Have you ever thought about growing your own veggie and herb garden but decided against it because it’s too much work, or you don’t have time to care for it?
Aquatic gardening is the answer!
All photos in this blog post by Lisa Burns, Backyard Getaway
Edible aquatic plants are some of the easiest plants to grow and the best part is, you never have to water them!
Floating Salad Bar
A pond or water garden can be more than just a habitat for wildlife, Koi and beautiful water lilies; it can be a floating salad bar too!
I’m sure many of you are familiar with water lilies and lotus plants, but did you know that there are more than two dozen aquatic plants that are edible, including the lotus?
Here are a few common and exotic aquatics that will not only add beauty to your water garden but you can eat them!
Please remember if you’re going to eat plants from your pond, don’t add algaecides or other chemicals to the pond water.
Yuck and dangerous!
We’ll start with the Lotus (Nelumbo sp).
This plant is almost entirely edible from the seeds to the tubers.
The Tubers are the “root” of the plant and are similar to sweet potatoes.
The seeds have a nutty flavor and can be eaten peeled or whole.
In Japan, there’s a traditional lotus ceremony where wine is drank from the hollow stem of a lotus flower.
Taro & Water Chestnut
A couple of common aquatic plants are taro (Colocasia spp.) and water chestnut, (Eleoricharis spp.).
Go to any health food store and you will find taro chips.
Yes, these are the same ones as the ones that float in a pond!
Chinese restaurants feature water chestnuts in many of their dishes.
You can grow taro and water chestnuts in your back yard in a water garden.
What about Wasabi?
Yes, this spicy sushi condiment is also an aquatic plant!
Water Cress (Nasturtium officinale) & Bog Cranberry (Oxycoccus) also aquatics, can be found in your grocery store.
Other Edible Plants
A few of my favorites bog plants are aquatic mint, water celery and lemon bacopa.
Aquatic mint is very similar to the mint you grow in your herb garden but has a different root system.
The leaves can be added to cake, ice cream and of course, mint juleps!
Smells great too.
Water celery, (Oenanthe javanica) is an interesting plant.
The leaves of this small plant are beautiful, changing from green to pink.
Water celery adds a peppery flavor to a salad.
Lemon bacopa (Bacopa caroliniana) is used as a seasoning and, you guessed it, it has a lemony flavor!
A certain cattail, (Typha latifolia), is probably not a plant you would think about eating, but believe it or not, all of it is edible.
The pollen, shoots, hearts, young spike heads and seeds of the cattail can be cooked and eaten.
How about duckweed, (Lemna minor)?
This small, floating plant found covering the surface of many natural lakes and ponds, makes a perfect garnish for salads!
Some aquatics are even used for medicinal purposes, such as the marsh mallow, (Althaea officinalis).
It’s used as a cough suppressant, immune system booster, and as a balm for wounds.
Pennywort (Hydrocotyle spp.) is used for arthritis relief.
I could go on and on but I’m starting to get hungry!
I think I’ll go outside and have a snack- maybe a couple of odorata water lily flowers and some mint tea.
For a list of aquatic plants you should never eat, read my blog post “Toxic Plant List For Your Pond.”