Underwater Plants: Understanding and Planting Aquatic Flowers and Greenery

5 min read

There are many types of underwater plants out there. They are also known as aquatic macrophytes and hydrophytes. These plants and flowers live in areas filled with water such as lakes, oceans, ponds, rivers, and streams.

Here, we are going to learn about the following:

* Characteristics of Underwater and Aquatic Plants
* Types of Aquatic Plants
* Different Aquatic Flowers
* Caring for Aquatic and Underwater Plants

Characteristics of Underwater and Aquatic Plants

There are a number of characteristics that underwater plants share with each other. For instance, most plants that live in water do not need any cuticles, and if they have any, they are very thin. A cuticle is a part of the plant that prevents water loss. Another common characteristic of underwater and aquatic plants share is that they always keep their stomata open, and on every leaf, there are many stomata.

Since water pressure supports these plants, they also are not as structurally rigid as plants that grow on the land. Since these plants may float, they often have flat leaves, too. For those plants that DO float, they share the characteristic of having air sacs. Additionally, the roots of these plants are generally smaller than root systems of plants that grow on land, and in general, the roots look featherily and light, and they are used to bring in oxygen from the water they grow in.

Types of Aquatic Plants

There are three main types of aquatic plants that you might find. They are, as follows:

Plants that are totally submerged – These are true underwater plants, as they grow completely under the surface. An example of this plant is a water starwort.

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Plants that float on the surface of the water – These plants have their roots either floating in the water, such as in the case of a water lily, or rooted in the sediment that floats on the surface of the water, like duckweed.

Plants that grow in swampy areas – Finally, you have swamp plants, which are those that have the lower part of the plant submerged, but the rest of the plant grows above water. An example of this is a reed mace.

Different Aquatic Flowers

Some of the aquatic plants actually have flowers, and these are often now seen in the yards of people in normal, everyday neighborhoods. A pond or water garden can bring a lot of peace and calm, especially if you add features like a small fountain or meditation area. Here are some of the most common types of aquatic flowers that you might want to add to an outdoor garden.

Water Poppy – The water poppy has small, yellow flowers and the leaves are bright green in color. These flowers appear during the late months of spring or early summer, and since they are small, they work well with other aquatic plants.

Water Lilies – The water lily is a common plant, and they are often called lily pads. They are often seen naturally in ponds, and you might even see a little frog hitching a ride on one of these plants. The lily blossom that appears helps to even shade areas of the pond, and they help to reduce algae growth and to keep the water clear and clean.

Pygmy Water Lilies – You can also find pygmy water lilies, which are not as large as the water lilies many of us think of. These plants are perfect for small ponds or garden tubs.

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Water Hawthorn – This plant produces white flowers with a black center that have a beautiful fragrance. The green leaves are stunning, and they bloom for much of the year in warmer climates. This plant is gorgeous when paired with water lilies.

Water Lettuce – This looks like a floating head of lettuce and is a fun and unique plant to put in a water garden. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t grow well in cooler climates.

Lizard’s Tail – This plant features white flowers and has heart-shaped leaves. The plant blooms in the summer, and it required full sun.

Duckweed – This floating plant is a great addition to any pond that houses fish. The plant is a gorgeous shade of green, and it offers food and shelter to any wildlife that lives in the pond.

Water Cress – This plant quickly grows, and it has cute little white flowers. It needs a lot of sun, but the nice thing about water cress is that you can eat it.

Japanese Iris – Finally, we have Japanese iris, which has dark red, purple, or white flowers. They need a lot of sun, and only grow in warmer climates, as they tend to bloom in November and December.

Caring for Aquatic and Underwater Plants

If you love gardening, or you have an area that could handle a nice water feature, you might want to consider planting underwater plants. An aquatic garden is awe inspiring, and very unique, so many people want one…but they do take a certain amount of care.

One of the things you must make sure of is that you are choosing the right flowers for your area. For example, the water iris and water lily are pretty hardy, so they can stand some overnight frost. However, aquatic plants like golden button require a warmer climate. Plants that are totally submerged, like eel grass and banana plants can last through colder weather, and since they give off a lot of oxygen, if you have snails or fish in the pond, they are a great choice.

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Also, remember this: the bigger your pond, the better and stronger the ecosystem will be. However, if you can only have a small water garden, you should make sure to add the water filter. You also need to make sure that your container is deep.

It’s also important to lay soil at the bottom of container at a depth of about 2 to 3 inches deep. To keep the soil from mixing with the water, add gravel or heavy pebbles on top of it. You can also take flower pots and submerge them.

To make sure that your plants look healthy, you should take time every few weeks to check the pond for any invasive aquatic plants that might sneak into your pond or container. Temperature is important, too, so you might want to install a heater if you live in a colder climate. Check the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide, too, and make sure that you also check the pH of the water. Finally, make sure that you regularly remove any rooting or dead plant material from the pond.

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