There are any number of plants that like constantly wet feet as well as those who do well in deeper water.  They come in all heights and widths with a great variety of blooms.  Since my ponds are already overcrowded with water lilies I have been growing various ones in my “mini ponds”.  Some of these are animal watering tanks and others were intended for above ground pools. In previous articles I have written about the most dramatic plant I have in one of these ponds-the Lotus. Each plant has its own pool.

          My new plant this year is COTTON GRASS, usually listed as a bog plant but can be with as much as 2 inches of water over its roots.  They are in 8 inch pots on top of bricks so that the top of the pot is just even with the top of the water.  So far they look good and should grow to 24 inches high with 2 inch cotton heads. They are natives of Siberia and can survive in zone 4. The leaves are grass like with long, sharp tips. I used the water lily fertilizer tablets when potting. We will see what happens.

          Several years ago I was given WATER PETUNIA (Ruella sp) that I also grow in pots with the tops just even with the top of the water. They have blue flowers that do resemble those of the wild prairie petunia, and are sometimes called WATER BLUEBELLS. The Prairie Petunia is interesting in that it travels and I always have some but not always where I saw them last.  They do best at the edge of a taller plant.  I am not sure whether the water ones would survive down on the bottom of my large pond in winter, so I keep them in a pan of water in the greenhouse to keep their roots wet.

          The PICKEREL WEED (Pontedaria cordata) grows about 24 inches tall with blue flowers on a spike.  In nature they are generally found at the edges of ponds or in bogs. The stems feel like sponges. One reference book said not to have over 5 inches of water over their roots while another said 12.  I pot them and try not to have over an inch or so of water over the root. They are listed as zone 4.  Some years they have survived at the bottom of the pond but other years they rotted.  Perhaps this fall they will go in a pan of water in the garage.  I have some big pans about 4 inches deep that contain enough water to keep their roots wet at all times.  Their blue is a pure blue one doesn’t find very often.  An umbrella plant and two black leafed TARO’S are doing fine after winter in the garage. (It is insulated and never goes below 35 degrees F.)

          LIZARD’S TAIL (Sauvrurus cernus) is a fun one with a white curvy bloom stock (tail?). They can be grown in wet soil or in 2-5 inches of water.  Leaves are heart shaped and blooms fragrant, about 18 inches high.  One summer I grew CATTAILS (Typha angustifolia) that are 4 foot tall, and Typha minima (dwarf) about 2 feet tall, in the same white enamel oblong tub.  They had cattails of 8 inches and 2 inches. Many people do not want the large one or the still bigger 8-9 foot tall plant in their pond as it will take over against any other plant.  Both will survive if only their feet are kept wet.  The big tail can be eaten when it is young and tender. They can also be dipped in oil after drying and used as torches.

LOBELIA (Lobelia fulgens) has a red bloom 24 to 30 inches high, and is usually sold as a perennial but asks for partial shade and lots of water. It is a late bloomer (August) which is good to have, but sometimes burns and doesn’t bloom well for me. So this spring I found some new ones, planted them on the north side of a pine trimmed rather high. I also created a dam around several with cement edging blocks.  This way I can fill it with water more often than I water the other perennials and hope to be more of a success.  Even the leaves are red underneath.

          Floating in my bigger ponds are a WATER LETTUCE (Pistia stratiotes) and a WATER HYACINTH (Eichhornia sp.) that I usually buy each spring. They both have thick hanging roots for baby goldfish to hide in.  Both are considered “weeds” by many as they reproduce so fast. The Hyacinth stems are thick and spongy and after they crowd a space it stimulates them to bloom a light blue. Both Water Lettuce and Water Hyacinths are very frost sensitive and both are impossible for me to keep alive during the winter.  Both are also banned as obnoxious weeds further south as they can block waterways. I have never had a lettuce bloom.  Unfortunately, they protect the baby Goldfish too well and I have many too many babies. 

A frog plops into the water when I go by, but these babies are too big for him to eat. Sometimes he suns on a “log” I have in the water and sometimes on the rocks around the pool edges.  I have even seen him going under the bridge that separates the two ponds.  Later, Dragon Flies should appear. Usually mine are blue winged and a male will claim his territory to chase others away while the female will lay eggs in the pond.  They and the goldfish keep the big ponds free of mosquitoes.  For the tank ponds I get the mosquito “dunks”, a form of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). The last few years I have found it in 2 quart jars in a granular form that can be thrown in every 6 weeks. This is very easy to use.

Copyright 2014