grow in humid and not too sunny locations, it must be sufficiently poured in heat so as not to wither. A regular division for the rejuvenation of the perennials is recommended at least on nutrient-poor sites every few years. As a rule, the various types of water-dusts are naturally very long-lived.

To cut

In late autumn or early spring, the dead stems are cut to ground level to make room for the new shoot. Our tip: Because the pretty umbels are very decorative even in the winter with hoarfrost or snow, it is worth waiting until the spring with the pruning. Around mid-May, the size of the perennials can be reduced or maintained by pruning to about 40 centimeters. In addition, this achieves that the plant flowers on much shorter sprouts. The flower baskets are smaller and can be used as cut flowers. If you cut the water back as soon as buds form, the plant produces more strong, dark leaves.


The water diet can be multiplied well by division. The best time for this is the early spring before the shootout. You can simply use a sharp spade to prick pieces from the eyrie and replant them elsewhere. Late cuttings root themselves, but do not form adventive buds and run in the winter danger of dying, if they are not cultivated warm. If an increase is not desired, the withered flowers should be plastered, as they contain the seeds.

Diseases and pests

Basically, the water is a very robust plant. However, it can occasionally be attacked by white flies or aphids. At unfavorable, tends to dry locations, the perennial is also somewhat susceptible to powdery mildew. He is not avoided by snails, but he usually grows so fast after the shoot, that the voracious mollusks are not a serious threat.

Video Board: Wasserdost Tinktur: Immunsystem stärken.

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