Water plants grow wild in ponds, swamps, streams, bogs and marshes throughout the state of Georgia. Use commercially available varieties of the water plants in the home garden to create a private water world as close to the natural water environment in Georgia as possible.
Also known as carrizo, the giant reed (Arundo donax) belongs to the grass family. The plant resembles bamboo and grows to about 20 feet tall, producing leaves that are 2 inches wide and from 12 to 24 inches long with razor-sharp edges. The flowers grow in 1- to 2-foot long clusters standing high above the leaves. The plant grows on riverbanks and irrigation ditches in Georgia and is used to control erosion. Plant giant reed in full sun and moist to wet soil. Frost will kill the plant back to the ground, but it will re-appear the following spring. The plant is hardy in all of Georgia.
Cattail (Typha latifolia), also known as reed-mace, grows stiff stalks from 3 to 9 feet tall topped with small brown to golden flowers growing in long clusters that resemble a cat's tail. Male flowers grow on the top of the clusters, while female flowers grow on the bottom. The plant grows in brackish or freshwater marshes and on the shores of lakes, ponds and streams in Georgia. Plant cattail in full sun and in water under 16 inches in depth.
A member of the mint family, obedient plant ( Physostegia virginiana) is also known as false dragonhead. The plant produces thin, 2- to 6-inch long leaves at the base of flower stalks that grow from 2 to 4 feet tall with lavender-pink or white flowers blooming in late summer and fall. Obedient plant grows in swamps, streambanks, ditches, seepages, damp meadows and bogs throughout Georgia. Plant in full sun or light shade and a moist to wet or water-saturated soil.
The soft rush (uncus effusus) or common rush produces bright-green stems that grow to about 3 feet tall with flowers and fruit growing in clusters a few inches from the top. Soft rush grows in freshwater wetlands and marshes throughout Georgia. Plant in full sun or partial shade and in wet soil or in water up to 3 inches deep.