Water in the garden adds a magical touch that is hard to resist. Adding plants to a water feature accentuates the magic. Water gardens can be any size and can take the form of a pond, a meandering stream, converted bathtub or a bowl with a water hyacinth on a patio table. Rain gardens are included under the category of water gardens.
Waterplants fall into four categories: floaters, marginal plants, oxygenators and bog plants.
- Floaters, as their name implies, float. Sometimes the entire plant floats on the water surface, like water hyacinth and duckweed, and other times the plant is rooted in soil at the bottom of the pond with only the leaves floating, namely the gorgeous waterlilies, including the massive Victoria waterlily from the Amazon.
- Marginal plants grow in the shallows at the water’s edge, and the vast majority of the plant is above the water surface. Lotus, cattails and papyrus fall into this category.
- Oxygenators are the unsung and unseen heroes of the water garden. This group of plants, depending on the species, spends most, if not all, of their life completely submerged. Oxengators are the unsung heroes because they filter the water, keeping it clean and balanced, while also oxygenating the water to help keep aquatic animals alive.
- Bog plants are the plants that prefer wet to permanently moist, but not submerged, soils. The most famous bog plants are carnivorous plants, such as Venus flytraps and pitcher plants.
One thing to remember when picking waterplants is that there are hardy waterplants and there are tropical waterplants, so choose wisely.
Water gardens aren’t as hard to deal with as many people believe. One of the most important things to remember is to not constantly change the water if it gets murky. Dirty water is a sign of chemical imbalance, but waterplants will filter out the excessive nutrients, cleaning the water. Murky water can be caused by changing seasons, an influx of nutrients from heavy rains, or excessive debris falling in the water. If the dirty water is replaced by tap water, the chemical imbalance will worsen because the new water will encourage algae blooms. The production of algae blooms will take even longer to balance than the original murky water problem. The best course of action is to leave it alone and let your waterplants take care of the problem. That is what they are there for. In the case of falling leaves, remove as many as possible. This will help the plants do their job. If there is excessive amounts of algae in the water, aka green water, adding floaters will shade out the algae and filter the extra nutrients at the same time.
Water gardens are beautiful and can be a lot of fun, so enjoy.