Choosing The Right Floating Pond Plant For Your Water Garden

Adding a floating pond plant to your water garden is a great way to enhance your pond. Simply place the plant on the surface and let its roots trail in the water.

Introducing floating plants to your backyard pond will help reduce algae by providing shade and using nutrients that algae love. The roots of these plants can also be used as spawning sites for your fish, as well as providing cover from predators.

Floating aquatic plants can be as attractive as they are functional. They can, however, spread quite rapidly, so be careful before introducing to larger ponds or lakes where they may be difficult to control.

Most floating pond plants are frost sensitive, so if you live in an area that is prone to freezing, you may have to purchase new plants each year. In areas that only experience mild frost your floating plants may survive the winter with some frost damage.

Here are a few floating pond plant varieties to choose from...

Water Hyacinth - eichornia spp. These plants have shiny green leaves and send up lovely lilac colored flower spikes in warm weather. The bases of the leaves are swollen and provide buoyancy for the plant.

Water hyacinths are frost sensitive, so you may loose them over winter. Just replace them each spring and you will have a lovely addition to your water garden.

This is my personal favorite aquatic pond plant. It is also a favorite of my dog, Rosie, who always did a remarkable job of clearing them from my pond.

Duckweed - lemna spp. Duckweed is a very rapid propagator with tiny green leaves. Because it spreads so rapidly, most varieties are best avoided. If you have nutrient rich water, it can turn into a real pest.

One variety that isn't too invasive is L. trisulca. This variety has small leaves, of a translucent green that hang just below the water's surface. Some larger fish will eat the leaves of this plant.

If you want to avoid duckweed, be sure to inspect other pond plants you purchase before you introduce them. Duckweed can sneak into your pond, hidden among the leaves and roots of other water garden plants.

Water Lettuce - pistia stratiotes Water lettuce has light green leaves that are slightly spongy with a velvety surface. This is a frost sensitive plant and may not do well in some northern climates. In temperate climates, however, it can become invasive and is even prohibited in some southern U.S. states.

Fairy Moss, Water Fern - azolla spp. This is a beautiful floating plant that carpets the water surface. It has green fronds that turn a pinkish color in winter. Frost will knock it back, but this is another rapid spreader, so be careful before introducing to a large pond.

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