All About Water Garden Plants

Why Not Try Aquatic Gardening For Beautiful Container Displays

You’ve Got The Perfect Container … What Water Garden Plants Should You Choose?

It really isn’t a difficult task to pick water plants that will not only look beautiful but perform well for you over the course of your growing season.

Whether you live where the growing season is shorter in length, to that of one where you have year-round nice warm temperatures, you can enjoy the addition of a container water garden in your outdoor living space.

The Water Garden Plants Listed Here Are Very Low Maintenance

water garden container

From my experience, I’ve not had any problems nor real challenges in keeping my water garden plants alive and well. The only problem I’ve faced was an attack of aphids on the water hyacinths one season. A good spraying of an insecticidal soap took care of the pesky critters and they never returned. The aphids did not harm the plants as I caught and treated them early on.

Depending on where you live, you might be lucky enough to have an aquatic nursery or a nursery that carries water garden plants for pond enthusiasts. In addition, as I have in my area, the “big-box” DIY stores have aquatic plants for sale during the late spring and summer months. There are also good and reliable vendors to buy from on the internet.

Keep in Mind the Basics For Achieving a Well Balanced Look

Obviously, your container’s size and over-all shape is your “starting point”. Then, incorporate some water plants for height, some medium-to-low spreading water plants to add fullness, and a cascading water plant to help fill in the lower element of your container’s composition.

Whether you only have room for a plant or two, or room for many, keep in mind that just like flowering plants do, when all is finished, aquatic plants will grow and can overtake their space.

Floating Water Garden Plants

Floaters Help Reduce Algae By Competing With Nutrients

Note: Due to the invasiveness of some of these plants, you might find you are unable to purchase or have them shipped into your state.

Floating Water Hyacinth Plant

Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) — Characterized by its swollen, balloon-like leaves, this water garden plant has very showy blue-purple flowers on upright spikes about 6 inches above the water’s surface. Each flower has six petals with the uppermost having a yellow patch. The leaves are oval to elliptical, thick and waxy with spongy petioles. Hardy in Zone 9 or higher.

Floating Water Lettuce Plant

Water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) — As its name implies, water lettuce resembles a floating open head of lettuce. Though normally getting no larger than palm-sized, it can become a very large plant. It has soft, wrinkled, light-green leaves with a velvety texture. It tolerates more shade than many aquatic plants. Water lettuce has thick, light dull green, ridged leaves. There are no leaf stalks. The roots are light-colored and feathery. Its flowers are inconspicuous. Hardy in Zone 9 or higher.

Floating Water Velvet Plant

Water Velvet / Floating moss (Salvinia rotundifolia) — This plant’s green, furry, floating leaves grow to apprx. 5/8 inches long and 3/4 inches wide. The “roots”, which are really additional submerged leaves, appear feathery. Hardy in Zone 8 or higher.

Duckweed (Lemna minor) — These tiny-tiny green leaves float on top of the water. Duckweed is one of the smallest flowering water plants in the world, with microscopic flowers in tiny pouches. Though Duckweed is attractive in its own right, I would not necessarily choose this plant as an addition for a container water garden. Hardy in Zone 5 or higher.

European Frog Bit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae) — Frog bit has shiny green foliage that is 1 to 2 inches across. It is said to kind of look like the chin of a frog in the water, thus the name. It bears tiny white flowers in July and August that are not very significant. Hardy in Zone 7 or higher.

Floating Fairy Moss Plant

Fairy Moss / Carolina mosquito fern (Azolla caroliniana) — Delicate, lacy, bright green fronds that turn reddish in full sun and during fall. Sunlight and water temperature determines the color of the plant. Hardy Zone 8 or higher.

Vertical Water Garden Plants

Add Some Striking Vertical Foliage For Height & Enhanced Visual Effect

Dwarf Papyrus Water Plant

Dwarf papyrus (Cyperus haspan) — This plant is a sedge. Its stems have spikelets on the ends forming long and short-stalked clusters. Dwarf papyrus grows 8-30 in. tall. Hardy in Zone 9 or higher.

Miniature Cattail (Typha minima ‘Europa’) — A dwarf variety of cattail, this plant is well-suited to small containers. This species has graceful, 2 to 3 foot spires of foliage topped in late summer by brown “flowers” that look like a little link of sausage. Hardy in Zone 3 or higher.

Sweet flag (Acorus calamus) — The thick, erect leaves are very similar in appearance to those of an iris, but with edges that are crimped. When broken, the leaves release a fruity fragrance. This grassy plant grows 2 to 4 feet tall. Sweet flag very rarely flowers. Hardy in Zone 4 or higher.

Variegated spider lily (Hymenocallis caribaea ‘Variegata’) This plant is a compact grower with outstanding variegated green and creamy white leaves. It produces exotic, fragrant, white blooms in March and April. Hardy in Zone 8 or higher.

Cascading Aquatic Plants

These Help Visually Soften The Hard Edge Of The Container

Parrot Feather Water Plant

Parrot feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) — Parrot feather gets its name from its feather-like tufts of foliage which are arranged around the stem in whorls of four to six. It has both submersed and emergent leaves. The bright green emergent leaves are stiff and dark green, and can grow up to a foot above the water surface and look almost like small fir trees. Hardy in Zone 6 or higher.

Water mint (Mentha aquatica) — This easy to grow plant has green, fuzzy, roundish leaves that may become reddish-purple in full sun. You’ll certainly smell the mint fragrance when you crush the leaves. Water mint bears tiny, powder-blue flowers. Hardy in Zone 6 or higher.

Wondering what planting zone you live in? Find out now: Hardiness Zone Maps

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