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a little overgrown with the water hyacinths
by Vietnam Plants / Cây cỏ Vietnam under CC BY  with www.PondSupply.com
a little overgrown with the water hyacinths

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Water gardens are fun projects, and can really add that special touch to almost any yard or landscape site. They can be large or small. Some water gardens may only be the size of a small wooden barrel, while others are large enough to support many fish and plants. When creating the perfect water garden the best plants have to be chosen. There are three different types of plants that can go in a water garden; emergent, submersed, and floating pond plants. Of these types of plants the floating plants are very important.

Floating pond plants are among the most commonly seen plants in ponds (probably because the are floating on top), and are necessary to keeping a healthy water garden. Ideally around 50% to 75% of the water surface should be covered in floating plants. Extremely invasive floating plants should be allowed to cover no more than 60% of the water’s surface. The floating plants will shade any submersed or emergent plants below the surface of the water, preventing them from getting too hot. The shade provided by the plant’s foliage will also help keep the water cool and reduce the amount of algae that will grow in the water. Floating plants also give fish a nice hiding spot from predators that may want a quick bite to eat.

They are also considered one of the easiest plants to grow. Floating pond plants are not placed in pots most of the time. Normally they simply float along the surface of the water with their roots growing down into the water of the pond. This allows the plants to soak up a lot of nutrients from the water, but it also leaves them open to attack from hungry fish. The drifting roots also act as a great filter for the water. The plant will simply float around soaking up nutrients, minerals, and waste from fish along with almost any toxin in the water.

The most common of the floating pond plants are water lilies. Unlike most floating plants the water lily is planted in a pot which is placed at the bottom of the pond. There are several different types of water lilies that a gardener can choose from. There are tropical lilies and hardy lilies. The tropical lilies should only be planted in areas with mild temperatures, and hardy lilies are ideal for cooler areas. If the garden is located in a cooler area tropical plants can be placed in the pond, but must be removed and sheltered during colder weather. Tropical lilies come in two types, the day bloomer and the night bloomer, and they also tend to be more fragrant than hardy lilies. The tropical varieties normally also have larger blooms than the hardy varieties.

A few other varieties of floating pond plants include water clover, water poppy, the mosaic plant, and also water lettuce. Water clover looks like normal clover, and has a yellow flower. The water poppy will bloom fuzzy white flowers. Mosaic plants add an artistic touch of nature to the garden. Water lettuce is mostly green foliage, and is illegal in some places. The reason for this is that it is a very fast grower. However, goldfish do enjoy making a meal out of the water lettuce roots from time to time.

Most floating pond plants are extremely invasive. They can and will over run a water garden very quickly. This is why so many floating plants are illegal in different areas. Plants, like water hyacinths, were planted in polluted waters, and then grew out of bounds. These plants soon took over any water surface they came in contact with. This is a warning to any water gardener: Floating pond plants should be controlled. Thankfully, it is fairly easy to control the population of these plants. The gardener simply has to pull out all of the excess plants that pop up in their garden. They can then be added to the compost pill or given to someone who is just starting their own water garden. Due to their invasive nature it is important that the gardener check with local officials and wildlife services about local restrictions on floating plants. Typically if they are sold in your local nurseries they are ok for your area.

water lettuce
by Benjamin Chun under CC BY-SA  with www.PondSupply.com
water lettuce

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