Floating water plants are just about the easiest of any plant to grow! They need no planting, just drop them into the water and they will get on with it!
They can provide shelter for aquatic insects, fish and amphibians and also help mop up excess nutrients. They shade the water, reducing the amount of sunlight, which in turn will help to naturally reduce any green water in the pond.
When your floating plants arrive they can be put straight in your pond before they dry out. Alternatively, they can be kept in the clear plastic container that they arrive in, just fill it with cool tap water and position in a light space until you’re ready to add them to your pond.
You don’t actually need to plant floating water plants, simply throw them in! The roots are naturally weightier than the foliage so they will always land the right way up.
Floating plants require very little maintenance indeed. It’s optional, but if you want to increase the quality or quantity of floating plants in your pond they do respond well to fertiliser, however it’s important to choose a fish-friendly one if you have fish in your pond.
Water Soldiers are frost hardy, which means you can leave them in your pond all year round. You may not see them during the winter, and that’s because they become less buoyant and sink to the bottom to protect themselves from icy temperatures. In the spring as the weather warms, they float back to the surface again for the summer.
Water Hyacinths are NOT frost hardy, therefore they won’t survive our winter. You can choose one of two options: either fish out the live plants (with a rake or net) before the first frosts in the autumn and keep them in a tray or dish filled with some of the pond water throughout the winter, in a light, frost free place. The following May they can then be put back in the pond for the summer. Alternatively, if the frosts catch them before they’re removed from the pond, you should remove the dead plants from the pond as soon as possible and dispose of them.
Water Soldier – Stratiotes aloides
This native plant has long, thin, rigid leaves like the top of a pineapple, providing shelter for larvae aquatic insects such as dragonfly and damselfly. The plant spends the winter under water, and as the temperatures rise it floats to the surface to flower. Clump forming. Flower height: 5cm / 2in
Water Hyacinth – Eichornia crassipes
This is a frost tender floating plant with distinctive rounded green leaves and bulbous, air filled stems to keep them afloat. They provide shade and shelter to pond fish and wildlife. It produces beautiful Hyacinth-like violet flowers in hot summers. Height and spread 10 – 20cm / 4 – 8in.