Native Plants for a Water Garden
by Cindy Conard
ponds and water gardens are becoming increasingly popular.
They make an attractive focal point in the landscape.
Aside from their beauty, they can also be beneficial by attracting all
sorts of wildlife.
will always bring wildlife. By
using native plants it will make it even more appealing, and Florida has a lot
of native aquatic plants. Listed below are just a few.
Canna (Canna flaccida) makes a great addition to a native water garden
with its rich yellow flowers. These
flowers are about three inches long and resemble an iris.
They grow in clusters on a tall leafy stem and appear in spring and
summer. Oval, alternate leaves can
be a foot long and three to six inches wide.
This canna likes full sun to part shade and will reach a height of up to
three feet. It is not often seen in
the wild, but has been used successfully in marshland restoration projects.
Native from North Carolina to south Florida, it can be found in marshes,
wet ditches, bogs, pond edges and lakes.
rush (Juncus effusus) grows to a height of about two and a half feet and
prefers partial shade. Small
brownish flowers appear in the summer at the tops of the grass-like stems.
These medium green stems turn brown during the cold weather.
It grows in shallow water or wet soil and provides shelter and nesting
sites for birds. This rush can be
found in ponds, stream edges and marshes throughout Florida.
lily (Nuphar luteum) grows one foot above the water in sun or part shade.
The two to three inch flowers appear in the spring and early summer. Growing
above the water, these yellow flowers have a half-opened appearance. The leaves
are heart-shaped green pads that grow on a thick stem and are a foot or more
across. This lily produces seed
pods that split and release seeds into the water which provide food for the
water birds. With the exception of
the Keys, it is found throughout Florida in ponds, lakes and slow moving rivers.
water lily (Nymphaea odorata) has very fragrant white flowers, with many
petals, that are
(Pontederia lanceolata) is an aquatic herb that reaches a height between
three to four feet. On the tops of
the thick stems are tubular spikes of blue-violet flowers that appear during the
spring and early summer. Also on
the thick stems, are dark green, lance shaped leaves. Although it is easy to
grow, pickerelweed can form clumps and become weedy. But it provides a good
habitat for water birds (which eat its seeds) and for fish.
Except for the Keys, it is native throughout Florida and is found in
shallow ponds and on lake shores.
are other things you can do to attract wildlife to your pond.
Placing rocks in the sun will provide amphibians with sunning areas.
And hollows among the rocks will provide shelter for them.
Flat stones can provide perching areas for birds.
They will also use these stones to clean their beaks.
you have a small pond or a large water garden, native plants will attract more
wildlife and are the best choice for a natural look.
James. Water in the Garden.
Salamander Books Limited. 1991.
Robert and Joan Brookwell. Native Florida Plants. Gulf Publishing Company. 1999.
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