Floating water plants help reduce pond algae by providing shade to the water. These plants provide excellent surface cover and give fish a place to hide. Floaters are an attractive addition to ponds, but they can multiply rapidly and become invasive. They also provide useful vegetation and a constant food supply for marine life.
Water lilies are often referred to as the lotus. The leaves of the water lily are heart shaped and can grow up to 12 inches in diameter. The flowers of the water lily grow on separate stalks and either floats or rises slightly above the water. They are fragrant, showy, open during the day and close at night. Water lilies are perennials that will die out in the winter and return in the spring. They grow together in thick groups and provide an excellent habitat for fish.
Water lettuce is a perennial water plant that is considered an invasive weed in parts of the Southern United States. It is a free-floating water plant with thick, fuzzy leaves that grow 1 to 6 inches wide. Water lettuce is given its name because it resembles a floating head of lettuce. It can grow rapidly and completely cover the surface area of a pond. If it is not controlled it can kill other vegetation and pond fish. The leaves of the plant form a rosette that conceals a flower in the center.
Frog's-bit is a perennial plant that is usually free floating, but it can be rooted. The round or heart-shaped leaves are thick, leathery and approximately 3 inches wide. Frog's-bit have small, white flowers that can grow above or below the water's surface. Waterfowl and fish for food often use the plant's seeds..
The water hyacinth is a free-floating perennial that is native to South America. The plant can grow up to 3 feet tall and has clusters of light blue to purple flowers that grow on long stalks. Hyacinths can become invasive and cover the entire surface area of a pond. This will deplete that oxygen and cause other plants and marine to die. These plants prefer full sunlight. It contains long, black roots under the water surface, which provides an excellent hiding place for young fish.