AQUATIC PLANTS FOR YOUR POND
Pond season is upon us! Those of us with ponds understand the important role plants play in order to complete the look of the pond. Not only are they visually attractive but many plants play a vital role in balancing the pond and improving water quality.
Plants fall into many different categories: Submerged plants, floating plants, water lilies and marginals.
Submerged plants are the workhorses for the pond, their roots can be anchored in soil, gravel or float freely but the plant grows entirely under water. Many of the submerged plants are oxygenators and filter unwanted nutrients. This means less food for the algae! Hornwort grows in a fluffy mat under the surface. This plant makes an excellent spawning ground and provides cover for baby fish and aquatic insects.
Floating plants are very simple and visually pleasing to the eye. No soil or pots are needed as they sit on the surface of the pond and filter the water providing shade and cover for the fish. The floating plants are important when trying to thwart the herons, kingfishers and ospreys who are of the mind that the pond is their personal fishing ground.
Water hyacinth is a pretty green plant with spongy foliage. It is so skilled in water filtration it is used in sewage treatment! A warm water plant, water hyacinth is treated as an annual.
Water lilies are the hands-down star of the pond! The flowers are open during the day and usually last three days. Some will even change colour over the course of the three-day period. The leaves come in green, purple/green variegated and they assist with pond cover.
Lastly, are the marginal plants of which the list is quite extensive. A favourite is the statuesque and eye catching cyperus. A couple of varieties are available from the tall cyperus papyrus “king tut” at 72” tall to the petite “isoclardris” at 18” tall. Both are tender and after spending the summer in the pond can be brought into the house for further enjoyment until the beginning of the next pond season.
Ponds really do add a unique element to any landscape and they are quite fascinating in the ecosystem they create. Lovely to sit and enjoy or simply admire for their capabilities.