Since the past few weeks, whenever I tended to my water garden, I felt like something was missing. The water surface seemed a very wide expanse, so I thought perhaps I could add a floating aquatic plant to give it a fuller look, and decided on frogbit. But what all do one has to keep in mind to grow frogbit? I learnt a lot, and made an entire comprehensive guide: how to plant frogbit in a water garden.
So, how to plant frogbit in your water garden? To plant frogbit, just drop the plant slowly on the water surface of the water garden and ensure the roots are pointing downwards. The tops of the frogbit should be kept dry and excess parts should be weeded out immediately to avoid oxygen loss.
- Since frogbit is essentially a floating plant, the planting procedure itself is not tough. The idea is to simply drop the plant on the water surface where you want it to grow, and then the frogbit will reach out by itself over the next couple of weeks to bind its roots to surrounding plants, rock structures or the bottom of the pond.
- To ensure that this binding is possible, it is important to lay the plant on the water surface in such a way that the roots are facing the bottom of the water garden- otherwise the frogbit will not be able to settle in the right direction and will continuously get turned sideways, which can cause damage to the leaves and weaken the roots.
- As it is, in the initial weeks, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the newly planted frogbit and steady the plant if you see it tilting or turned the wrong way, until it has established proper binding with the water garden.
- If you prefer, you may enclose the frogbit in a floating basket, but it is not a requisite, as the plant is basically free-floating by nature. It is however, recommended to plant the frogbit in a section of the water garden that is comparatively shallow, perhaps near the edges or the boundary, so that it can bind quicker and easier, and is also easier to contain in the long run.
- Before planting the frogbit, something you might want to check is the pH level of the water garden. Frogbit grows best in water pH level between 6.0 and 8.0, so make sure to check that beforehand, and you may use supplements or additives to achieve the right pH if it already isn’t in the recommended level.
Caring for Frogbit during and after Planting
Post successful planting of frogbit, the next concern is caring for the plant so that it stays healthy and flourishes. Frogbit, when grown in a controlled manner, makes a beautiful addition to any tank, water garden or pond. It also offers excellent shade and shelter for any fish in the water garden, making it a very useful component in the ecosystem. But planting frogbit is not the end of the process. Making sure all its needs are met and it is thriving in the garden, is also important. While frogbit is essentially easy to maintain and does not call for much specialized care, there are still a few factors to keep in mind in order to raise a perfectly healthy and beautiful frogbit plant.
- Frogbit thrives the best under complete exposure to sunlight, unless you live in an extremely hot area where the sunlight is scorching- then you might want to add some shade over your water garden, not just for the frogbit but also for the other inhabitants. However, frogbit is generally hardy and in normal sunlight conditions, it does very well. If you have other inhabitants like fish and other plants in the garden that don’t do well with so much light, you can always install appropriate lights inside the garden along the perimeter where the frogbit is planted so that it gets its requisite intake of light.
- Frogbit does not need additional carbon dioxide, but you do need to add sufficient fertilizer to the soil of the water garden to ensure its basic nutritional needs are met.
- It is necessary to ensure that the top surface of the frogbit leaves remain dry. Even if they get wet due to sudden splashing of fish in the garden or strong wind, it is a good practice to dry them off as soon as you see them that way. This is because the upper surface of frogbit leaves, if left wet continuously, can start rotting and will spread the decaying matter in the water, leading to possible health concerns for the entire pond. As such, if you have any fountains or waterfalls installed in your water garden, ensure that you never plant the frogbit anywhere near those fixtures, to avoid splashing.
- Another good practice to ensure the health of the frogbit plant is to change the water once a week, on the regular. Changing the water weekly will also result in better health of the water garden’s other inhabitants and will avoid build up of waste.
- Make sure that the flow of water current in the garden is very low and gentle. High flow might result in disturbance and even uprooting of the frogbit, particularly if it has been newly planted. It’s a good idea to plant the frogbit slightly away from the aerator so that it is not disturbed by the current.
- There is a good reason why frogbit is considered highly invasive in many countries. Frogbit can grow and spread alarmingly fast when healthy and left uncontrolled, and will choke your water garden surface completely if you let it grow out of hand. This overgrown frogbit will cause stagnancy of pond water because of the reduced exposure to sunlight, and will likely also cut down oxygen supply for any fish and other plants in the pond.
The solution is to keep check of the frogbit growth and trim the thick leaves and pads regularly. If there are too many to trim, you can just weed out the plants that aren’t needed, but regular trimming is always the best practice. Frogbit roots can also grow pretty long, so if you have fish such as koi and goldfish in the water garden, keep check of the roots as well- if they grow too long, they can choke the fish.
- If you have snails in your tank, beware that they might reach out to the undersides of the frogbit plant and may chew through them, causing heavy damage to the plant and weakening it. It is best to keep the plant out of reach of the snails and provide them with some other food so that they don’t attempt to reach the frogbit.
- Frogbit thrive in summer and remain healthy through the fall, but come winter you will find that most of the leaves fall off as the plant enters dormant mode, after which the new buds will bloom again when winter draws to an end. It is advisable to scoop out the dead leaves and stem as they fall to the floor of the water garden, because leaving those down there would cause rotting and oxygen depletion for your fish.
- Frogbit can stand very low temperatures in the winter, but in case you live in a region where the water tends to freeze during winters, it is a good idea to take out the dormant buds that will later bloom, and encase them in a pot of water and mud, keeping them safe indoors from the harsh cold of the frozen water garden.
- You don’t have to be particularly careful about the other aquatic plants you put in the water garden alongside frogbit, because it is a fairly hassle-free plant. However, it is advisable to avoid keeping plants that require a lot of light, in the same space as the frogbit, because then neither of them will get enough and the frogbit might ultimately end up taking the other plant’s light source as well. If you do keep another such plant, keep it on the opposite side of the frogbit so that they have plenty of space and light each.
What other floating and pond plants can be easily grown in water gardens/ponds?
Apart from frogbit, some aquatic floating plants you can grow are water lettuce (best suited for large ponds), water hyacinth, creeping Jenny and cardinal flower (both lovely options to add aesthetic charm), and taro.
Is frogbit dangerous for dogs and cats?
Dogs and cats are not known to be allergic to frogbit, but it can be dangerous for horses to ingest frogbit. Note however that any plant matter, if consumed by domestic animals, can cause physical reactions, and take care to avoid the same.
Do fish like eating frogbit?
Some fish, such as goldfish in particular, enjoy eating frogbit. Some koi will also like nibbling on the leaves, but will leave the roots intact, which ensures the survival of the plant. However, if koi are digging up the roots, consider putting the plant in a basket for protection.