Plants for your wildlife pond
Oxygenators and Floaters
Pond plants are essential to achieve a correct water balance and
provide surface cover in your garden pond. Without them your water
will probably resemble pea soup, as algae will grow prolifically.
Plant foliage absorbs carbon dioxide and minerals from the water which
'starves' the algae. About half of the water surface should be covered
with foliage to achieve this balance.
Pond plants fall into four basic groups. Each is important to the
health of your pond. The groups are oxygenators, floaters, marginals
and deep water aquatics.
Oxygenators are very important for keeping the
water clear. Their roots and stems are submerged and usually
the leaves are submerged as well. They are often bought
in bunches. You will need one bunch for each 3 sq. ft. of
surface area. Most oxygenators do not flower, but two exceptions
are water violet and water buttercup.
Water milfoil is effective for a small pond. Willow moss is evergreen,
slow growing and effective. Hornwort and 'curly pond weed (elodea crispa) are also effective.
Floaters are just that. You simply drop them
into the pond. Their roots are submerged and their leaves
and stems float either on or just below the surface. They
provide surface cover. Many of them sink and overwinter at
the bottom of your pond. Water hyacinth is a flowering 'floater' (but
only in a good summer). Other floaters include frog-bit, water lettuce
and water soldier. Fairy moss and duck weed are also floaters,
but can be invasive and are best avoided. Once you have duck weed established in your pond, you will never get rid of it!
Wildlife pond building - This is page 7 of 8
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