Many varieties of plants grow above the surface of the water to provide visual interest. Found growing on ponds and lakes, water plants have underwater roots that anchor and feed the plant during its growing season. Grown in a wide range of colors, shapes and sizes, many aquatic plant flowers grow in both deep and shallow waters where they shoot over the surface. Often, the foliage of these plants floats on the surface to help support the flowers.
Water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes) is a variety of aquatic plant that shoots above the surface of the water. The lavender to blue blooms of water hyacinth are speckled with yellow spots for a striking addition to the water. Growing on 6-inch spikes to sit over the water, water hyacinth have long, dandling roots that are feathery and have the potential to become invasive. The rounded, balloon-like leaves or petioles on water hyacinth are pale green to hold up the pale flowers. Water hyacinth thrives in warm water and outdoor temperatures. Use water hyacinth in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 8 to 11.
Isabelle Pring Water Lily
Isabelle Pring is a variety of water lily that grows above the surface for a bright garden display. A day-blooming water plant, the large 7- to 10-inch flowers are creamy white to contrast with the deep green foliage. The flowerheads on Isabelle Pring water lilies are star-shaped and fragrant. Isabelle Pring water lilies have bright green leaves with purple flecks that grow 12 to 14 inches wide and spread of 5 to 7 feet. Isabelle Pring water lilies thrive in medium to large water gardens. Versatile, they tolerate both cold and shade. Plant in USDA zone 11.
Water poppy (Hydrocleys nymphoides) has pale yellow blooms that grow over the surface of the water. Growing 2 to 2 ½ inches wide, the water poppy flowerhead has a red to brown center. Standing above the water, the flowers produce a mass of blooms in the garden. The thick, heart-shaped leaves of water poppy are dark green and grow 2 to 4 inches wide. The leaves attach themselves to the long, trailing stems. Water poppy flowers prefer shallow water gardens, around 6 inches deep, but survive in water up to 15 inches deep. Water poppies can be overwintered indoors in a shallow container as long as they have adequate moisture and light. Plant in USDA zone 11.