Types of Aquatic Plants for Home and Gardens

 

Types of Aquatic Plants for Home and

Gardens

 

There are various types of plants that can be planted in home garden ponds to provide a wide variety of habitat for plants and animals. Aquatic plants can not only provide aesthetic value to your pond but can also provide shelter for young fish and insects. Here are a few of the types we commonly find in garden ponds:

Submerged plants (oxygenators or pondweeds)

These are the first plants that should be put into a newly completed pond for two reasons. First, they start putting oxygen into the water and grow rapidly during the growing season; and they have secondary forms of pond life in them.Such as water fleas and daphnia which, as long as there is no competition, rapidly reproduce, creating a richer environment that encourages other forms of beneficial pond life. It is worth visiting your local pond shop to see what oxygenators they have available, but take care that they are native to your environment, as some imported plants can grow rampantly and are unable to provide food or shelter for native forms of pond life. Weigh down oxygenators with small metal collars (which can be obtained from aquatic supply shops) so that they take root at the bottom of the pond. Excessive amounts of pondweed should be thinned out during the summer months, by hand or using a plastic rake. Using pond liners that are impermeable deter submerged plants.

Floating plants

These obtain their nutrients from fine root hairs that they suspend in the water. It is important that floating plants are not allowed to cover too much of the surface of the pond, as they can stifle the submerged plants that depend on light filtering down through the water. If they become over-vigorous, they can be raked out. Some plants are liable to frost damage and should be brought indoors during periods of extreme cold.

Floating·leaf plants

One of the most popular floating-leaf plants in water lilies with round or oval leaves, which are suitable for any depth of water up to 68 in. deep. There is a wide range available with a variety of leaf sizes, and if you live in a tropical region, a more exotic range is available. Floating-leaf plants should be grown in pots placed upright on the bottom of the pond at levels to suit. Remove excess and dying leaves, cutting the stems as low as practical in the water. Lilies need to be thinned and divided after some years. Lift the plants in their baskets to the side of the pond and, using pruning shears, cut the corms into two sections, making sure that both halves have roots, flower heads, and leaves. Cut back long or damaged roots and replant in clay or aquatic soil in perforated pots with the corm just showing above the soil, and cover with gravel to hold the earth in place.

Shallow·water and bog plants

Planted on planting shelves, bog areas or in containers at the edge of a pond, perennial shallow-water plants grow up quickly in the spring and die down in the autumn. Some forms of plants, such as rushes and grasses, which remain standing in the winter, will provide color and form during the winter months. They should be divided in the autumn after two or three years. Some plants require different care and conditions so read the labels carefully and plant accordingly. Some preformed pond liners have shelves made to accommodate plants such as these.

Marginal aquatic plants

These may be much larger than the shallow-water and bog plants that grow at the water’s edge. During the winter months, they offer contrasting scale, color, and form, and may produce reflections of the water. It must be remembered that, although they are next to the pond, they are outside the wet area and unable to take water from the pond so that they may require additional watering during the early years while they establish themselves and develop. Be aware that while some plants might be called marginal plants – like some species of bamboo they are so fast growing that the sharp roots can damage a flexible pond lining. Home garden ponds are not well suited to these plants.

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