Floating water plants are the ultimate in easy care water gardening. Floating plants simply float effortlessly in the pond creating shade, protection, and filteration to your pond. There are many types of floating plants although some are very invasive and need to be maintained and trimmed.
Water Hyacinth are well known for their lavender-blue flowers and shiny green leaf. The leaves are spongy and inflated at the base allowing them to float in water. They can reach about 12" high with a running spread. Hyacinths are great for pond filteration as their roots draw nutrients out of the water that would otherwise promote algae growth. The roots of the water hyacinths are black and feathered and can grow as long as 12" and must be trimmed back or thinned out periodically to prevent decompostion is the pond. These are very invasive plants and need to be trimmed often.
Water Lettuce are known for the stong resemblance to a head of lettuce or cabbage. The color of the leaves are typically light green or lime green and are spongy and crinkled. At full maturity a single leaf can reach up to 12" in height and several inches wide and overall may reach up to more than 24" in diameter. It grows best in partial shade in hot climates but can tolerate full shade. Flowers are very tiny and white that appear just at the base of the leaves.
The Sensitive Plant has leaflets that are opposite, growing on either side of the petiole arranged to resemble dragonfly wings. A Sensitive Plant will contract at the slightest touch. Its flowers are yellow tufts about 1" wide and appear throughout the summer on the running stems. Although it is often sold as a single stem floating plant, it can also be planted in soil at the edge of the pond where it can reach about 6" long. The Sensitive Plant prefers full to partical sun.