waterfall plants

daveyjApril 30, 2007

I tired of trying to find an answer to this question through the search fields. I think I actually asked this question years ago and never got an answer.

What marginal water plants, hardy or tropical, have y'all had luck with situated next to a waterfall where they receive constant splashing to some degree from the waterfall.

I've got a four foot tall fall that drops vertically to the main pond and splashes quite a bit as it hits a few jutting rocks on the way down. I have shelve space (12 inches deep) directly adjacent to both sides of the fall, and would really like a taller marginal plant to "frame" the waterfall; it would have to be able to handle being constantly wet from the splashing waterfall.

Over the last ten years I've experimented with several plants: irises, cattails, lizard tail, etc, but all eventually subcumb to being constantly wet.

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I asked a similar question not too long ago and was told that watercress, which you can buy in the produce department at the super market, likes that kind of atmosphere. I haven't tried it yet because in my case it would be difficult to control. The person that told me this said that it tends to take over and you would need access to thin it out.
Again I haven't tried it, just passing on the information as I understood it.
I wonder if anyone has tried water hyacinth.
Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: My pond the way it was before the freeze.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 9:05PM
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A Bacopa - Lemon plant will do great next to a waterfall and can take a splashing but it isnt a tall plant. If you dont mind me asking where in Oklahoma are you from?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 9:38PM
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rita_mae(z5 KS)

I have spearmint growing in rocks alongside my waterfall. It gets splashed constantly. My water fall isn't near that high. The spearmint is really hardy and comes back each yr on it's own in the rocks.

When it gets too big I just cut it back. It is aggressive too but I don't have any problem in the pond. If it gets too carried away, I pull it out but some roots would remain in the rocks.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 11:28PM
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I've had flowering rush, sweet flag, and horsetail planted on the shelves and in between where the waterfall comes down. All have done well. The sweet flag that I had tucked in bare root along the edges of the waterfall drops survived my cold winter even without water or any cover so it's a good choice here anyways. In my climate the sweet flag doesn't get very tall only about a ft but the rush is about 2 ft high. I also grow water poppy at the base of the falls--doesn't seem to mind the splashing at all and last year spread about 4 ft diameter from the pot. My water lilies don't like being near the splashing but you probably knew that. When I had hyacinths near the falls those bulby things they get turned brown faster than the hyacinths that were away from the falls.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 1:45AM
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Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) lived over in my pond, and it's not in my (Sunset) zone. Two to four feet tall, 1 ft. wide, flame red flowers in summer. It's a bog plant in nature, so ample moisture isn't a problem. It would make a nice frame for your falls. :)


    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 9:46AM
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Thanks for the replies so far. Am hoping to hear from more out there. So far, it looks like the flowering rush may be my best bet (mainly hieght wise); now finding it may be a whole other issue. Here in Tulsa (since teri904 asked) there really is no good place to buy water plants; the one or two places that do sell, sell tiny plants, few varieties, and they cost an arm and a leg. Don't think I've ever seen flowering rush though. jalal, I've seen beautiful sweet flag specimens in magazines that are several feet tall, but never seen anything but a "miniature " version in my area. I've grown and given away tons of it in the last ten years - never got it to grow more than 10 inches tall? I may have to try a mail order place for whatever y'all may suggest. Any suggestions to good companies? Also anyone in OK know of any real places that sell pond plants? I travel somewhat with my job, so I do get around the state somewhat. (Hmmmm, that reminds me, I need to get back to the NE part of the state where some gorgeous, mature horsetail grows in abundance.)

I do like the cardinal flower idea. youreit, do you grow it where it receives constant splashing? Also, for some unknow reason, I have never had any luck growing this plant. It's always been one of my favorites; I've admired it for many years before even having a pond, and because my pond is almost complete shade, you'd think I'd have no problem. Is there some trick I don't know about?

Am experimenting with the watercress in a floating basket (to keep the fish out) UNDER my waterfall. The last rock the fall hits is a large 3 foot diameter sheet rock before it enters the pond. You can kind off see the piping that goes from the pond to the waterfall/filter under there, so I am going to try a floating basket setup. The watercress may even spread under and past the falling water. I may try spearmint in this same fashion after reading rita mae's post.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 12:39PM
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Here is a good on line place to order plants


and if you ever get this far down here is a place that has lots of water plants. I only been there once last summer but seem to have a lot of different kind.

Unit Liner Company
7801 North Kickapoo
Shawnee, OK 74804
Toll Free: (866) 766-3548
(405) 275-4600

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 1:39PM
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I bought a water hibiscus last year and have that near waterfall and it did great and it grew to over 3 feet tall.
This is hardy in zone 7-10. I brought it in over the winter and is now coming back to life.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 2:56PM
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If there's a trick to growing cardinal flower, I think I missed it, Davey. LOL I just took it out of the pot, rinsed off the soil, and plopped it in my pond. I didn't think it would return after our strange winter temps into the low 20s, but it's growing like crazy now....in mostly shade, too.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 8:26AM
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mycatsbc, does your hibiscus get constant splashing?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 2:04PM
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Yes the hibiscus gets constant splashing from the waterfall.

I built a small 35 gallon pond with a waterfall that also has a bamboo spouts that fill and drop down, that is splashing even more then the waterfall I had in the main pond. I placed the hibiscus near there for now it is coming back just fine.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 3:42PM
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james_ny(z7 NY)

How about caladiums, some grow in water? Also Elephant ears and other taro's like it wet. Even though their tropical you can store the tuber in the winter.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 11:39AM
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mooch(5a NH)

I wouldnt plant any type of mint every again in my falls/streams. I planted chocolate mint in a single pot a few years ago and agressive isnt the term for it. I actually pulled my entire stream apart this early spring to remove the stuff and sure enough.. It is back again.

I also planted spearmint in my herb garden a like 5 years ago and it still tries to come back each year. Amazing little plants which yes do look nice on the side of the stream but takes a good amount of maintance imo.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 12:35PM
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Hardscape materials there in Tulsa sells some water plants, but I'm sure you've been there.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 4:19PM
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Hey missa7, are you in the Tulsa area? I hit Hardscape frequently for various reasons. They do have a lot of cool stuff, not just water pond stuff. They are pretty much the only game in town for pond plants here. BUT, I do find them pricey on a lot of things ($15 for parrot feather???), however, like any business, you can come across a good deal/unusual finds there. Really cool place!! If some entrenpeneur (sorry, haven't figured out spell check on this site)opened up a real water plant place anywhere close to Tulsa, they would make a killing.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 11:07PM
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I'm in Cushing. Yea, they are kind of high & we thought the same thing about someone opening something like that.

I was surprised to find some pond plants other than lilies at Lowe's this year.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 11:16PM
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I'm in So Calif I have a 3 foot elephant ear in a large basket in my pond..it gets splashed and it grows like crazy.I've had to divide it numerous times. I also have Impatients growing in my water fall. Just rise their roots clean of soil and tuck them under or around the rocks.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 11:55PM
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Not sure if anyone is still looking at this thread, but a great place to buy plants is:
Scroll down to Plants on the left column. They have quite a few floating, marginals, and tall plants as well as Water Lilies and offers tips on their growing habits and preferences.

P.S., I'm in Tulsa, also

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 4:07PM
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Best place I have found is www.texaswaterlilies.com They have very big healthy plants much bigger and nicer than other places I've ordered from. Glenda

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 5:56PM
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Everyone...you forgot the obvious...FERNS...almost any kind. Ferns are actually native to high water areas and in some cases prefer it. A fern in a water fall just looks natural, as well as some moss and some small oriental grasses.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 10:58AM
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froggie107(NW Ind)

I agree with Mooch... NO MINT.. I am still trying to get rid of it. One cute, nice smelling Chocolate mint plant became 2 garbage cans full after 1 year and I am still pulling it up 3 years later. It rooted its way all around the sides of my pond. What a nightmare!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 12:50AM
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You may want to try water celery or chameleon. Yellow sweet flag is super hardy and can stand alot of abuse. Good Luck, Gail

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 1:51AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Try the exchange section of this forum or other pond forums for good deals on pond plants. Many are invasive and people are constantly dividing them.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 1:40PM
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Looking for plants for a man-made waterfall of round rocks,
with ca. 10 ft. drop, that the deer won't eat. In Helotes,
Tx where it is hot & dry right now.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 5:02PM
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