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Water Plants

Introduction

A water garden is your own personal meditation aid. The visual beauty of tropical lilies bursting with dazzling color; the sounds of water bubbling and flowing over fountains and streams; the splash and shimmer of a golden koi fish... Easier than you think, a water garden will become one of your favorite oasis in your garden. With all the pond kits available in the market, in fact, you can have a water garden up and running in an afternoon.

There are many types of water plants to build a self-sustaining ecosystem in your home water garden. Here's a quick guide:

Oxygenating plants: Growing beneath the water's surface, these water plants help control the growth of algae (because they compete with algae for food). They add oxygen to the water, shelter spawning fish, and absorb carbon dioxide given off by the fish in your pond. Oxygenating plants include anacharis (Elodea densa), Parrot's feather (Myriophyllum brasilienese), moneywort , and red hygrophilia (Hygrophilia polysperma rubra).

Bog or marginal plants: These water plants thrive in the moist conditions of the pond's edge. These plantings provide height and color around your water garden as well as a habitat for insects that visiting frogs and toads will find tasty.

Hardy plants: For marginal plants that overwinter in your water garden, try, the lancelike foliage of pickerel rush (Pontederia cordata) which bears bright, blue flower spikes in midsummer or zebra rush (Scirpus lacustris 'Albescens') with its tall stems ringed with gold bands. Another interesting bog plant that has been around since the time of the dinosaurs is the bamboo-like horsetail; it's available in a tall reed form (Equisetum hyemale) for large water gardens and a dwarf variety (Equisetum scirpoides) for smaller ones.Cattails are another plant that thrive in shallow water conditions.

Tropical plants: There are a number of exotic tropical plants that will add interest and color to your water garden. Papyrus grows 4 to 5 feet tall and produces eye-catching topknots of foliage. For smaller water gardens or containers, try dwarf papyrus; it grows just 2 feet tall. Other excellent tropicals include taro, umbrella palm, tropical water canna, and new pickerel rush.

Floating plants: These water plants live on the surface of the water and don't have anchored root systems. This free-floating foliage provides shelter for fish and helps shade out algae. Species include water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes), salvinia (Salvinina rotundifolia) and duckweed (Lemna minor).

Blooming plants: Blooms on water plants such as water lilies and lotus, are the prime reason more and more gardeners are taking the plunge into water gardening. These spectacular plants offer color, fragrance, and extraordinary foliage.

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