What is a Water Garden Plant?
Any aquatic plant that can be used in a water garden (note; usually fresh water) is a water garden plant, as well as any plant that may go around the water garden. Water plants need nutrients, sunlight and carbon dioxide (CO2) to survive and flourish. Aquaculture (or the culture of fish) can be used to give water garden plants the nutrients they need, such as ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3-). There are just four main categories of water plants to be aware of, floaters, underwater, underwater-floaters and bog plants.
Water plants, like any other plant, need nutrients to grow, from the time they are seedlings, to the full adult. Whether the plants receive nutrients indirectly from clayey underwater soil, directly from the water itself or both, they use carbon dioxide and photosynthesis to create energy for development and in turn give off oxygen, as a byproduct. Sunlight in day hours will indeed allow plants to give off oxygen, but in the night hours, they actually consume oxygen. Not all aquatic fresh water plants need lots of sunlight, in fact many rooted underwater plants, are well adapted to anaerobic shady environments and can do well in the deeper regions of ponds and lakes.
Nutrient rich soil and water can be obtained by providing fertilization tablets or drops, that are store bought, but in nature this resource is best obtained from fish waste, as well as CO2. For the fish, this can be very beneficial, as the natural role of most underwater plants is to oxygenate the water, which fish inhale, and consume the carbon dioxide, which fish exhale. Many aquatic plants also serve well the purpose of food for fish, such as When thinking sustainable, it can be difficult if not near impossible, to provide the ideal balance in smaller environments, such as a tub container or even a bowl or aquarium.
In recent years the trend for hydroponic cultivation using a sustainable plant as food for the fish, and the over balance in fish waste as nutrient rich grow medium for the hydroponic plants, has been called aquaponics, as the two systems blend into one word. This kind of water gardening is far closer to the traditional sense of raising food in the garden, however, and less directed to aesthetics. Beauty however, is in the mind’s eye of the gardener, and aquaponic plants are still a part of the water garden, as they cleanse the water, in more sustainable fashion, making changing the water, less necessary, if not virtually unnecessary.
Freshwater, water plants can be divided into four main categories. Those adapted to bogs, floaters, underwater plants, and underwater-floaters. The main difference between each kind of plant is, grow and light medium. For example, both tropical and hardy water lilies, like to grow in a loamy (clayey) soil, in shallow water, so they can float their flower lilies at the surface of the water; these are underwater-floaters, as they do both. Butterfly ferns, a hardy floater that makes a great fish treat, don’t require soil medium and take their nutrients directly from the water, while floating on the surface of the water. Anacharis is the most common kind of store sold underwater plant, and likes deeper regions, loamy soils, and loves to produce oxygen. Bog plants on the other hand, desperately need sunlight, they usually grow around the pond in the loamiest of soils, or in the shallowest regions and they can take the form of shrubs, flowers and even semi-trees.
The water garden plant is a broad area that revolves around the enchanting garden of water. It can be directly a water plant, a bog plant, a vertical aquaponic head of lettuce, even some moss growing on the rocks around a waterfall. If it’s a plant, and it’s in the water garden, then it falls into that category. But mostly they are freshwater plants, and maintain the same concepts of growth and development as all plants do. Water garden plants need nutrients, carbon dioxide and light to survive and live healthy lives.