Archive for the ‘Water Plants’ Category

Sagittaria subulata

Common name: Dwarf Sagittaria, Needle Saggitaria, Floating Arrowhead

Synonym: Alisma subulatum; Sagittaria natans

Family: Alismataceae

Sagittaria subulata

Sagittaria subulata

Distribution and habitat: Sagittaria subulata is native from South America can grows to a height of 50cm (20 inch) when it grows older. In the aquarium it sometimes sends a long flower stem to the surface and small white flowers unfold just above the water surface. In its natural habitat grows in rivers; it is found in both freshwater and brackish water.

Description: Sagittaria subulata is a grass-like plant with leaves only 5mm (0.2 inch) wide. These are bright green, with acute or rounded tips. In shallow water, small floating elliptical or egg-shaped leaves are produced, followed by small white flowers. It is a fast-growing species, which displays productive multiplication through runners, which will form a dense, about 5-7cm (2-2.8 inch) thick cover within a few weeks.

Sagittaria Subulata species have long and narrow leaves when kept under water (Arrowhead shaped).

Care: Sagittaria subulata is an easy, undemanding fast growing plant. This plant can be grown in its emersed or submersed form. If grown emersed, its leaves are somewhat thicker than when grown immersed. At one point pruning must be done because the plant develops runners that are too close from each other and Sagittaria Subulata will have the tendency to climb to look for light and space.

Water: Water parameters are not really an issue as this plant seems to do great in any conditions, even quite hard, alkaline water conditions. Sagittaria subulata grows best in medium-hard to hard water with a pH-value within the moderately acid to alkaline range.

Light: Sagittaria subulata require moderate to strong light. Intense lighting will bring out reddish leaf apexes.

Temperature: Optimum growth temperature for Sagittaria subulata is 18 to 26°C (64 – 79°F), but it can withstand temps from a very low 15°C (59) to 29°C (84°F). Sagittaria subulata seems to be not sensitive to temperature change.

Fertiliser: Add fertilizer on a regular basis as important factor for this plant to thrive.

Substrate: Fine-graveled sand is best for these delicate plants.

Planting density: 4-5 plants for every 15cm (6 inch)

Propagation: They propagate by sending runners everywhere around the mother plant. With a good substrate (rich in Iron), added CO2 and a strong lighting, this plant will grow very quickly to cover the bottom of your tank.

Problems: The plant leaves will become yellowish if proper conditions are not met (especially if it lacks Iron).

Uses: Sagittaria subulata is used in aquariums as mid-ground or foreground plant. Planted as a standalone this aquarium plant can be striking.

Recommended varieties:
Sagittaria Subulata var. pusilla, the smallest Sagittaria subulata, growing up to 30cm (12 inch).
Sagittaria Subulata var kurziana which grows up to 50cm (20 inch).
Sagittaria Subulata var gracillima, the tallest Sagittaria subulata, reaching up to 60cm (24 inch).

Interesting facts: Sagittaria subulata is often confused for Vallisneria species.

Hardiness zone: 8-11

Sagittaria subulata flowers







Aquarium Plants, Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants, Water Plants , , ,

Ceratophyllum demersum

Common name: Hornwort, Rigid Hornwort, Coontail, Coon’s tail

Family: Ceratophyllaceae

Ceratophyllum demersum

Ceratophyllum demersum

Distribution and habitat: Ceratophyllum demersum is native to North America but nowadays having a cosmopolitan distribution in temperate and tropical regions. Ceratophyllum demersum is declared weed Australia and is classed as an unwanted organism in New Zealand.

Description: Ceratophyllum demersum is a submersed with no roots,  so is free-floating perennial plant. The stems reach lengths of 1–3m (3-10 feet), with numerous side shoots making a single specimen appear as a large, bushy mass. The leaves are produced in whorls of six to twelve, each leaf 8–40mm (0.3-1.6 inch) long, simple, or forked into two to eight thread-like segments edged with spiny teeth; they are stiff and brittle. It is monoecious, with separate male and female flowers produced on the same plant. The flowers are small, 2mm (0.08 inch) long, with eight or more greenish-brown petals; they are produced in the leaf axils. The fruit is a small nut 4–5mm (0.1-0.2 inch) long, usually with three spines, two basal and one apical, 1–12mm (up to 0.4 inch) long. It can form turions: buds that sink to the bottom of the water that stay there during the winter and form new plants in spring.

Care: Ceratophyllum dersum grows in still or very slow-moving water. Generally floats during the warm months if allowed, but may be potted and submerged. Sinks to the bottom of the pond during cold weather if allowed to float. Ceratophyllum demersum is fast growing plant.

Light: Ceratophyllum demersum’s light requirement is part shade.

Temperature: Ceratophyllum demersum grows in lakes, ponds and quiet streams with summer water temperatures of 15-30°C (59-86°C) and a rich nutrient status.

Propagation: Ceratophyllum demersum natural propagate through seed that sink to the bottom of the water and stay there during the winter, forming new plants in spring.  Also  Ceratophyllum demersum  can be propagated from plant fragments.

Uses: Ceratophyllum demersum is often used as a floating freshwater plant in both coldwater and tropical aquaria, being free-roots plant or it may be attached to the substrate or objects in the aquarium. Its fluffy, filamentous, bright-green green leaves provide an excellent spawning habitat for fishes.

Interesting facts: Ceratophyllum demersum has allelopathic qualities as it excretes substances that inhibit the growth of blue-green algae (phytoplankton and cyanobacteria).

Ceratophyllum demersum may be confused with non-weedy Ceratophyllum echinatum, which is more delicate, bright green, usually grows in deeper water, and has 3-5 lateral spines on the fruit. Also Ceratophyllum demersum is similar to other bushy submersed plants such as: Muskgrasses (Chara spp.) which are large algae and produce a skunk or garlic-like odor when crushed; waterweeds (Elodea spp.) which have whorls of broad flat leaves; and milfoils (Myriophyllum spp.) which have feather-like leaves.

Note: Ceratophyllum demersum is an invasive species. Its dense growth can out-compete native underwater vegetation, leading to loss of biodiversity.

Hardiness Zone 4-10

Ceratophyllum demersum inflorescence Ceratophyllum demersum fruit







Aquarium Plants, Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants, Water Plants , , , ,

Egeria densa

Common name: Large-flowered Waterweed, Brazilian Waterweed, Elodea, Anachris

Family: Hydrocharitaceae

Synonymus: Anacharis densa (Planch.) Vict., Elodea densa (Planch.) Casp

Egeria densa

Egeria densa

Distribution and habitat: Egeria densa is an ageless aquarium plant, a species of Egeria native to warm temperate South America in southeastern Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay and become naturalized and invasive in many warm temperate to subtropical regions of the world, including Europe, southern Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and North America.

Description: It is an aquatic plant growing in water up to 4m (13 feet) deep, with trailings stems to 2m (6 feet) or more long, producing roots at intervals along the stem. The leaves are produced in whorls of four to eight, 1–4cm (0.3-1.5 inch) long and 2–5mm (0.7-2 inch) broad, with an acute apex. It is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants; the flowers are 12–20mm (0.4-0.8 inch) diameter, with three broad, rounded, white petals, 8–10mm (0.3-0.4 inch) long on male plants, and 6–7mm (0.2 inch) long on female plants.

Houseplant care: Must be planted in full sun to avoid the lower leaves from rotting, submerged at the base of a waterfall where the water moves freely is ideal providing excellent filtration. It will not do well in still waters. It grows best in a nutrient rich, high light situation.

Egeria densa is an adaptable plant that can grow in both high light and low light conditions.  When grown in high light, Egeria densa stems will display a dark green and grow up to 0.5m (2 feet) long in a short matter of time.  It will appear very leaf due to the short distance between the internodes of the stem. In low light situations, the leaves and internodes along the stem will become more spaced out, the stem becomes thinner, and the plant will take on a dull green color.

Temperature: It grows well in the cooler aquarium and is very easy to grow.

Propagation: It is easily propagated through fragmenting the stem and side shoots. Plants in cultivation are all a male clone, reproducing vegetatively.

Uses: Egeria densa is a popular aquarium plant. Egeria densa is used to oxygenate the water and to absorb excess nutrients.

Egeria densa can be used in the background or midground areas of sparsely planted aquariums planted in bunches of 6-7 stems. It also does well floating.

Interesting facts:
It said that Egeria densa secretes anti-bacterial enzyme that can reduce blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).

It is often confused with similar looking species Hydrilla and Elodea Canadensis as per image bellow:



Egeria densa leaves are in whorls (leaf groups) of 4 to 5; Hydrilla leaves are in whorls of 4 to 8; and Elodea Canadensis forms whorls of 3.

Note: The rapid growing nature, couple with few predators and no diseases, has allowed Egeria densa to flourish in the wild unchecked.  Ponds, lakes and streams are in danger to become infected, large mats of Egeria densa that prosper block out the sun to the native vegetation, causing havoc on the local ecosystem and boaters. Take great care not to let this plant enter local waterways.

Hardiness zone:  5a-11

Egeria densa flower







Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants, Water Plants , , , ,

Isolepis cernua

Common Names: Fiber-optic grass, Fairy lights, Bullrush, Tufted Clubrush, Low Bulrush, Slender Club-Rush, Salt Marsh Bulrush, Savis Mud-Rush, Cat’s Whiskers

Family: Cyperaceae

Synonyms: Cyperus ambiguus, Cyperus pumilio
Eleogiton cernua
Fimbristylis pygmaea
Isolepis brachyphylla, Isolepis brevifolia, Isolepis brevis, Isolepis chaetodes, Isolepis chlorostachya, Isolepis chlorotica, Isolepis controversa, Isolepis erubescens, Isolepis furcata, Isolepis fuscata, Isolepis heterolepis, Isolepis heterophylla, Isolepis kochii, Isolepis lepida, Isolepis leptalea, Isolepis leptocaulis, Isolepis magellanica, Isolepis meyeniana, Isolepis microcarpa, Isolepis microstachys, Isolepis minaae, Isolepis modesta, Isolepis monostachya, Isolepis multicaulis, Isolepis nuda, Isolepis numidiana, Isolepis pholiodes, Isolepis prolifera, Isolepis pumila, Isolepis pumilo, Isolepis punctulata, Isolepis purpurascens, Isolepis pygmaea, Isolepis riparia, Isolepis rupestris, Isolepis saviana, Isolepis savii, Isolepis setosa, Isolepis sicula, Isolepis striatella, Isolepis subprolifer, Isolepis tenuipes, Isolepis tenuis, Isolepis trachycarpa, Isolepis trigyna
Schoenoplectus cernuus, Schoenoplectus savii, Schoenus nitens
Scirpus acicularis, Scirpus aphyllus, Scirpus arechavaletae, Scirpus brevis, Scirpus cernuus, Scirpus chaetodes, Scirpus chloroticus, Scirpus filiformis, Scirpus gracilis, Scirpus hookeri, Scirpus leptaleus, Scirpus microstachys, Scirpus minaae, Scirpus minimus, Scirpus modestus, Scirpus nudipes, Scirpus numidianus, Scirpus pictus, Scirpus pumilus, Scirpus pygmaeus, Scirpus riparius, Scirpus savii, Scirpus subprolifer, Scirpus subtilis, Scirpus terminalis

Isolepis cernua

Isolepis cernua

Distribution and habitat: Isolepis cernua is a species of flowering plant in the sedge family and it is widespread, being native to many regions of the world, including parts of Australasia, Eurasia, Africa, and North and South America. It occurs in fresh to brackish, seasonally waterlogged waterways including creek banks, swamps, floodways, seeps, clay pans and lake edges. It is found on most soil types.

Description: Isolepis cernua is a graceful, grass-like plant that produces dense tufts of tread-like, fresh green leaves arising directly from a creeping underground rootstock. The cylindrical leaves which reseamble stems, grow about 25cm (10 inch) long and each carries at its tip a white to cream coloured flower no bigger than a pin head.
Flowers can appear at any time. Although not particularly interesting in themselves, they provide an attractive contrast to the slim, green line of the leaves. New leaves stand erect at fist, but they begin to arch downward as they age. For this reason Isolepis cernua plants show to best advantage when they have been planted in hanging baskets.

Houseplant care: Isolepis cernua is as an evergreen perennial plant when is grown indoors.

Light: Place Isolepis cernua plants in medium light. Unlike most indoor plants, they thrive in a position at a south facing window or even at a window that is obstructed by a nearby construction.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable. These plants, however, will grow actively all year long in temperatures above 13°C (55°F). They can tolerate lower winter temperatures (down to about 7°C (45°F)) but should be given a rest if  indoor temperatures are likely to remain unusually low for more than two or three days.

Watering: During the active growth period (which may be continuous) water plentifully as often as necessary so as to keep the potting mixture thoroughly and constantly moist. Pots may even be permitted to stand in water. If Isolepis cernua plants are grown in hanging baskets, extra care have to be taken as the plants will dry very quickly; they may need a daily soaking in a bucket of water during the active growing period.
If temperatures fall below 12°C (54°F) at any time, it is important to encourage these plants to take a rest period by watering very sparingly, giving only enough to keep the potting mixture from drying out completely.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser to actively growing plants about once every four weeks.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move Isolepis cernua plants into slightly larger pots or hanging baskets whenever the tufted growths completely cover the surface of the mixture. Pots bigger than 13cm (5 inch) should not be necessary , since young plants are more attractive than old ones. Split up any clump that has reached the 13cm (5 inch) size pot and use the resulting pieces for propagation.

Gardening: Isolepis cernua is not really a grass, but a sedge which thrives with low maintenance and is very decorative. It is a tender perennial (zones 8-11) generally grown as an annual in cold climates, but it can be kept as a houseplant in a sunny window or greenhouse over the winter. Bring it indoors before freezing temperatures occur and set the pot in a shallow tray of water.

The fading flowers can be removed to maintain the look of the plant and limit its self-seeding. All wandering stems may be cut to control plant growth. Cut back yearly in spring for fresh new growth.

Position: Isolepis cernua thrives in shady position outdoor.

Soil: Any moderately fertile soil (clay, loamy, sandy) which is moisture retentive.
It can be planted on the water’s edge or in the shallows of ponds, positioned so that the water level is no more than 5cm (2 inch) above the soil.

Irrigation: Keep Isolepis cernua in consistently moist soil and keep it moist all year. Will tolerate be planted in water up to 10cm (4 inch).
If used this plant in a water garden, gradually increase the water level it sits in unless it is purchased from an aquatic plants display. This will allow the roots to become accustomed to being submerged.

Fertilisation: Isolepis cernua benefits from fertiliser during the growing season. Use a liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the active growing season.

Propagation: Propagate Isolepis cernua plants by dividing overcrowded clumps, preferably in the spring. Pull the clumps apart gently, making sure that each section retain at least 20 leaves. Plant the section either in 8cm (3 inch) pots or group three or four together in a single hanging basket and treat them immediately in exactly the same way as mature plants.

Isolepis cernua can also be propagated by seed. Sow seed in spring, barely covering the seeds. Keep the soil warm at around 21°C (70°F) and constantly moist.

Plants companions: In a water garden it combines well with Equisetum species (horsetails), Cyperus prolifer (dwarf papyrus) and Canna species (cannas) (but it best to keep each in separate pots).

Toxicity: Both the plant and seeds are poisonous if eaten. Keep it away from children and pets if there is any chance they may play with or ingest them. Handling this plant may cause skin irritation.

Uses and display: Growing in a clumping mound, Isolepis cernua spills over the sides of a container as it grows, making it ideal for a tall planter or even a hanging pot. Eye-catching on its own, this decorative grass also adds texture among a display of foliage and flowering plants. It can be used as ground cover, as waterside plant being a low maintenance plant for bog garden. It is great for pots, especially hanging baskets to highlight its fountain-like foliage.


Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – grassy

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 13°C (45-55°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 13°C max 24°C (55-75°F)
Humidity – high

Height: 22-30cm (9-12 inch)
Hardiness zone: 5a-9b
Evergreen Perennial in hardiness zone: 8-11

Isolepis cernuaIsolepis cernuaIsolepis cernuaIsolepis cernua -  flowers






Bog Plants, Foliage Plants, Ornamental Grasses & Sedges, Water Plants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Gardening with aquatics is similar to other forms of gardening in that you have to be aware of proper soil conditions, kinds of containers, proper planting techniques, fertility needs, and after planting care. What makes water gardening unique is that the plants you grow are growing in a water filled environment. Things like water depth, water temperature and proper plant selection  are the keys to success. The waterscape creates a pleasant appearance, but also helps create a balanced ecosystem to keep the pond healthy as well as beautiful.

Pond Position: Most water plants do well in direct sunlight. Consider also the exposure to winter wind and the depth of ice that accumulates over winter. When selecting plants, keep in mind the hardiness zone factor. Ponds have varying water movement, from no moving water to swift moving water. Plants need to be chosen that will thrive in the existing water conditions.

Plant Selection: There are five types of water plants that can be included in a pond to achieve perfect balance: Water lilies and lily-like aquatics, marginal plants, bog or moisture-loving plants, submerged or oxygenating plants and floating plants.

Water plants

Water plants

Rooted Floating Plants (Water Lilies and Lily-like Aquatics): These grow on the base of the pond and send up leaves and blooms to the surface. Depending on the variety, they may grow a couple of inches to a few feet below the surface of the water. They provide valuable leaf cover to help shade the water, which reduces algae growth. Fish love to hide under the leaves too. Lilies do not do well with strong water movement or splashing water. Most species need full sun 10 hours a day for best blooms. A pond should have approximately one lily for every 0.5 to one square metre (5-10 square feet) of pond surface. There are many different colors and styles of lilies.

Here is a list of species in each color:

‘Gladstone’ has a white blossom and a slight fragrance. Leaves are green with red-striped stems. Plants spread to cover an area from 1.2-2.4m (4 to 8 feet). This plant is best for large pools and should be grown in water 0.3-0.9m (1 to 3 feet) deep.

‘Charlene Strawn’ has a yellow, star-shaped blossom. It is very fragrant and is easy to propagate. The blossom opens in late morning and closes in mid-afternoon.

‘Fabiola’ has a pink blossom with slight fragrance. It has small green leaves and produces flowers very early and late in the season. It works well in small ponds because of compact size.

‘James Brydon‘ has a rosy red blossom. The leaves are bronze-purple to dark green. It blooms later in the season. It grows well in pools that are shaded.

‘Comanche’ opens as a peachy yellow and matures to a coppery orange. Young leaves are purplish, and mature leaves are green with maroon speckles. It works well in medium-sized to large pools.

Marginal Plants (Emergent Plants): These grow in the shallow margins around the edge of the pond. It is helpful if a shelf is incorporated in the pond design to support them. Marginal plants can be decorative, provide shelter from the wind, and offer a bit of shade. These plants do best in still to slow moving water.

Cattails are traditional aquatic plants. They have long narrow leaves and produce brown catkins. There are different species that grow from 0.9-2.1m (3 to 7 feet) tall. These can also be grown as bog plants.

Arrowhead produces white flowers with arrow-shaped leaves. It grows to about 0.6m (2 feet) tall.

Pickerel Rush produces spikes of purple, bluish or white flowers. It grows best in water 30cm (12 inches) deep and enjoys full sun or partial shade.

Bog Plants (Moisture-loving Plants): These grow in damp soil at the edge of ponds and prefer to have only the tips of their roots submerged. They also do best in still to slow moving water. Start with a mixture of marginal plants and bog plants inhabiting about 1/3 of the circumference of the pond.

Horsetails form upright clumps of green stems. They have no leaves, and the tips of the stems have brown cones.

Iris are available in several different varieties. Iris most suited to a bog or moist environment are Japanese (Iris ensata), Yellow Flag (Iris psuedocaorus), Siberian (Iris siberica), and Wild (Iris versicolor). They have slender upright leaves. The flower comes in a variety of colors (white, purple, red, etc.).

Submerged Plants (Oxygenating Plants): The roots of these plants are anchored in soil, but the leaves stay underwater. Their foliage is usually fern-like, lacy, or hairy. They play a vital role in maintaining the pond’s natural balance. These plants use waste nutrients and help purify the water. This, in turn, creates an environment that is unsuitable for algal growth. They also provide cover for microscopic forms of life. It is best to include one bunch (these plants are sold by the ‘bunch’ or handful) for every 0.2 square metres (two square feet) of pond surface. Fewer bunches may be adequate once the natural balance is obtained. Grow a variety of species since each species grows at a different time of year and has different water depth requirements.

Anacharis is a deep green plant with many delicate leaves. It will grow in water 15cm to 1.5m  (6 inches to 5 feet) deep.

Vallisneria has ribbon-like, pale green leaves. It grows in water 15-60cm (6 to 24 inches) deep.

Floating Plants (Free-floating Plants): These plants do not need soil or a base of any kind. As the name implies, they are simply suspended in the water. They provide decoration and shade and help reduce algal growth. One bunch is sufficient for every 0.9-1.4  square metres (10-15 square feet). These plants are vigorous growers and will need to be thinned periodically.

Water poppy is an example of a floating plant, but grows in zones 8 to 10. It can grow in zone 3 and 4 if you replace it each spring. It has yellow, 3-petalled flowers that rise above the floating foliage.

In addition to the plants listed above, there are many more suitable plants available for artificial ponds. Choose plants that are right for your situation. Use a mixture of plants that combine texture, fragrance and color. Maintain a balance between submerged and surface plants. No more than 70% of the surface should be covered. An example of a proper mix in an average sized pond 1.8m x 2.4 m and 0.6m deep (6 feet x 8 feet and 2 feet deep) would be: 3 water lilies, 3 surface plants of medium texture, 3 surface plants of fine texture, 16 marginal plants and 36 bunches of submerged plants.

Site Preparation: Place a small amount of water in the pond so the plants do not dry out. Have plants, containers, soil, sand and pea gravel ready.

Containers: plastic container with no holes is recommended 38-50cm in diameter and 25cm deep (15-20 inches in diameter and 10 inches deep) for lilies;  15-50cm (6-20 inch) are suitable for marginal plants; 15cm (6 inch) for submerged plants. The choice will be made based on the plant and the fact that larger containers produce larger plants and smaller containers tend to keep plants smaller in size.

Containers should be wider than deep because water plants have a shallow root system; it also keeps the container from tipping over. Plastic is the best material to use because it is lightweight. The containers should be dark colored because they are not as visible through the water. Handles are a convenient way to move the containers, though they are not necessary. It is best if the containers do not have holes in them (holes allow loose soil to disperse and will cloud the water). Many types of containers can be used: dish pans, buckets, clay pots or special containers from garden shops.

Soil: Heavy clay loam. Heavy clay garden soil is best for most water plants.
Water lilies, lotus, and other aquatic plants do best when they are planted in heavy clay loam soils similar to what you would have in a garden setting. These types of soils are generally well-balanced nutritionally and will support good growth. Do not use an amended soil mix for potting aquatic plants.

Fertiliser: You will need well balanced garden fertilizer: 12-12-12, 5-3-1, 7-12-5 and fertilizer tablets.
Do not use manure or over fertilize, which may lead to water eutrophication (excessive nutrients and decreased amounts of oxygen).

Also you will use sand and pea gravel in planting your water plants.

In order to conveniently adjust the water depth over the pots, bricks blocks or inverted pots can be used as props under the plants to position them.

Planting Different Types of Water Plants: The best time to move most water plants is during their growing season, from late spring until the end of summer. Containerized plants can be moved while dormant and placed in the pond. The best time to move submerged plants is spring or fall. Do not purchase the plants until you are ready to plant because you do not want them to dry out.

Water Lilies: Water Lilies-like plants are extremely dramatic and add fragrance when in flower.

The hardy lilies grow from rhizomes. They are best grown in soil-filled containers set in the pond. Lilies can be introduced to the pond from spring to early fall.

Mix a well-balanced garden fertilizer into the soil at the bottom of the container so it does not leach into the water, yet feeds the lily roots (about 1/2 cup of fertilizer for eight quarts of soil). Bury fertilizer tablets towards the bottom of the container. Fill the container half full of soil. Position the lily and gently add soil around the roots. For hardy water lilies, the rhizome should be placed so that the growing point is directed toward the center and at a slight angle. Be sure to leave the crown uncovered. Spread 1/4 – 1/2 inch layer of pea gravel over the top to hold soil in place (again, be sure the crown is just above soil and gravel line). Position the lily container on cinder blocks in the bottom of the pool. In most cases the crown should be 15-45cm (6-18 inches) below the water line. Check the needs of your particular lily to be sure.

Tropical water lilies are planted much like hardy water lilies with one exception; they are planted in the center of the pot. Lotus is also planted in the center of the pot. Lotus rhizomes should be handled very carefully though, as they are very brittle and subject to damage. Lotus rhizomes are best planted in large containers and should be covered with about 5-10cm (2-4 inch) of soil, keeping the growing tips above soil level.


Water Lilies

Bog and Marginal Plants: Bog and marginal plants are suitable for those not able to locate their water garden in sufficient sunlight to support good plant growth. Some bog plants can tolerate as little as three hours of sun and still provide interest to the water garden.

Similar planting techniques and care are given to Bog plants and Marginal plants.

Fill the container about half full of soil. Place the roots of the plant in the soil and continue to fill. Be sure not to plant it too deep. You may want to place 3 plants in one container for a more full look. Keep different species in separate containers, because one species may overwhelm another species. Add one fertilizer tablet. Place the container at the edge of pond or on bricks in the pond. The container rims should be 5-10cm (2-4 inches) below the water line.

Submerged or Oxygenating Plants: These plants help combat algae by consuming excess nutrients while at the same time providing cover for fish and producing oxygen during daylight hours. Roots of these plants are not used for nutrient or water uptake, but only for anchorage.

These plants require a lot less soil than the bog plants and lilies. The soil will have a high proportion of sand and gravel. These plants do not require fertilization because they get their nutrients from the dissolved minerals in the pond water. It is good to plant these in containers because they may grow rapidly and become invasive if planted on the pond bottom.

Plant about five or six bunches (with 6 stems/bunch) in a five-quart pail. Place containers in the pool so leaves are submerged to a depth of 15-40cm (6 to 16 inches).

Floating Plants: Floaters enhance the display of water lilies and lotus as well as adding a finishing touch to the water garden. They are the “ground covers” of the pond world. They may be restricted by a framework to prevent them from moving around or allowed to float freely with the breeze. This produces an ever-changing look to the water surface.

No soil or containers are needed for these plants. The roots hang in the water while the leaves stay above the water.

Throw a bunch on the water surface and they care for themselves.

Care After Planting: Your pond may look bare at first, but after a couple of months the plants will mature and flourish. If your pond water becomes murky and fills with algae, do not change the water. Give the pond time to reach its balance. You may need to add more submerged plants at this time.

Water Lilies: They should be fertilized regularly with one slow release tablet per eight quarts of soil every month during the growing season. Just press a tablet into the soil near the roots. Also remove any yellow or brown leaves, and old blossoms. This helps promote new growth and keeps the pond clean. Remove all the dead vegetation in the fall so the lily can start new in the spring. The hardy varieties thrive in cold areas and need not be removed from ponds as long as the water does not freeze down to the rootstock. It may be necessary to move the container to the bottom of the pool to be sure the lily roots are below the ice freezing level. Be sure to remove the lilies if the pond freezes solid.
For plants that need to be removed: Allow water to drain from soil then trim away foliage. Wrap container in moist burlap or peat moss. Store plant in a cool corner of a basement or garage with 4-12oC (40-55oF), not more, to keep the plants dormant. Cover with plastic garbage bag to keep in moisture. Check regularly and water periodically to keep moist.

Tropical water lilies are handled differently because of their tropical nature. Prior to the first frost, remove these plants from their pots and trim off most of the leaves and roots. Re-pot them into smaller containers and store them in an aquarium tank or other container where they get plenty of light and where the temperature can be maintained at about 20oC (68oF). Some tropical water lilies produce walnut-sized tubers. These can be removed and stored in water at 12-16oC (55-60oF) for the winter. When placed in warm water 21-24oC (70-75oF), they will sprout. They can then be potted in small pots and move to the pond at the appropriate time.

Bog and Marginal Plants: Additional fertilizer tablets should be added when the plants are blooming. You may need to divide and thin the population in one container every one to 3 years.

Submerged: Thin if necessary.

Floating: If they reproduce too quickly, pull them out by hand or with a net. Depending on the species you choose and the type of winter you get, you may need to treat these as annuals and replace each spring. Floaters may be overwintered indoors in aquariums where there is high light.

Remember that overfertilization the pond can lead to algae problems.

Water gardens can include fountains, waterfalls, ponds and elaborate combinations of rockwork and lighting.

Fish and Snails for Water Gardens

Pond creatures can be added to your water container for added interest and to help in maintaining the ecosystem balance. Several small snails are very helpful as they eat algae, fish waste, and decaying organic matter. Fish can be a beneficial addition, because they are good scavangers, cleaning up debris. They also can help control mosquito larva, and other insects. Fish such as goldfish and koi fish are good choices. They do well in the variable water temperatures of a small patio pond plus they eat mosquitoes. Larger containers of 75L (20 gallons) or more can handle one to two goldfish.
Aside from goldfish and koi fish (considered cold water fish) any other exotic fishes will have to be brought inside for the winter.

Click here to find more about types of goldfish and koi fish and their amazing forms and colours.

General Care, Water Plants , , , , , , , ,

Myriophyllum aquaticum

Common name: Parrot’s Feather, Parrot Feather Plant, Brazilian Water Milfoil

Family: Haloragaceae

Native of South America. Myriophyllum aquaticum is now widespread around the world.

Myriophyllum aquaticum

Myriophyllum aquaticum

Description: Myriophyllum aquaticum is a perennial aquatic herb. Stems spreading and erect, hairless, to 5m long and to 5mm wide, rooting at lower nodes. Leaves hairless with blade of submerged leaves to 4cm long, emergent leaves 2.5–3.5cm long, 0.5–0.8cm wide, crowded towards tip. Distinguished by all leaves in whorls; blue-green emergent leaves, toothed in whorls of 4–6; leaves with 18–36 teeth, lack of fruit (in Australia).

Myriophyllum aquaticum lushly textured foliage helps provide shade for the pond and fish. It also provides a hiding place and spawning material for the pond inhabitants.

Because of its capability of establishing itself in wet soil above the water, Myriophyllum aquaticum can be used in waterfall crevices, as well as along pond edges. Although it may be prone to frost damage, it winters well beneath the ice in frozen ponds.

Flowers: Male and female flowers produced on separate plants. Only female plants found in Australia. Flowers have 4 triangular white sepals, 0.4–0.5 mm long; petals absent.

Water Temperature: 17-30C (64-86° F)

Water Conditions: KH 2-15, pH 5.0-7.5

Lighting: High

Propagation: Spread by stem fragments as seed is not produced in Australia.

Notes: Forms dense stands that impede flow, especially in nutrientenriched water. If male plants are introduced the species may become more of a problem.

Hardiness zone: 4-11

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Dichromena colorata

Common Names: Star grass, White Star Sedge

Synonyms: Rhynchospora colorata
Family: Cyperaceae

Dichromena colorata

Dichromena colorata

Description & habit: An evergreen sedge, star grass grows 30- 45cm (12- 1 8 in.) tall and produces star-shaped flower bracts at its stem tips.

Potting & growing: Plant in 8-20l (2-5 gallon) containers with lightly acid soil in sun to pan shade. Cut back when foliage turns rangy for renewed growth. Winter in heated greenhouses or indoors under adequate growlights in zones colder than 9-10.

Propagation: By division.

Hardiness Zones: 9- 10

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Cyperus haspan

Common Names: Dwarf Papyrus

Synonymous: Cyperus isocladus, Cyperus papyrus Nanus
Family: Cyperaceae

Cyperus papyrus have had resembled as dwarf cultivar species in Cyperus papyrus ‘Nanus’ reclassified as Cyperus haspan or Cyperus isocladus.

Cyperus haspan

Cyperus haspan

Description & habit: Cyperus haspan is a grass like plant with delicate evergreen look. Slim leaves and flower spikes create an umbrella-like apperance above green stems. In warm climates, does well in water garden or moist area. Will grow in a container outdoors in summer and indoors in winter. Must grow with roots in constantly moist or wet soil. Best flowering and growth results appear in full sun, but can tolerate some shade.

Cyperus haspan makes an ideal marginal plant. Topped with round spiked flower heads of yellow-green florets that turn bronze in late summer. Sterns that bend over and touch the water create new planllets. Cyperus haspan grows about 1m (39 inch) height and 0.75m (29 inch) width.

Potting & Growing: Considered an invasive weed in the Philippines. It is controllable when potted in a 8l (2-gallon) container and given 2.5-10cm (1-4 in.) of water over the crown in sun to pan shade.

Propagation: Division or by rooted plantets  that form when flower heads touch water or by cutting off the flower heads and floating them upside down in water.

Hardiness Zones: 9-11

Foliage – green
Shape – grassy

Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 10C max 24C
Temperature in active growth period – min 16C max 24C
Humidity – high

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Cyperus alternifolius

Common Names: Umbrella palm

Cyperus alternifolius

Cyperus alternifolius

Description & Habit: Usually growing 0.3- 1 m (1- 3 ft.), the Cyperus alternifolius may reach 1.5m (5 ft.) in optimal conditions. A lovely accent plant crowned with many dark green radiating leaves like a parasol, it can be grown as a houseplant.

Potting & Growing: Plant in rich soil in 8-20l  (2- 5 gallon) containers or larger and grow with 2.5- 15 cm (1- 6 in.) of water over the plant’s crown in sun to part shade.

Recommended Varieties:
‘Nana’ and ‘Gracilis’ are dwarf cultivars hardy in zones 9- ll.

‘Variegatus’ is another dwarf form with creamy white lengthwise strips along stems and leaves. Prune out any fully green stems to prevent the plant’s reverting to nonvariegated form.

Propagation: Division and head cuttings.

Hardiness Zones: 7- 11

Water Plants ,

Colocasia esculenta

Common Names: Green Taro, Elephant Ears

Colocasia esculenta Black Magic

Colocasia esculenta Black Magic

Description & Habit: From a genus or seven tropical plants, Colocasia esculenta is the species most often available to the trade. An erect tuberous rootstock is marked with ringlike scars where former leaves have dropped off. Hean-shaped to arrow-shaped leaves resemble elephant ears, hence its common name. Leaves grow to 1m (3ft.) in length, with the plant growing 0.6-1.8m  (2-6 ft.).

Flowers: Calla lily-like flowers with yellowish-white spathes and spadix are infrequently produced and usually hidden by the foliage when they do occur.

Watering: Medium to wet. When growing plants in garden soils, provide regular moisture, especially during dry summer periods, and do not allow soils to dry out. Plants may also be grown as pond marginals standing in water.

Potting & growing: Pot in 20l (5-gallons) pots or larger in rich topsoil. Grow in full sun to pan shade. The plant may be hardy outdoors to Zone 8, but is easily wintered indoors as a houseplant in a saucer of water in a sunny window.

Plants produce prodigious amounts of growth and appreciate regular fertilization during the growing season. Site plants in locations protected form strong winds. Tubers may be left in the ground year-round. However, when growing in Zone 8, the tubers should be planted in the ground in mid-spring, dug up in fall after first frost and then overwintered in a cool dry location (set in dry peat or wood shavings) where temperatures do not dip below 7oC (45oF).

Propagation:  Cut off and pot up “pups” produced on terminal ends of stolons.

Uses: Rain Garden, Suitable as Annual, Water Plant. Lends a large tropical look to gardens, water margins and large containers. Excellent as a specimen or in groups.

Recommended Varieties:
Colocasia antiquorum Imperial Taro. Dark green foliage is overlaid with velvety black be1wcen the wins. Grow in sun to part shade in 2.5-15cm (1-6 in.) of 21oC (70oF) or higher.

Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’  Black Taro. Growing to 1.2 m (4 ft.), masses of dusty charcoal-black leaves on dark burgundy/black stems are spectacular.

Colocasia esculenta ‘Fontanesia’  Violet-Stemmed Taro. Very dark purple stems contrast with large green leaves on a plant that grows 0.6-1.2 m (2-4 ft.)

Colocasia esculenta ‘Rubra’ Cranbeny or Red-Stemmed Taro. Dusty green leaves top brilliant red stems. Grows to 1.2 m (4 ft.).

Comments: If allowed to grow year-round, either outside in tropical zones or wintered indoors, plants will attain maximum height. Otherwise, a single season’s growth is usually around 0.6m (2 ft.). No serious insect or disease problems.

This species is also commercially grown as a food crop in Hawaii (poi is made from the tubers) where it is commonly called taro.

Hardiness Zones: 9-11
Maintenance: Medium
Light: Full sun to part shade


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