Aquatic Plants: Characteristics And Cultivation
Aquatic plants are a scenic alternative for any type of green space and garden. The term “aquatic” or “hydrophytic” or “hydrophytic” refers to those plants that have managed to adapt to survive in or near aquatic environments and which, in order to develop harmoniously and effectively, need abundant quantities of water.
How Aquatic Plants Are Classified
These plants have different ways of developing vegetation and according to these they can be classified into different groups:
- shore plants, i.e. those whose roots are rooted in the soil and normally grow at a depth of water that never exceeds 1 metre;
- plants with floating leaves, whose roots are anchored in the bottom of the body of water;
- submerged plants, entirely covered by water;
- floating plants, which generally move on the surface of the water.
The aquatic plants exist in an immense variety of forms, which represent the fruit of the attempt of these botanical entities to survive and adapt to the presence of water.
Aquatic Plants: Characteristics
Aquatic plants have a thin cuticle, which performs the important function of preventing too much water from being dispersed. Their stomata are open for almost all the time, as the plant has abundant amounts of water at its disposal. Unlike other botanical species, aquatic plants have a higher number of stomata, which are usually found on both sides of the foliage.
Aquatic plants are characterised by a light and flexible “frame”, as this allows them to better tolerate the pressure exerted by the water.
Some varieties, such as water lilies, float thanks to the leaves they have. Their roots are tiny, because their role is limited to the absorption of nutrients, among which are also the oxygen they find in the environment and in the water from which they are abundantly surrounded.
Precisely because of their limited function, the roots of aquatic plants are also called “feather-shaped”, because they do not need to support the plant.
Aquatic plants are very fast growing and therefore often compete with the other botanical species they are surrounded by.
For this reason, when they are planted, it is indispensable to pay the maximum attention to the type of vegetation which will surround them.
How Aquatic Plants Are Treated
To take care of aquatic plants, no major maintenance works are necessary: often intervening on them, in fact, risks compromising and damaging their micro-climate and vital balance.
They are very resistant and vigorous perennial plants, which are not frequently affected by attacks from aphids and other insects.
Aquatic plants, in most cases, love a largely sunny exposure. To prevent them from being compromised, it is preferable to shelter the more delicate plants in a frost-protected place or in a heated greenhouse when the winter season arrives.
The ideal soil for successful cultivation is garden soil mixed with manure. After planting, the plants should be well watered.
Aquatic plants are as beautiful and decorative as they are delicate and demanding in cultivation, which is why it is highly recommended to study their characteristics before starting to grow them, in order to better understand their cultivation needs. Some of these plants are very large in size and are therefore only suitable for large bodies of water; others, on the contrary, are smaller in size and, therefore, can be used to decorate and revive smaller and smaller water basins.
What Are The Indispensable Conditions For The Cultivation Of Aquatic Plants?
One of the essential elements for successful cultivation is soil. They can be grown in any type of pot or container, but what counts is that it is waterproof and resistant to oxidation. Once you have chosen the container in which the plants are to be grown, the next step is to fill it with half of the potting soil. It must consist of peat, natural fertilizer and sand.
Finish the planting with a layer of sand, so that the soil remains attached to the plant even when water is poured in. Now it is a good idea to plant the seeds in the soil: from it the aquatic plants will get the essential nutrients and grow effectively.
For the cultivation of aquatic plants in large ponds, ponds or water basins, it is necessary to create a layer of soil measuring at least 30 cm.
A very important factor for the correct growth of aquatic plants is acclimatisation. For example:
- In areas with a warmer climate, the container or basin must be deeper than in cold areas, because in summer the water tends to overheat if the level is too low, releasing essential nutrients into the environment.
- Conversely, in countries with a harsh climate, the container or basin must be shallow to allow the water present to heat up quickly and completely.
In order to ensure long life for aquatic plants, it is advisable to check the water level often, as this can be reduced by evaporation.