Floating Plants, as in the following, Water Hyacinths, Water Lettuce, Frog Bit, Water Mimosa, Botswana Wonder, Duckweed, Azolla and Salvinia are all considered true, floating plants. There is some basic information you should be aware of before you purchase these plants or place them in your pond.
All of the plants listed above are considered tropicals and do best in water that is 65 degrees or warmer and will perish in water temperatures below 50 degrees.
When you receive your floating plants, they should be kept in indirect sunlight for the first 72 hours, perhaps in a large container filled with pond water and placed in a shaded area, in indirect sunlight, on the north side of your house. Not indoors or in an aquarium. Roots should be face down in the water and the plants should not be stacked upon each other, as this will suffocate most or all of the plants.
Water Hyacinths (Eichornia crassipies) is an aquatic plant that is native to the Amazon Basin. Water Hyacinths are free-floating, have round, thick, emerald green leaves that grow on the surface of the water. The flowers are a beautiful shade of lavender-blue. The plant grows rather quickly, providing shade for fish and aids in algae elimination by competing for the same nutrients. Water Hyacinths are often used for water treatment plants and in bio-filters, as Water Hyacinth roots clean impurities and small particles from the water. Water Hyacinths grow well in full sun to part shade. When you receive your Water Hyacinths,remove them from the box immediately and place them root side down, in a large container of pond water and place them in indirect sunlight (on the north side of your house, if possible) for the first 72 hours. Make sure the plants are not stacked on top of each other and do make sure that each plant has their roots in the water. When placing your plants on the surface of the water, again, make sure that the roots are facing down. It will take a day or two for your plants to become acclimated to your pond. Water Hyacinths are considered Annuals in northern states. As of August, 2017, Water Hyacinths are illegal in AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, MS, SC, TX and WI.
Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) A free- floating plant that has thick, velvety-green leaves that grow in a spiral pattern, forming rosettes. The plant itself resembles a small head of cabbage or lettuce, hence the name, Water Lettuce. The plants form dense clumps of foliage that grow rather quickly on the water's surface. Often used in water purification plants around the world. Also great for filtering the water in ponds, lakes and slow moving bodies of water. Water Lettuce helps to add shade to your pond as well as helping to aid in the uptake of nutrients from the water and thus helps reduce algae.Water Lettuce grow well in full sun to part shade. When you receive your Water Lettuce, remove it from the box immediately. Place your Water Lettuce in a large container of pond water, roots facing down and place in indirect sunlight(on the north side of your house if possible) for the first 72 hours. Make sure your plants are not stacked upon each other and that their roots are touching the water. Allow your Water Lettuce to acclimate in this large container. When placing the Water Lettuce in your pond, make sure the roots are facing down. Water Lettuce are considered annuals in the northern states. As of August 2017, Water Lettuce are RESTRICTED in the following states: FL, LA, TX, CA, AL, SC and WI.
Frog Bit (Limnobium laevigatum) has small, round, green leaves that float on the surface of the water. The plant itself originates from South America. The leaves are around 3/4 of an inch to an inch and 1/2, and the plants are quite small, with shiny green leaves and small white roots beneath the leaf. Frog Bit can be free floating or may be rooted in soil. Whether you plant your Frog Bit in soil or allow it to float, the plants have leaves that float on the surface of the water and do well in full sun to part shade. When placing Frog Bit on the surface of the pond, make sure the roots are facing down. Frog Bit does well in Full sun to part shade and is considered an annual in northern climates. When you receive your Frog Bit, remove it from the box immediately and place it in a container of pond water with roots facing down, place this container on the north side of your house, in indirect sunlight, if possible. Allow your Frog Bit to remain in this container for 72 hours before placing in your pond. Frog Bit is illegal in CA
Sensitive Plant (Neptunia oleracea) Often called Water Mimosa, a creeping plant whose leaves close upon touch. Plants float gracefully upon the surface of the water and in summer, bright yellow flowers adorn the frilly leaves. Grows well in full sun to part shade and is considered a tropical or annual in the northern states. Sensitive Plant is used as a protein filled vegetable in many recipes in Thai cuisine.When you receive your plants, remove them from the box immediately and place them in a large container in water, roots facing down and place in indirect sunlight (and place on the north side of your house if possible) for about 72 hours. When placing them in your pond, make sure the roots are facing down.
Botswana Wonder (Aeschynomene fluitans) Similar to the Sensitive Plant, Botswana Wonder is larger in size and has lovely golden yellow flowers when planted in full sun.Botswana Wonder grows gracefully across the surface of the water. Once your Botswana Wonder arrives, place it in a container with pond water and place in indirect sunlight for the first 72 hours. Place in your pond in the evening, allowing the plant to acclimate further. Botswana Wonder is considered an annual in the colder, northern states. Grows well in full sun to part shade. A nice option when Water Lettuce and Water Hyacinths are prohibited.
Duckweed (Lemnoideae) are tiny,(1/16th of an inch to 1/18th of an inch) in size, round, green leaves that float on the surface of the water. Duckweed reproduces quickly, can be used to feed fish, poultry and livestock as well as waterfowl and can be used to help purify water and concentrate nutrients in the water. One of the smallest plants on the planet, it can double in size in just 24 hours! When you receive your Duckweed, remove it from the box immediately and pour the contents into a container that contains some of your pond water. Do not allow the Duckweed to pile up upon itself, make sure all plants are floating on the surface of the water. Place the container in indirect sunlight on the north side of your house if possible, and allow it to acclimate. In a day or two, you may place the Duckweed in your pond. When placing the Duckweed in your pond, once again, do not allow the Duckweed to pile up upon itself. Make sure that it is floating on the surface of the water.
Salvinia (Salvinia Minima) is a tiny floating fern that is native to South America. It is a small, free-floating plant that grows in clusters and can quickly form into mats on the surface of the water. Salvinia has small, oval leaves that are about 3/4 of an inch long. When you receive your Salvinia, remove it from the box immediately and pour the contents of the bag into a container of your pond water. Set this container aside in indirect sunlight for a day or two, allowing the Salvinia to acclimate. Do not allow the Salvinia to pile upon itself as this will smother the plants and they will die. When introducing Salvinia into the pond, place in your pond during the evening hours so that it can become acclimated overnight. Salvinia does well in part sun/part shade. Salvinia is considered an annual in the northern states.
Azolla (Azolla carolinia) also known as Fairy Moss, is an aquatic fern that grows on the surface of the water and is native to the Americas. Azolla is only 1-2 cm tall and pulls nitrogen from the air to help form a symbiotic relationship with other plants and aids in their growth. Azolla stores algae, helps to aid in algae reduction as it blocks the sun's rays from penetrating the water. Azolla has been used as a food for fish, fowl and livestock. Leaves on Azolla turn red during the cool months of spring and fall, but remain blue-green throughout the summer months. When your Azolla arrives, remove from the box immediately and place in a bucket or container with pond water and allow the Azolla to acclimate in indirect sunlight for a day or two. Placing the bucket or container on the north side of your house is ideal. Make sure the Azolla is free floating and not piled upon itself as this will cause it to smother. Once your Azolla has acclimated, gently place the Azolla in your pond in the early evening allowing it to acclimate even further. This will ensure that the harsh rays of the sun will not burn the plant. Azolla grows well in part sun to part shade, and is considered an annual in the colder, northern states.