Hydrocharis Morsus Ranae-Frogbit
Everyone who owns a pond, wants free-floating pond plants as part of their planting scheme. However, there are not many to choose from as the majority are either tropical/annual such as Salvinias, Water Hyacinth and Water Lettuce or invasive as is the case with Duckweed that in my opinion, should never be sold. After that, we are left with two native plants which are Frog Bit and Water Soldiers. Water Soldiers are always sold as a free floating plant but are actually a submerged plant that anchors itself to the bottom of the pond by extending its long roots. It only emerges although still anchored, during the summer months and its leaves have a pineapple shaped appearance.
Frog bit starts its life as a dormant capsules which likes to over winter in silt or mud at the bottom of the pond or can even be found growing in muddy margins. In April and May as the weather warms up, the capsule ripens and floats unfolding tiny plants onto the water surface. Within a few weeks, the plants resemble miniature Water Lily leaves about the size of a two pence piece. The leaves have elongated roots that hang down in the water taking up unwanted nitrates. Throughout the summer, the plant colonizes and spreads itself out on runners creating a carpet of floating leaves and a display of pretty, small white flowers during the summer months. Towards Autumn time, the growth and spreading rate slows down and the old flowers form fresh individual capsules and when all of the last floating leaves have decomposed , the capsules will sink to the bottom of the pond to start the whole seasonal process again.
Frog Bit has many essential benefits when added to your pond. Its an excellent nitrate remover and provides lots of surface cover which therefore, makes it an essential plant to consider for helping combat algae problems. Also, it’s an essential choice for wildlife ponds as it is favored by our visiting Dragonflies and Damselflies. The floating leaves are very good at providing hiding places for small fish, amphibians and other pond life.
The best and only true, free floating British pond plant that is frost hardy and has multiple commercial uses is available to buy from April/May on wards here at our Nursery Lilies Water Gardens or online at www.lilieswatergardens.co.uk