Wondrous Water Garden Plants

outdoors in summer at a botanical garden with a lake and water lilies with a pink floower

This year at Reiman Gardens, we are celebrating all the different aspects of water, from color, to movement, and plants that survive in water! Water plants can be separated into three different categories: shoreline plants, floating plants, and submerged plants.

Shoreline plants need to be in shallow water – less than 6” below the waterline. Planting shoreline plants softens the edge of the water.

  • Arrowhead (Sagittaria sp) – a large plant with arrow shaped leaves and white flower whorls in July.
  • Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor) – this Iris produces bluish-purple flowers and erect or arching leaves
  • Corkscrew Rush (Juncus effuses f spiralis) – a grass-like perennial that grows in coils

Floating water plants include some of the most iconic water gardening plants. These plants need to be in depths of 6-20” to thrive.

  • Waterlily (Nymphaea) – Waterlilies come in many different colors, sizes, and forms. Hardy waterlilies are typically day-flowering and can be pink, red, yellow, or white. Tropical waterlilies can be day-flowering or night-flowering but come in a wider spectrum of colors.
  • Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) – a floating plants with leathery rounded leaves and stalks of lavender flowers. This plant is not hardy but can be overwintered indoors.
  • Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) – a rosette of green leaves that floats freely on the water and creates colonies quickly.

Submerged plants may not be as ornamental as the other groups, but these plants help oxidize the surrounding water and keep pond ecosystems healthy. These plants need to be planted in the bottom of a pond more than 18” deep.

  • Wild Celery (Vallisneria americana) – a grass-like plant that grows several feet tall. Wild celery moves with the current and can add the appearance of depth and movement to a pond

Prepared by Lindsey Smith — Collections Curator