Gardens - Water Gardening

Easy-care aquatic plants

7 top plants for water gardens

The Winner:
Mrs. Perry D. Slocum' Lotus

Nelumbo ‘Mrs. Perry D. Slocum'
Imagine a lotus with huge, semi-double, 30-centimetre-wide blooms that change colour and you have ‘Mrs. Perry D. Slocum'. Fragrant, peony-like flowers open pink on the first day and magically change to yellow by day three (with a tinge of pink on the underside of each petal), followed by decorative seed pods. This full-size lotus blooms all summer atop round, medium green, saucer-shaped leaves that catch water droplets and turn them into glistening jewels. Its flowers and leaves rise one to 1.25 metres (and spread equally wide) above the water. Plant the tubers of ‘Mrs. Perry D. Slocum' on the bottom of a pond (or in submerged containers) five to 45 centimetres below the water. This regal lotus requires at least five hours of sunlight for optimal growth. Zone 4.

Honourable Mentions:
• Pickerel Weed

Pontederia cordata
Height: 60 to 120 cm. Spread: 60 cm. Location: full sun or part shade. Water Depth: 15 cm. Flowers: soft blue spike; June to October. Foliage: glossy, slightly heart-shaped, deep green; plant is late to emerge in spring. Zone 4.

• Perry's Baby Red' Hardy Dwarf Lily
Nymphaea ‘Perry's Baby Red'
Height: 45 to 60 cm. Spread: 30 to 100 cm. Location: full sun. Waterdepth: 20 to 37 cm; good for small containers. Flowers: deep red, 7 cm across, slightly fragrant; summer. Foliage: emerges purple, turns green. Zone 3.

• Shell Flower a.k.a. Water Lettuce
Pistia stratiotes
Height: 25 cm. Spread: 30 cm. Location: full sun to part shade. Water Depth: minimum 10 cm; thrives in water temperatures above 20°C; overwinter indoors. Flowers: small, not showy, white and green; late summer. Foliage: medium green, velvety with fine, silver hairs. Zone: tropical.

Runners-Ups:
• 'Grandiflorus' Greater Spearwort

Ranunculus lingua ‘Grandiflorus', Zone 3

• Duck Potato
Sagittaria latifolia, Zone 5

• Dwarf Cattail
Typha laxmannii, Zone 4

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