Friday, 16 May 2008

Floating pond plants

No matter how enchanting they may look, even the most captivating floating plants are prone to invasive proportions. Luckily, I don't have that problem as my two ponds actually hardly fit into pond proportions, and the second one is more of a puddle. I have envisioned a proper pond in the back yard as a thing to do sometime in the future but so far it has merely remained a vision.

Apart from the miniature water lilies, a few types of horsetail, marsh marigolds, marsh spurge and sweet flag, I also keep a few floating plants. And having in mind that floating plants are often not winter hardy and are in need of great amounts of light and warm temperature, not many survive (some say that they are not even worth all the bother of trying to overwinter them; I never thought of it like that, but keeping them in the basement tanks with low light, only a few lucky ones survive).

While rummaging through the nursery yesterday, I've noticed a new arrival of water plants from Holland. It was time to revive my floating colonies. I've got these three beauties, along with some Watermeal (Wolffia; smallest floating plants), all of them tagged as invasive in many countries:

WATER HYACINTH (Eichhornia crassipes)
known for its inflated stems (airbags) that keep it afloat; the roots are feathery (that's why Kristy and Krusty often mistake it for a birdie-toy) and a purple/white color; bears clusters of lilac flowers during warm weather; form is more compact in full sun and elongated in shady conditions; reported as a weed in 56 countries, explosive growth rate in favorable conditions: doubles its population in as little as 8-16 days ( I bought one last spring and by late fall I had over 50 new plants;
I gave many away to friends, and left about 15 to overwinter, but never bothered to inform myself on the conditions they should actually overwinter in; in low light most of them ballooned off to water hyacinth heaven, and only one survived (barely and is still in the process of getting rid of its shabby looks). From its original home in South America, it was introduced to many places where it grows profusely and out-competes native species, thus reducing natural biodiversity.;frost sensitive; hardy in Zone 9 or higher; eaten by some turtle species

FLOATING MOSS FERN (Salvinia natans)
often grown as an ornamental pond plant, but has escaped cultivation and is noxious in many regions around the globe;
grows best in open sunlight; leaves covered in small hairs; consists of three leaves, two floating ones and a third that serves as a root system; browning leaves are a sign of nutrients insufficiency; air cavities on the leaves make the plant a floating one; prevents algae by shading some areas of the pond and using nutrients in the water; tolerates occasional frost, but not prolonged periods of freezing temperatures

WATER LETTUCE (Pistia stratiotes)
not an owner of a spectacular flower; but a very interesting, ornamental pond plant; bears a floating rosette of light green, spongy leaves; also an invasive plant - several state consider it a curse and have tagged it as 'illegal'; reproduces both vegetatively and by seeds; looks better when grown in partial shade but can be grown in full sun as well; not frost resistant

8 komentari:

zvrk said...

Bas zato sto su invasive ne stavljamo nikakve biljke na jezera (a prilicno su velika).

Viooltje said...

Vidjela sam, baš su krasna, izgledaju ko more u odnosu na ove moje barice. Ali eto, bar se mogu diviti ovim naoko bezopasnim biljčicama, jer se stvarno nemaju gdje širiti...a i mace ih vole, jer su feathery ;-)

garden girl said...

Violet, those are some cool plants!

Brenda Kula said...

I love the look of that hyacinth. And the lettuce. I don't have any actual floating plants. But now that I've seen yours, I think I'll look for some. Oh, I spent yesterday morning cutting tree limbs so my pond would receive more sunlight. Only had the one yellow waterlily. And I fertilized. Perhaps it's the lack of sunlight.

VP said...

Lovely photos Viooltje! Many thanks for the comments over at my place - I thought of you especially when we sang Plovi Barko last week :)

Have a great weekend!

Viooltje said...

@ Linda: yep my cats think so too, especially when they flick about with their feathery

@ Brenda:
I'm glad you mentioned that, I have the same issue with my waterlilies and I know the reason is lack of sunshine, as my bigger pond lies beneath an old Magnolia tree; I've actually cut out holes in its foliage to get some sun through but that's nowhere near enough; then I decided to grow them in the smaller one which receives full sun, but is very shallow, and as soon as I put a plant with some nutrients in, what happens? algae galore! So now I basically have them in large plastic containers full of pond snails so no chance for algae, hopefully this year I may be fortunate to see a flower, at least one ;-)

@VP: You're welcome, I wish I could have enjoyed the magic sound of your choir; it must have been beautiful, both the setting and the music

GardenJoy4Me said...

Violet .. we had the lettuce and hyacinth plants in our tiny pond in Holland. Their garden centers were absolutely amazing .. it could be an all day affair just strolling through one.
That is wonderful you have two ponds .. even if they are small .. water features are so wonderful to have !
I love the reflections in the water : )

Viooltje said...

It's true. The Dutch are the masters of nursery business in whole of the Europe. Most of the plants in the whole area come from Holland. And they really do provide the best quality and an amazing variety of plants. I too love the water features, never mind the size, even if it's just for the reflection.

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