Socalled marginal plants

^<¡0+ Marginal plants are the plants that supply height in a water garden (or vertical interest, as landscapers say). Though you may have seen them in containers or growing on land in damp ground, they're well able to grow in a pot that's immersed in an inch or more of water. Other names nurseries use for this sort of plant include bog plants, emergent plants, pondside plants, and moisture-loving plants. Marginals grown for attractive foliage include canna, mosaic plant, papyrus, various irises, arrowhead, spike rush, umbrella palm, and elephant's ear. If you want beautiful flowers from your marginals, check out canna, golden club, various irises, pickerel weed, and lizard's tail.

Like waterlilies, some of these plants are winter-hardy; others are tropical. The tropicals can't go in the water till the weather has warmed up to at least 70° F and must come out when the water and weather begin to cool down in the fall (to be discarded as annuals or overwintered indoors — see "Winterizing your plants and fish" for more information). Hardy ones are fine in 50° or higher water.

Water gardeners can grow either tropicals or hardies or both kinds almost anywhere in North America. Mix and match them for a more interesting, textured display. Favorite hardy marginals include arrowhead, cattail, golden club, various irises, lizard's tail, pickerel weed, and spike rush. Favorite tropical marginals include canna and water canna, papyrus, mosaic plant, umbrella palm, and elephant's ear.

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