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Water Plant Issue#011
December 29, 2009


Welcome from the Koi Pond Guide to the 54 new subscribers. I hope you had a Merry Christmas! Koi Pond sends our blessing to you for the New Year
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What exactly is a water plant? There is no hard and clear definition. Some plants are true aquatics, needing to live submerged in water, while many more plants are adapted to the wet/dry cycles of their climate and will grow partially submerged in water for all or part of a year. And since there are plants suitable for water gardens in any climate, you should have no trouble finding a plethora of plants that will grow well and look beautiful in your pond.


You will probably want to stock your pond with a variety of different plants, some that flower and some that offer beautiful foliage. Submerged plants add interest as you gaze into the depths of the water, while floating plants dance on the surface (and make great little filters too). As an added bonus, some plants will become food for your fish.

Invasive and Banned

Most water plants are very easy to grow. They grow fast and spread far and wide, and many have become pests. In many locations, water plants have even taken over non-native habitats, driving out the native species. Some grow so fast that they choke waterways and cause wetlands to change, making them inhospitable to the native wildlife and plants. These potentially invasive and damaging plants are know as noxious weeds and must be avoided at all costs.

Submerged Plants

These are the plants that live completely submerged in water. These plants are “oxygenators” because they consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the water. There are several benefits to keeping submerged plants in your pond. They are fast growers and can compete with algae for nutrients, which helps keep the algae at bay. Also, they provide a natural food for your fish and other pond animals, not to mention the visual appeal.


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The Lily and the Lotus

Water lilies and lotus plants are the most desired plants for water gardens, and so deserve special consideration. Water lilies come in a vast variety of colors, sizes, and bloom styles, as does the mystical lotus. Given proper care, these plants will be with you season after season.

Tropical vs. Hardy

You can tell tropical water lilies from hardy lilies by studying their leaves, which can be green or mottled with red spots, and their flowers. Tropical lilies’ leaves are serrated on the edges, while hardy lilies have thicker, smooth edged leaves. The tropical flowers rise above the surface of the water, while the hardy flowers float on the surface. And if the flower is blue or purple, the lily is tropical. Tropical water lilies cannot tolerate any freezing weather, while hardy lilies can probably spend the winter in the bottom of your pond.

Tropical water lilies reproduce by viviparous propagation, by seed, or from a tuber. Perhaps most interesting is the first method, in which the water lilies make little “baby” plants on their leaves. Leave the baby plants on the leaf until they have grown a few good roots. You can then separate the small plants from the mother plant and put them into their own pot. Many gardeners grow tropical lilies as annuals and buy a new one every spring.

Hardy lilies produce seeds and also have a large tuber that is easy to divide into new plants. It is possible that any plant grown from a seed will be different from the parent plant, since it might have been pollinated by a lily of a different color. In these cases, the offspring will be a hybrid of the two parent plants.

Sacred Lotus

The lotus is a symbol of purity and spiritual enlightenment in many cultures and religions, particularly Hinduism and Buddhism. It is represented in the famous cross-legged sitting posture popular in yoga and meditation and symbolizes pure or divine beauty. Both the Buddha and the Hindu gods Vishnu and Shiva are often depicted sitting in this sacred posture. And in Egyptian mythology, the day-blooming lotus was thought to have given birth to the sun.

The Lovely Lotus

The lotus has large, cup shaped leaves, and water beads up and runs off them as if they were waxed. The flowers are just spectacular, coming in shades of white, pink, and yellow, the center of the flower matures into an interesting pod full of seeds, and the dried pod looks very interesting in floral arrangements. The tuber is even an important food crop in Asia.



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Also, your comments and questions are welcomed and appreciated!

Happy Ponding!
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