How do I Choose the Best Water Garden Plants?

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  • Written By: Susan Grindstaff
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 03 August 2019
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When planning to purchase water garden plants, it is important to choose plants that not only thrive in aquatic environments, but are adaptable to geographic location. Climate and temperature can be factors to consider, as well as other aquatic life the plants may be exposed to. If the water garden plants will be sharing the environment with fish, there could be a danger of overcrowding the environment.

If you are unfamiliar with the types of water garden plants that will work well in your climate, you may want to purchase the plants from a local nursery or greenhouse. In most cases, local nurseries will be able to offer expert advice on the types of plants to purchase. Some water garden plants can be purchased online, but you should be very sure of your selection, because in most cases, you will be unable to return them.

Water lilies are usually considered the most popular type of plant for aquatic gardens. These plants come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and even scents. Different varieties bloom at different times of day, some even blooming only at night. Water lilies must be planted in the ground beneath the water, but they eventually grow up to the surface where they float and bloom.


Lotus plants are another popular choice for water gardens, and once planted and established, they come back every year. The lotus plant produces oval shaped blooms that are usually pink or white, with a seedcase at their center. The planting and growth pattern of the lotus plant is much the same as that of the water lily.

Some water garden plants do not require any planting, but simply grow and float on the surface of the water. These plants include water hyacinths, fairy moss, and butterfly ferns. Water hyacinths are popular because of their delicate violet blue flowers and dark green foliage. In many cases, water hyacinths can grow to more than 3 feet (1 m) in height. Fairy moss and butterfly ferns typically do not produce flowers, but they are considered excellent sources of fish food.

When planning your water garden, it is a good idea to take care that no more than one-third of the surface of the water is covered with plants. This rule of thumb generally ensures that overcrowding does not develop. If there are too many water garden plants, they might consume too many nutrients, which could result in the starvation of other life inside the aquatic environment.



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