The snow blanketing ponds across the country brings a great time to talk about the dainty Water Snowflake you may have floating in your pond during the warmer seasons. Water snowflake (Nymphoides spp.) is part of a large family of what are commonly called waterlily-like plants because their leaves float at the surface of the water while the roots are anchored in soil below – much like the habit of a waterlily.
The plant is constantly reproducing, spreading runners out along the surface of the pond. Like water lettuce, you can pinch off the new plantlets to share with friends and help control growth. Because it’s a hardy grower, the Water Snowflake is great for ponds that suffer from constant algae blooms. The leaves will quickly spread across the water, providing shade and minimizing algae growth.
Popular snowflakes for the water garden include:
White Water Snowflake, Nymphoides indica
White Water Snowflake has round, floating, 2-inch leaves that are green with maroon variegation. Because they exchange oxygen on the surface, they need to remain dry and away from the spray of waterfalls and fountainheads. Hardy in Zones 8-11.
Yellow Water Snowflake, Nymphoides geminata
Yellow Water Snowflake has very frilly, star-shaped yellow flowers, green leaves, and is hardy in Zones 5-11. This free flowering plant has a fast-growing, running spreading habit. Ideally it grows in 4 to 24 inches of water.
Orange Water Snowflake, Nymphoides hydrocharioides
Native to Australia, this plant has orange, star-shaped flowers and bright green leaves with dark red or brown variegation, and is hardy in Zones 7-11.
Note: Some states include Water Snowflake on its list of invasive species. Check with your local government for its invasive species list.