My Favorite Aquatic Plants

Published on May 1, 2010

Plant Name: Aponogeton distachyus; Plant Common Name: Water Hawthorne
Plant Name: Aponogeton distachyus; Plant Common Name: Water Hawthorne

**Kelly Billing**
Maryland Aquatic Nurseries, Inc.

**1st Selection**
Plant Name: *Nelumbo*
Plant Common Name: Lotus
I’ve been falling in love with lotus for many years. It is the plant that keeps on giving. I have grown to love it through my children’s eyes as well as my own. We have cultivated it, admired its beauty, folded its flowers, played games with it, worn it, eaten it and more. It is the easiest and most captivating gem in my garden, requiring little care with stunning rewards. Lotus is a highly versatile plant with a broad range of sizes and colors available. Admired by many it has endless character, rich history and cultural importance. The physical properties, food and medicinal values make it one of the most researched plants in the world. See page 46 for a picture of Kelly’s son, Matthew with this great plant.
“I begin to feel * ‘The Lotus Quest’* was just a sketch or the smallest sample of the true enormity of *Nelumbo. *” – Mark Griffiths, referring to his recent documentary.

**2nd Selection**
Plant Name: *Iris laevigata ‘Variegata’ *
Plant Common Name: Variegated Rabbit Ear Iris
A stunning variegated iris that holds the creamy white splashes on the blades throughout the summer. Each leaf appears to be painted by hand independently on the front and back sides. The subtle variations in color command a closer look especially when illuminated by the sun from behind. Mild mannered and slow growing it isn’t particularly tolerant of dry conditions. It is a true aquatic iris that thrives in as much as 6˝ to 8˝ deep of water; often confused with *Iris pallida ‘Variegata, ’ * which is not aquatic and prefers dry soil. The flowers are absent any color other than the crisp violet/blue and white; the perfect complement to the bold striped foliage. This iris is not so easy to find but well worth the search.

**3rd Selection**
Plant Name: *Orontium aquaticum*
Plant Common Name: Golden Club
Golden Club is like skunk cabbage in that it is up and awake very early in the spring; a clear sign that warmer, sunny spring days will soon arrive. It is always a welcome sight. A stream, creek or river dweller, golden club loves a current. It is perfectly suited to growing in a stream amongst the rocks or planted in a container snuggly set in the path of moving water. It suffers from little or no insect pests or disease and requires little care. My own have been in one gallon containers for five years with no attention paid to them at all. They are completely carefree, tolerant and quite beautiful. They are often a tough sell because it takes them a couple of years of growth to be in their glory. They grow best in 6˝ to 8˝ deep of water with a half day of shade either morning or afternoon.

Kelly Billing (author, *The Lotus Know It and Grow It*)
Maryland Aquatic Nurseries, Inc.
3427 N Furnace Road
Jarrettsville, MD 21084
877-736-1807 toll free
410-557-7615 Fax 410-692-2837 •

**Rowena Burns**
Burns Water Gardens
Current Treasurer of IWGS

**1st Selection**
Plant Name: *Sagittaria montevidensis*
Plant Common Name: Aztec Arrowhead
For me, Aztec Arrrowhead is one of the most elegant plants in the pond, with a mature plant producing continuous blooms for months. In cold climates if the plant is put in a greenhouse for the winter season, it will bloom all year except for a few weeks in midwinter when the days are very short. A mature Aztec Arrowhead constantly produces large substantial bloom spikes. The flower is striking, consisting of three white petals, with a scarlet patch at the base of each petal. By midsummer, the graceful Aztec Arrowhead will be at least two feet tall with a spread as wide. The arching leaf stems display broad arrow-shaped leaves, which provide a handsome background to the flowers. This plant is easy to grow if well fertilized in a good-sized container, with plenty of sunlight and warmth.

**2nd Selection**
Plant Name: *Hippuris vulgaris*
Plant Common Name: Marestail
I think Marestail is one of the most unique looking plants in the water garden. The numerous vertical stems heavily covered with narrow leaves, resemble a grove of miniature Christmas trees in the pond. It likes to travel, not being very concerned that its roots are in soil, and the vertical fuzzy stems can pop up a good distance away from its original pot, standing straight for up to a foot in height. It is very versatile, able to grow in wet mud, shallow water and even in water a couple of feet deep. In deep, fast flowing water, the fine leaves lengthen to 2˝ to 3˝, and the stems become soft and wavy. It can actually be used as an oxygenator, and may make a great filter plant. This unique native plant deserves to be more widely known, and enjoyed for its unusual charm.

**3rd Selection**
Plant Name: *Aeschynome fluitans*
Plant Common Name: Giant Water Sensitive Plant or Botswana Wonder
Giant Sensitive Plant is a horizontal vine that covers large areas of the pond surface with its dainty leaves and bright flowers. This astounding plant can grow 10´ or more even in a Northern summer, with sturdy reddish-brown stems branching as it spreads across the pond. The numerous oval leaves line up on either side of leaf stalks, which sprout frequently on either side of the stems. It blooms fairly constantly, with sturdy yellow flowers much resembling that of the pea family. The leaves close very slowly when touched, charming both children and adults. Its amazing growth and showy appearance make this absolutely extreme plant justified by its nickname of Botswana Wonder. I feel that the unusual appearance of Giant Sensitive Plant gives the pond a magical touch.

**Rowena Burns**
Burns Water Gardens
RR # 2
2419 Van Luven Road, Baltimore
Ontario K0K 1C0 Canada
905-372-2737 Fax 905-372-8625

**Tish Folsom**
Springdale Water Gardens
Former President of IWGS

**1st Selection**
Plant Name: *Sagittaria* ‘Crushed Ice’
Plant Common Name: Crushed Ice
This is a favorite plant because it is a seedling I found while weeding sagittaria out of other pots. I asked Keith if it was worth saving and he agreed we should see what happened with it. We spent a whole winter a few years later writing names on the refrigerator door trying to find just the right name. It grows really well in a lot of shade.

**2nd Selection**
Plant Name: *Lugwegia sediodes*
Plant Common Name: Mosaic Plant
This has to be one of the most unique floating- leaved plants around. The whorls of leaves create a mosaic- like pattern on the water surface. Very easy to grow when the water temperatures are high enough.

**3rd Selection**
Plant Name: *Nymphaea* ‘Pink Grapefruit’
Plant Common Name: Waterlily ‘Pink Grapefruit’
I love the flower color and the way the flower sits above the water surface. I also love the way the name is similar to the flower color.

**Tish Folsom**
Springdale Water Gardens
340 Old Quarry Lane
Greenville, VA 24440

**Jim Purcell**
Oregon Aquatics, Inc.
Current President of IWGS

**1st Selection**
Plant Name: *Caltha polypetala*
Plant Common Name: Giant Marsh Marigold
It is a very pretty, very early blooming cold and shade tolerant aquatic. Marsh Marigold has been around for a long time, but Giant Marsh Marigold is larger, much more heat tolerant in summer, and usually re-blooms in the fall. In hot climates, position in shade and running water.

**2nd Selection**
Plant Name: *Aponogeton distachyus*
Plant Common Name: Water Hawthorne
Grows similar to a waterlily, but is smaller, with long, narrow floating leaves. Abundant blooms very early in the spring, and flowers smell like vanilla. Tends to go dormant in hot summer weather, but excellent for spring and fall, before and after waterlilies are at their peak. In our mild Oregon climate, they usually bloom year round; in hot climates, they bloom in fall, winter and spring.

**3rd Selection**
Plant Name: *Thalia geniculata*
Plant Common Name: Red Stem Thalia
Large and striking specimen plant, with bright red stems when grown in full sun. Grow in large pot for full effect.

**Jim Purcell**
Oregon Aquatics Inc.
90760 North Prairie Rd.
Eugene, Oregon 97402
Wholesale Only
Contact: Verena Liechti, President
Fax: 541-689-3980
Southwest Aquatics LLC.
20634 Avenue 256
Exeter, California 93221
Wholesale Only
Fax: 559-594-4930

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