What is a Free Floating Pond Plant?
I have written this article because 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 and this needs to be taken into consideration when introducing them to your water garden environment.
Lemna Species (Duckweeds) 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 ponds that are already contaminated.
Tropical free floating pond plants
This group of plants are not frost hardy but great for growing outside in the UK, but only during the summer months. From mid-May through to Autumn unfortunately they get killed off by the first frosts of the approaching winter. Salvinia Natans, Limnobium Spongia (American Frog Bit), and different species and cultivars of Water Lettuce, will spread fast during the summer months and provide essential surface cover for pond wildlife helping combat Algae and Blanket Weed problems. Unfortunately, the sale of Eichornia Crassipes (Water Hyacinths), has now become illegal to sell due to a ridiculous EU ban as the plant will NOT under any circumstances survive a UKwinter outside anywhere
Stratiotes Aloides (Water Soldiers)
This plant is Not a free floating pond plant, but is however, still listed as a free floating pond plant on my website. It is categorized in every book, web-page and magazine as a free floating pond plant so unfortunately, I have no choice but to categorize 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 do and 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 and they emerge from the water in the summer as mature plants looking rather like the top of a Pineapple sinking to the bottom of the pond again in the autumn where they go dormant for the winter, life-cycle completed. These plants should be categorized as a Deep Water Submerged Aquatic Plants but definately 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 spending 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 that 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 onwards.