What is a Free Floating Pond Plant?
There seems to be a lot of confusion and incorrect information over the internet and in books, about non-invasive free-floating pond plants. Most free floating pond plants are very invasive. Please take this into consideration when introducing them to your water garden environment!
Lemna Species (Duck weeds) and Azolla Species (Floating Ferns)
There are different species of both of the above and I can promise you, that they are the last free floating pond plants that you would ever want to introduce to your pond. Unfortunately, this cannot always be avoided as they can be introduced on the feet or backs of visiting wildlife such as Frogs and Waterfowl. There are however good treatments such as Eco-Pond Duckweed treatment available to buy that will keep the dreaded Duckweed under control in contaminated ponds.
Tropical free floating pond plants
This group of plants are not frost hardy . They are great for growing outside in the UK, but only during the summer months. Unfortunately the first frosts of the approaching winter will kill them. Thus they are unlikely to survival from Autumn through to mid-May. Salvinia Natans, Limnobium Spongia (American Frog Bit), and different species and cultivars of Water Lettuce, will spread fast during the summer months. This can provide essential surface cover for pond wildlife, and help combat Algae and Blanket Weed problems. Unfortunately, the sale of Eichornia Crassipes (Water Hyacinths), has now become illegal, due to a ridiculous EU ban. (Note: the plant will NOT under any circumstances survive a UK winter outside anywhere!)
Stratiotes Aloides (Water Soldiers)
This plant is Not a free floating pond plant, but is still listed as such on my website. Every book, web-page and magazine categorises it as a free floating pond plant so unfortunately, I have no choice but to categorise it in the same way!!!
EXPLANATION – Water Soldiers over-winter as mature plants on the bottom of the pond. In spring, they produce babies on runners, much the same as spider plants. These babies mature in size growing up to the water surface on long roots that are tucked into the silt below where they take up essential nutrients for their growth. Water Soldiers can grow in water up to 5ft in depth. They emerge from the water in the summer as mature plants looking rather like the top of a Pineapple! In autumn they sink to the bottom of the pond again, where they go dormant for the winter, life-cycle completed. We should categorise these plants as Deep Water Submerged Aquatic Plants, definitely not as free floating plants
Our Only True Non-Invasive Free Floating Pond Plant
Hydrocharis Morsus Ranae, better known as Frog-bit, is a pretty, non-invasive plant. It spends its life over-wintering as small seed capsules in the silt at the bottom of the pond. In spring, the capsules float and the small emerged floating plants grow to maturity in just a few weeks. They spread across the pond during the spring and summer months on runners and produce small white flowers. The flowers die back to capsules in the autumn and sink back to the depths, thus completing the life-cycle
Please visit our category of Free Floating Pond Plants on our website www.lilieswatergardens.co.uk for availability from May on wards, you will also find our huge selection (largest in the UK) of over 750 pond plants and water garden plants as well as all the pond planting accessories needed to bring your pond into full colour throughout the spring and summer months.