Recently, I've been interested in growing flora of the aquatic kind. I've always dreamt of having a lily pond and thanks to a generous fish-rearing friend of mine, I've acquired a pretty large, used tank to fulfill my fantasy. Thanks to my parents and gardening friends too, I've got quite a lot of aquatic plants from my recent trip to Kuala Lumpur and Sg. Buloh nurseries.
Water lilies (Nymphaea sp.) are a must-have for any pond, with their lovely, colourful flowers and iconic lilypads. These are tropical day-blooming water lilies, with flowers that open in the day and close in the evening. They produce a mild fragrance and are attractive to bees, which have help pollinated some of my flowers. Once pollinated, the flower stems will sink into the water and the flower heads will curve upwards. In about a month, the fruits will burst to release hundreds of tiny seeds to the water surface.
Finally, after about 5 years, my crimson night-blooming lily (Nymphaea 'Red Flare') have bloomed. The lilypads have toothed edges and are bronze in colour. The fragrant, crimson blossoms open at night and close in the morning.
The lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), a sacred flower in Buddhism, is also a popular aquatic plant with edible tubers and seeds. After a long battle with voracious caterpillars, both my pink and white lotus are flowering again. The large, round leaves are superhydrophobic and attractive in a way too.
The water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) is a very invasive and fast grower which floats on the water surface. They have extremely tiny and drab flowers, but the lettuce-like leaves are the attractive parts. They reproduce asexually very quickly, so I have to toss some away from time to time to prevent them from crowding out the pond. However, they are beneficial since they remove excess nutrients from the water, thus limiting algae growth.
The mosaic plant (Ludwigia sedioides) is another aquatic plant with attractive foliage. The leaves float on the surface of the water and are arranged in a mosaic-like pattern, hence the common name. They have yellow flowers, but mine has yet to produce them.
Marginal water plants produce a nice contrast with water lilies and other floaters. The bulltongue arrowhead (Sagittaria lancifolia) on the left have elongated leaves and small white blossoms. The water canna (Thalia geniculata) on the right have canna-like leaves and grows very tall flower stalks with cute, purplish flowers.
Here's my tank, which I've spent days arranging and adjusting the plants in. I'm also rearing red swordtail fish inside the tank to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. They've even bred and produced plenty of fries. Seeing them swimming around the plants, I feel tranquil and relaxed.
Until next time!