Native Wild Plants, Many Species, and Lots of Uses
As their name suggests, native wild plants also contain wetlands. They are those that do best in wet soil or soil that’s topped with an inch or two of water. They are excellent plants to place at the margins of garden water features such as ponds, waterfalls, and fountains. Wetland plants also come to the rescue of those spots in the garden perpetually wet and where little else can grow.
Cattails are famous for the cigar shape and color of the female flowers found just below the tiny male flowers. This structure can be as long as a foot and 2 inches thick. The resulting seeds are attached to fluff that's blown away by the wind. The plant itself is from 5 to 10 feet tall, has broad, 2 inch wide leaves, and can grow in fresh or brackish water. Much of the plant is edible.
This wetland plant is prostrate but multiplies. The result is a spread of over 30 feet. The plant has small round leaves and bright yellow blooms that arrive in the summer; It has good fall color, for the leaves turn a lovely burgundy. It's a plant that's just right for a wet space in the garden, though the soil should be rich. It prefers full sun but also does well in partial shade.
The umbrella palm is not a palm but a sedge. It's grown for its fan-shaped foliage. It grows from 4 to 6 feet high in warmer parts of the country and needs to be protected in cooler climates. Umbrella palm does best in full sun to partial shade and likes acidic or mildly acidic loamy or clay soil.
Grown for its spike of pretty violet flowers that arrive in early summer till fall, this tough plant is easy to take care of. Besides the flowers, the plant has gracefully arching stems and glossy, dark green, heart-shaped leaves. The plant grows between 24 to 30 inches tall. The leaves float attractively on the water, and the flowers rise above them. The leaves also provide enough shade to deter the overgrowth of algae and provide shelter for pond fish.
The leaves of the water clover do look very much like the leaves of the clover found in lawns, but they float. Water clover multiplies and does best in full sun to part shade in wet soil or a body of water that's 3 feet deep or less.
The marsh marigold's dark green leaves contrast with its yellow, buttercup-like flowers. Indeed, it is not a marigold at all but is related to the buttercup. It grows to between 1 and 1.5 feet tall and has an equal spread. The flower arrives in April, and the plant continues to bloom through June. Though the color of the flowers is brighter in full sun, the plant also thrives in partial shade. Plant it in a bog or the shallow water right at the edge of a pond.
Wetland plants add beauty and softness to a water feature that may be a bit too severe without them. They also provide food and shelter for pond life.