Floating leaves on the water’s surface are beneficial to the health of all ponds, streams and lakes. Not only do they provide oxygen and take out harmful nitrates, but they also provide valuable cover for wildlife and cut down on surface sunlight thus reducing algae blooms (green water) and blanket weed. Not surprising, we sell more plants from this category than any other from our nursery.
One of the most popular floating leafed plants are Water Lilies with their wide spectrum of different coloured flowers, leaves and blooms. Their different leaves and flowers can vary greatly in size and can be as small as a 10 pence piece, whilst some cultivars have flowers up to eight inches in diameter with leaves up to 14 inches across. Hardy Water Lilies are available in different shades of red, white, peach, yellow and pink. Tropical species and their cultivars also come in amazing colours of blue and purple. There are new breakthroughs in Water Lily hybridization and we may all see hardy true blue and purple cultivars for sale within the next 10 years.
Certain Potomogeton species (Pond Weeds) and oxygenating plants, produce floating leaves. Not only do they produce oxygen by surface cover, but also produce it under the water. This group of plants are also excellent at encouraging Dragonflies, Damselflies, Newts and Toads to your pond. Ranunculus Aquatilis (Water Crowfoot), produces masses of ivy-leafed, floating leaves and white butter-cup flowers and will also grow quite happily in streams. Myriophyllum Brasiliensis (Red Stemmed Parrot’s Feather), grows 1 to two inches out of the water creating the appearance of an attractive floating raft. In my opinion, every pond should house this plant, although it should not be confused with the banned Myriophyllum Aquaticum which takes over entire waterways and ponds. Callitriche species produce small rosettes of floating lime green leaves and grow exceptionally well in clay bottomed ponds. Certain Potomogeton species produce attractive olive green and bronze-red leaves, and these landing platforms, allow Dragonflies and Damselflies to land and lay eggs in the water.
I love this plant as it is never invasive and produce leaves that float and also leave and attractive pink flowers that stand out of the water. Its seems not surprising then, that this plant is one of most highly rated and popular plants which is also fantastic for all our wildlife.
This is an excellent creeping Marsh Marigold with floating leaves. It’s perfect for planting in shallow muddy margins and makes an excellent entrance and exit for all visiting, aquatic wildlife.
Unfortunately, both of these plants are not frost hardy, well, at least not here on our nursery in Surrey, in the South East of England. However, please don’t be put off as Marsilea Mutica has the most attractive, mosaic patterned, variegated leaves and is showier than all of the other floating leafed plants. Hydrocleys Nymphoides produces shiny, oval, lime green leaves and stunning yellow, poppy flowers which they hold a few inches above the water. So, enjoy them as annuals for the summer but remember, they both can also be very easily over-wintered in a heated greenhouse or conservatory.
Invasive in clay bottomed ponds but excellent when planted into aquatic baskets in lined and concrete ponds, this plant produces masses of small, Water Lily like leaves about two to three inches across and a carpet of bright yellow flowers in the summer, providing excellent surface cover for fish.
Apponogeton Distachyos and Apponogeton Krauseanus Apponogeton Distachyos also known as (Water Hawthorne), and Krauseanus varieties named above, produce long 6 to 10 inch oval olive-green leaves that float on the surface and white vanilla scented flowers. Apponogeton Distachyos prefers cool water and flowers in the spring and autumn months, but will go dormant in the summer when water temperatures rise. Sometimes in this dormant state they are often mistakenly discarded as dead plants, but by October and November, you will have fresh new leaves and flowers. Apponogeton Krauseanus flowers throughout the summer and has v-shaped flowers.
Similar in leaf to Water Lilies, although the leaves are more heart shaped than round, Nuphars provide valuable surface cover for fish and wildlife. As with all other floating leafed plants, they will attract Dragonflies and Damselflies who will land and lay eggs in the water. Different species of Nuphar produce yellow to orange buttercup-like flowers which are held up out of the water. The flowers of Nuphar Japonica turn a lovely red colour as they mature. Nuphar Luteum is the largest growing variety and is more suited to large streams, rivers and lakes.
Please visit our website www.lilieswatergardens.co.uk to see the largest selection of pond plants and water garden plants available to buy in the UK, over 750 pond plants and water garden plants and all the pond planting accessories you need to bring your pond to life.