Floating Aquatics

Floating Aquatics

Floating aquatics are an excellent way of shading the pond and removing nitrates, both of which help reduce algae growth.

They also provide shelter for animals against predators such as herons and their roots can be used as a breeding ground for small aquatic animals. The most popular varieties are shown below.

Eichhornia crassipes major - Water hyacinth

Eichhornia crassipes major image

This excellent, popular plant grows well during the season providing shade and shelter and is very good at removing nitrates from the water. It is not hardy so treat as a bedding plant or over winter in a heated greenhouse or conservatory where there is light and protection from frost. Ideally remove the plants as they start to die back for winter and add them to the compost heap. This permanently removes the nitrates from the water and makes an excellent fertiliser for the garden!

Stratiotes aloides - Water soldier

Stratiotes aloides

This is a good native floating plant. Although it does not shade the water as much as some due to its leaf structure, it is very good for algae control. Once established, you will rarely find algae in a pond or lake with Stratioes aloides. It is best purchased when the plants are still small so mid-April to early June, after this time the plants become large, brittle and difficult to transport in good condition.

Hydrocharis morsus ranae - Frogbit

Hydrocharis morsus ranae

This delicate little native plant has small white flowers. It is not a quick growing plant but will eventually give good cover. At the end of the season it makes little pips which sink to the bottom of the pond, these produce new plants the following year.

Pistia stratiotes - Water lettuce

Pistia stratiotes image

This is an attractive alternative to Eichhornia. It is not as able to cope with cool weather and should not be placed outside until all risk of frosts and cool nights are over. Treat as a bedding plant as it is difficult to overwinter.

Have you got everything you need before you leave?

Marginal plants provide shelter, a breeding ground and remove nitrates
Oxygenating plants provide essential oxygen
Floating plants provide shade, shelter and remove nitrates
Lilies provide shade & shelter
Aquatic baskets and aquatic soil for the above
Snails Ramshorns eat algae on the sides of a pond, Trapdoor snails eat algae on the bottom

Be Plant Wise

Please protect our environment. No plants should be disposed of in the wild as even native ones placed in the wrong location may cause environmental damage. Compost them or take them to your local refuse centre. For more information please see Non Native Species Secretariat