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Aquatic Plants

The Martha Stewart Show, September 2010

Broaden the greenery in your backyard by incorporating aquatic plants. These plants that grow in water thrive in both earth-bottom and liner ponds as well as water-garden containers. John Courtney, greenhouse manager for Aquascapes Unlimited, shares the best varieties for completing your pond.

Earth-Bottom-Pond Aquatic Plants
Natural earth-bottom ponds are perfect for property with good clay soil and flat ground. When dealing with an earth-bottom pond, avoid fast-spreading reseeding nonnative plants.

Pickerel Rush
The heart-shaped leaves and striking blue flowers of the pickerel rush, which blooms from early June through October, attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and dragonflies.

Tussock Sedge
A lovely ornamental grass, tussock sedge acts as a soil stabilizer and will help to hold the bank of a pond in place.

Graceful Cattail
Less aggressive than the wild cattail, the graceful cattail is ideal for small water gardens.

Liner-Pond Aquatic Plants
Though man-made, liner ponds can be easily naturalized by adding the right plants.

Umbrella Palms
A tropical plant grown and used for its ornamental sprays of palmlike foliage, the umbrella palm can be used as a focal point in a water lily pool or en mass for sweeps of tropical lushness.

Sacred Lotus
Revered as a symbol of spiritual perfection, the sacred lotus has enchanted humans for more than 3,000 years. Its seed heads can be dried and used for floral arrangements.

Pitcher Plants
Pitcher plants are known for their insect-eating foliage -- beautifully colored leaves of chartreuse, pink, deep red, and white.

For more information, visit or the International Waterlily & Water Gardening Society at

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