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7 Edible Water Plants for Your Pond: Nutritious Greens to Grow

7 edible water plants that you can keep in your pond are: Lotus, Watercress, Water Spinach, Taro, Water Chestnut, Sweet Potato Vine and Aquatic Mint,

Creating an edible water garden in your backyard pond is a wonderful way to combine beauty with functionality. Edible water plants offer a source of nutritious greens right at your doorstep. With the rising popularity of home gardens and a focus on sustainable food production, incorporating edible aquatic plants into your pond provides a convenient and eco-friendly solution for growing fresh and healthy vegetables and salad greens. And how proud you’ll be of yourself for producing your own food! 🙂

Below you’ll find 7 easy to keep edible water plants:

Sacred Lotus, “water lily” (Nelumbo nucifera)

Lotus is a beloved and popular water garden plant, admired for its stunning pink and white flowers that add a nice touch to any pond. However, it’s liked so much not only for its beauty but also for how well you can use it in the kitchen – all parts of the Lotus plant are edible! 

To grow well, Lotus prefers warm climates and basks in full sun, making it a good choice for regions with plenty of sunshine. A good idea is to plant Lotus in a shallow pot placed underwater. It allows you easy access to it to cut out its pieces but also to move it to a warmer place in winter months.

Culinary enthusiasts can explore a variety of ways to enjoy Lotus in their dishes. The roots, can be thinly sliced and added to soups, stir-fries, or salads, offering a mild and delightful crunch. The leaves (especially young ones) can be used to wrap e.g. steamed foods. And not to forget the seeds with a nutty taste. They can be roasted, adding an interesting twist to various recipes.

Embracing the beauty of Lotus in your water garden not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also grants you the opportunity to savor its delightful flavors in your culinary creations.

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)

Watercress, a very nutritious aquatic plant. It thrives along the edges of ponds or in pots submerged in water. Its perennial nature ensures a continuous supply of fresh greens. Propagation can be easily done through cuttings or seeds.

Belonging to the Brassicaceae family, it shares similarities with kale, cabbage, and arugula, boasting a zesty, peppery flavor. With its taste, Watercress adds a nice kick to salads and sandwiches. Its versatility allows for various culinary uses, enhancing the flavors of dishes.

This superfood is highly nutritious, rich in vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, and Calcium.

Beyond its culinary appeal, Watercress serves as a valuable water filter and erosion reducer. Its fibrous roots actively filter pollutants and excess nutrients from the water, contributing to improved water quality and a healthier aquatic ecosystem. This, however, isn’t a “fature” that only watercress has, as all the plants filter water to a certain degree. 🙂 

Water Spinach (Ipomoea aquatica)

Water Spinach, also known as kangkong, water morning glory, or swamp cabbage, is a widely cultivated aquatic leaf vegetable in Asia. It grows in sub-tropical or tropical regions with high humidity, making it a popular choice for water gardens in such climates.

Harvesting Water Spinach is simple – just cut off the leaves! To ensure its growth remains manageable, regular cutting back is recommended, as Water Spinach can become invasive if left unchecked.

When it comes to culinary use, Water Spinach offers a wealth of possibilities. From boiling and adding it to soups or stir-fries to incorporating it into a variety of dishes, its tender leaves make a delightful addition to meals.

With its ease of cultivation, rapid growth, and versatility in the kitchen, Water Spinach stands out as an attractive option for those seeking to add a touch of Asian culinary flair to their water gardens.

Taro (Colocasia esculenta)

Taro, a traditional edible water plant, holds a significant place in Southeast Asian cuisine. To cultivate Taro, it’s crucial to ensure that its broad, heart-shaped leaves are positioned above the water level. This allows the plant to thrive and produce harvestable roots and leaves.

Before consumption, Taro leaves require boiling twice to eliminate their acidic taste. Once prepared, the leaves can be used to wrap foods or added to soups and stir-fries. Taro leaves should never be consumed raw, as they contain calcium oxalate, which can be harmful. 

The Taro roots (corms), when harvested after six to eight months, can be boiled and mashed, or sliced and fried to create delicious Taro chips.

Water Chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis)

Water Chestnut is a unique aquatic plant that develops corms underground and thrives best in tropical or sub-tropical regions with swampy conditions. The plant grows tall, reaching up to 3.5 feet (1 meter), and the edible part lies within its corms.

You can harvest Water Chestnuts in winter when the leaves turn brown and wither. At this stage, the corms are mature and ready to be used for consumption.

When it comes to culinary ventures, Water Chestnuts offer a nutty taste and have a crunchy texture. They make a perfect addition to stir-fries and soups, bringing a nice crunch and flavor to these dishes. Simply peel and slice them thinly, and they are ready to enhance your culinary creations. 

Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas)

The Sweet Potato Vine is a fast-growing pond plant with edible bright green leaves. It adds a lush, vibrant touch to the water garden. However, it’s important to keep an eye on its growth, especially in smaller ponds, as it can quickly take over the space!

One essential caution is its toxicity to animals. If you have pets or fish in your pond, it’s best to avoid growing Sweet Potato Vine, as ingestion can be harmful to them.

The Sweet Potato Vine leaves have a slight bitter taste. To reduce the bitterness, they can be boiled or steamed before use. These leaves make a nice addition to soups and stir-fries, adding a unique flavor and nutritional boost to your dishes.

Aquatic Mint (Mentha aquatica)

From Saxifraga, by Ed Stikvoort

Aquatic Mint is a pond plant known for its refreshing minty taste and scent. Its leaves add a zesty twist to various dishes, making it a versatile culinary ingredient. You can use it to garnish salads and desserts or steep it in herbal teas for a refreshing flavor.

Apart from its culinary uses, Aquatic Mint also offers practical benefits. It serves as a natural insect repellent, deterring mosquitos, black flies, and midges from your pond area. On the other hand, with its sweet flowers, it can attract pollinators.

Growing edible water plants in your backyard pond or water garden offers a host of benefits. Not only do these plants provide a source of nutritious greens for your meals, but they also enhance the beauty of your pond and quality of water. From the stunning pink and white flowers of Lotus to the zesty taste of Watercress and the nutty flavor of Water Chestnuts, there’s a wide range of culinary possibilities to explore.

Remember to wash and cook these plants thoroughly before eating to ensure safety and avoid bacterial contamination. So, why not create your own sustainable and visually appealing edible water garden? It’s a rewarding way to grow your food and add a touch of nature’s goodness to your surroundings. Happy gardening!

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