Why do we want aquatic plants?
Aquatic plants offer two makor benefits to any water feature. First and foremost they are attractive looking plants that complete the landscape. They soften or naturalize the areas in and around the water garden. Secondly the plants offer much needed filtration for the ecosystem. The roots of these water plants compete for nutrients with algae. This means, if you have many plants essentially stealing the nutrients from algae, then the algae will not bloom. Your plants will bloom instead. Most problems with algae can be solved by adding plants to the pond. This is especially true in a high sun pond, you will need many more plants than in a pond that is not in direct sun.
Types of Aquatic Plants:
The two major classifications of aquatic plants are Hardy & Tropical. The tropical versions are referred to as either Night Bloomers or Day Time Bloomers due to the time of day they bloom. Distinguishing the lilies is done by identifying the type of lead or pad that floats on the water surface. Hardy lily pads are smooth while the tropicals are jagged. For the ecosystem, this plant offers shade to the water, keeping the summer time temperatures in check for both fish health and a balanced water quality.
If Koi are the gem fish of the water garden, then unquestionably the Lotus is the gem of aquatic plants. Lotus are planted in the deepr water and sprout high above the water. They bloom a gorgeous flower that can later be used for indoor dry flower arrangements. A distinguishing feature of this plants is that it repels rain water, rather than absorbing it.
There are generally two varieties in this area, Water Lettuce and Water Hyacinth. They both simply float on the water surface never rooted in soil. The dangling roots are continually absorbing the nutrients floating in the ecosystem keeping the water quality in check. Placing the Hyacinth in the BioFalls Filtration maximizes the benefit of the plants with all the passing water for it to filter. In Mid July always check for water flow restriction due to the rapid growth of this plant and the strain it can put on the system. They are also very effective in streams, simply place a piece of gravel on the roots to hold it in place if a corner is not available.
These plants are great in providing a spawning area for the fish as well as a hiding area for predators. As the season progresses, they grow and help moderate the temperature of the water. They can double plus in size in a season. Simply drop them (is. Hornwort or Anacharis) in the pond and they will take care of themselves.
These plants run the gamut of types and planting depths, but note they generally should not be planted any lower than the top shelves of the water garden (remember, marginal means a marginal amount of water). Most are hardy and should be cut back to just below the ice line in late fall. Some of the common types found in this area are: Sweet Flag, Rushes, Papyrus, Irises, Forget-Me-Not, and Cattails.
Water Plants you should have based on pond size
Kit Size Sq Ft Water Lilies Marginal Plants Oxygenators Floating Plants
4 x 6 24 1 5 8 2
6 x 8 48 1 7 16 3
6 x 11 66 1 7 22 5
8 x 11 88 1 9 29 6
11 x 11 121 2 9 40 8
11 x 16 180 2 or 3 11 59 13
16 x 16 256 3 14 84 18
16 x 21 336 4 17 111 24
21 x 21 441 4 or 5 21 146 31
21 x 26 550 5 or 6 27 182 39
26 x 26 675 6 or 7 33 223 47
per Sq Ft 0.011 0.05 0.33 0.07