For practical purposes, we will group together plants that we can use with their roots submerged in water. Annually we have many people asking us which plants will thrive in water. Well, here it is!
For a tropical, lush and leafy looking area, use Acorus gramineus ‘Varigatus’, A. gramineus ’Ogon’, Alocasia macrorrhiza (Elephants ear), Chondropetulum tectorum (our own South African Cape Thatch Reed), Cyperus “Papyrus”, C. proliffer, Dicromena latifolia, Equisetum virgatus, Juncus effuses, Juncus glauca, Lysmachia aurea, Oenanthe sarmentosa ‘Berula’, Plantago, Saururus cernuus, Schoenoplectus species, Schripus ‘Giant’, Thalia dealbata, Typha. Many of these plants are used to anchor soil and help stem water erosion.
To bring in some colour to the water, use Canna species for their range of multicoloured foliage as well as large flowers. Iris enseta ‘Kaemferi’ and Lobelia cardinalis are available in a range of colours. Don’t forget the indigenous Zantedeschia aethiopica.
Salix species (there are many interesting varieties) and the Taxodium distichum ‘Swamp Cypress’ are trees that can be planted into the water if need be.
Nelumbo nucifera (Lotus) bring spectacular colour to bigger expanses of water while Nelumbo nucifera (Water Lilies) can be used in ponds or even in a big pot on the patio! Simply select a wide-rimmed pot, plug the hole and waterproof the pot if it is needed. Then place bricks underneath your Water Lily container to lift it to the required height. Between 30cm to 60cm from the base of the plant to the waters, the surface is adequate.
Many of the plants on this list can be used in marginal plantings, as well as in normal gardening conditions.