Water Garden Plantswater garden plants
When choosing aquatic plants for your water garden, there are three main categories that you can choose from: submerged, marginal (also called bog) and floating plants. Let’s look a little more closely at what each category entails.
Submerging into the depths
Submerged plants are underwater plants that grow when they are fully immersed. They receive their nutrients from the water through their leaves, rather than through roots. Submerged plants play an important role in water gardening because they help oxygenate the water, keep algae levels down, provide fish with food, and promote clear water.
To maintain a healthy balance in your water garden, stock it with one bunch of submerged plants per square foot of water surface. There are many varieties to choose from. Here are some of the most popular:
- Water Milfoil: is a common tropical aquarium plant and thrives in many different conditions. It should be planted in the spring by being weighted and dropped into the water. In the summer months, it may rise to the surface and produce flowers.
- Anacharis: is another submerged plant that grows well. Since soil is not necessary for its survival, it can be weighted and dropped into the pond. Anacharis may produce roots to anchor itself. Its branchlets often break off from the parent plant to form new plants. Other common submerged plants include Cabomba, Dwarf Sagittaria, Vallisneria, Water Starwort, and Pond Weed.
On the Fringe
Marginal plants or bog plants vary widely in size, texture, and form. They are most often used to accent a water garden with seasonal flower color. On the edge of the water garden, they can be used to hide liners or power cords. When planted in the middle of the garden, they can provide bursts of color and texture, making your pond pleasing to the eye.
The number of marginal plants your garden will need varies depending on size. Here are a few of the most popular types:
- Lotus: are hardy, deep water plants which come in several sizes and are a staple in many water gardens. They can be grown in large tubs which hold up to 30 gallons. Place the banana-shaped rhizomes in the tub and cover with 1 inch of soil or gravel. Initially, lotus can be placed 4 inches below the water surface.
- Cattails: are another popular marginal plant, which can grow in full sun or partial shade. They can be planted 1 to 4 inches deep in a container which sits just below the water line. Common cattails can grow very tall (up to 9 feet), so you may want to consider choosing a dwarf variety.
Other popular bog plants include: Japanese and Water Iris, Papyrus, Arrowhead, Floating Heart, Bamboo, Bog Lily, and Water Clover.
Free-floating leaf plants add the finishing touch on your water garden. Not only do they move around the pond, changing its appearance, but they also aide the submerged plants by adding shadows. There are a number of floating plants which produce colorful blooms that appear at the water’s surface. The most popular are lilies.
- Water lilies: are divided into two types: tropical and hardy. They should cover between 50 and 75 percent of the pond’s surface area, limiting the amount of light that reaches the bottom of the pond which causes algae growth. The crown of tropical lilies can be placed in a deep pot and covered with 1 inch of soil or gravel. Lilies produce brilliant blooms in the summer months. Some are night bloomers.
Other floating plants include Water Hyacinth, Duckweed, Water Lettuce, and Water Poppy.
Water Gardens that Inspire