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Pond Vegetation Plants

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Aquatic wetland plants are an ideal way to add beauty to a water feature in the garden, whether it be a terra cotta pot in the corner of the patio or an acre-sized pond.

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As with any garden plant, gardeners will be most successful with water plants if they are mindful of the best hardiness zone for the plant and whether it can tolerate cold weather or will need to be brought inside during the winter. The gardener also needs to know whether a plant does best in sun or shade and whether and how often it needs to be fertilized. It's also important to know when the plant blooms. A gardener can plant a variety of early, mid and late blooming plants to keep up interest in a water garden for much of the year.

Among the aquatic plants that a gardener might consider are:

  • Duck Potato
  • This plant is a member of the sagittaria family, named because of its arrow-shaped leaves, and this particular plant does have nutritious, edible tubers like a potato plant. It produces showy white flowers and prefers somewhat hard water. The plants should be spaced well apart in mid-spring in about a foot to a foot and a half of still water. It should be fertilized with rotted manure and does well in both full sun and partial shade.

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  • Cattail
  • Cattails are the familiar plants that grow at the edges of ponds, irrigation ditches and swamps. The plant's most recognizable feature is the cigar colored, cigar shaped female inflorescence that grows on a stalk. The male flowers, found in a spike above them, are nearly inconspicuous. They do best in about four inches of water and full sun. Wild specimens can grow to nine feet in height, but cultivars usually grow between two and four feet.

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  • Plantain
  • Plantains are famous for being noxious weeds found on lawns, but the aquatic varieties are unrelated to these pests. A member of the alisma species, it produces whorls of white or rarely, pink flowers. The root is edible, but is most often used medicinally. It prefers shallow water and blooms from summer to mid-autumn. It thrives in full sun and can grow to about three feet high. A perennial, it takes between two and five years to attain its full height. An excellent plant for the margins of ponds, alisma should be planted in about a foot of water and can be propagated by seeds or through division.

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