Planting a Koi Salad Bar
By Julie Mancini
Pond plants can provide vital nutrients for your koi, and many fish seem to enjoy nibbling on the flora. Several plants can do double duty as decorative elements and koi snacks.
Duckweed is a floating pond plant that can overtake ponds quickly. It requires little care from owners except for regular removal with a net to prevent it from completely covering the pond and blocking out sunlight. Duckweed provides a food source as well as a hiding place for smaller koi. It prefers medium sun.
Fairy moss is another floating pond plant. This aquatic fern can grow rapidly and overtake a pond unless it is controlled. It prefers shade.
Parrot’s feather is an easy-to-care-for floating plant. Its feathery leaves provide hiding places for smaller koi. It also provides pond shade. Parrot’s feather is versatile — it can grow in wet soil above water level as well as on the pond surface — so it can be used along the edge of your pond or in rocky crevices. It prefers full sun.
Sweet flag is a background potted plant available in variegated or all-green varieties. Sweet flag requires annual repotting to grow successfully, and it can send out offshoots that can develop into additional plants. It likes sun to partial shade.
Umbrella palm is suited for edge-of-the-pond placement as an accent element. This unusual plant needs to be planted in a 2- to 5-gallon container of nutrient-rich soil. It prefers sun to partial shade.
Water celery can be used as a potted plant alongside the pond or as a floating flora on the pond. This plant comes in several spotted varieties or all green. It prefers full sun to partial shade.
Water hyacinth can be a prolific pond dweller. This floating flowering plant can be invasive, quickly taking over a pond. It stays afloat thanks to a small rosette of leaves that acts as an air pocket to keep the plant on the pond’s surface. The water hyacinth helps clean the water by absorbing extra nutrients and reducing algae, and it provides hiding places for smaller koi and shade for the pond. It prefers full sun. Because this plant is an invasive species, check with local experts to find out if it can be included in your area. <HOME>