If you are a nature lover, then you probably love living closer to the ground, with a huge garden and a pond. Make this pond more attractive with floating pond plants!
What Are Floating Pond Plants?
Floating pond plants are quite unusual – their roots are not fixed into the soil! Instead, they are hanging through the water body, while the rest of the plant, the leaves, flowers, etc., are floating on the water surface.
These plants absorb all the nutrients they require from water. They also serve as food to endemic wildlife like duckweed. The most well-known floating pond plants are the water hyacinth and the water lettuce. You may also like to see how to build fish pond and pond filter.
Floating plants give the garden an untamed look, meaning, they make the surrounding look naturally grown. Here are the top ten floating pond plants and why they are an excellent addition to your garden.
Top Ten Floating Plants
Water Lilies – Nymphaeaceae
Lilies come in various colors, but the most aesthetic ones are the blue lilies. They have large leaves and the flower stands out on the water surface.
The national flower of Sri Lanka, they are well known for their ability to cure indigestion. Their leaves, once dried up, are also used as animal forage. The flowers come in many colors and will brighten your garden.
Carolina Fairy Moss – Azollacaroliniana
A freshwater aquatic fern native to North America, the fairy moss has been used as a pond plant for years. It has bright green leaves that turn red when the water falls to lower temperatures. It is rich in nitrogen and is often used as fertilizer.
It thrives under the full scorch of the sun’s heat to a partial shade in the sky. Its fronds are less than an inch; however, the fairy moss will spread across the water surface quite quickly.
Water Hyacinth – Eichhorniacrassipes
One of the most widely used floating pond plants, the water hyacinth, native to the Amazon basin, floats due to air filled stems. They have waxy green leaves and the stem grows up to six inches with light purple flowers. Fish often use the suspended roots of the water hyacinth as a spawning area.
The water hyacinth is grown for its ability to absorb excess nutrients than can turn poisonous for the aquatic animals and plants. They grow under the full sun to around 3 feet in height.
Parrot’s Feather – Myriophyllumaquaticum
Parrot’s feather is very versatile: it grows on the water surface, planted in soil and sometimes even out of the soil. Its stems can reach the height of five feet. It makes the water appear green and beaming with life. It can grow under the full sun to a partial shade.
Water Velvet – Salvinia minima
Also known as the water fern, this floating pond plant has two conjoined bright oval leaves with bristly hair. Like the fairy moss, the water velvet is adept at fixing nitrogen and can provide nutrients to the surrounding plants.
The water velvet best grows in calm water under a full sun. Leaves grow for less than half an inch. With this water plant, make your pond look like it’s filled with vegetation.
The Cattails is a sun loving plant which generally grows in marshy areas, though you can plant them in your backyard. They generally grow at the edges of ponds and can be used to soften the edges.
They are great for campers and backpackers as they are edible, can be used for bedding, insulation, etc. The plants give the appearance of a lively wilderness.
Black Magic Elephant Ear – Colocasiaesculenta
What do you think of a shock of black amidst all the green? This beauty with its tall stems and rich reddish brown color adds an aura of mysticism and beauty.
Water Forget-Me-Not – Myosotis scorpioides
This plant has small bright flowers with low stems and tender foliage. It is a perennial plant; so your water garden will always have its color!
Rain Lily –Zephyranthes
This dainty delicate looking plant is a must have for every garden lover! With spikey foliage and colorful flowers, it is absolutely gorgeous when it blooms. It is cultivated in the Northern Hemisphere and is widely used as an ornamental.
Water Lettuce – Pistia
No floating water plants list is complete without the water lettuce. With yellowish-green rosettes of leaves, this plant is super easy to grow.
It is very healthy for your other plants as it competes with algae for nutrients and prevents their growth. Just float a few leaves in your pond and the water lettuce automatically grows its roots.
How To Use Floating Plants
Just choosing a few among the top ten plants is not sufficient. You will have to select ones that can grow well based on where you live and on the water feature.
If you have a small pond which is just a couple of feet deep, then choosing plants with very large roots is not an option. You can grow the water hyacinth. Make sure your pond doesn’t empty into a stream as the water hyacinth is highly invasive.
If you are taking plants from a local source, you will have to quarantine them overnight in a concentrated solution of potassium permanganate to kill any parasites. Alternatively, you can obtain floating water plants from your local nursery.
Make sure that maintain your pond. Though ponds that empty out into the sea don’t require much maintenance, you will still have to keep a regular track of how your plants are growing. If you have a small pond, it might require draining, cleaning and refilling once a year.
Also pay heed to the fish that grow in your pond. Some plants can be poisonous for aquatic creatures and vice versa. For a healthy pond, there should be a proper blend of flora and fauna. If you are confused about how to select floating pond plants, you can check with your local extension service.
There, that’s about all you need to know on growing a beautiful water garden with the top floating plants!