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Short, cold-hardy submerged plants?

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#1 Guest_ryansholl_*

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 12:40 AM

I was pushed off on my pool to pond conversion for a year due to medical bills. :(

But now the new liner is on hand and I'm itching to get started. :)

As it's a pool in both shape and spirit, i want to retain the swimming volume. I'd like to find more than just dwarf Vallisneria, which I'm uncertain is even hardy in my area, to plant in the shallow end. Does anyone happen to be aware of any other native, zone 5-6 hardy species that don't grow high off the substrate (Anything 18" or less)? I'm willing to give longshots a try.

I'm having a lot of difficulty identifying even potential plants.

Thanks all,


#2 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 02:10 AM

For cold hardiness, aim for something that overwinters in your area already. Native plants are excellent for those purposes. Seeing as how you name Iowa as your location, I'll list some plants found in Iowa already and you can see which ones you like.

Let's see... Iowa is just shy of the range distribution of echinodorus tenellus. It's sort of like a shorter vallisneria, very grass and pursuant to your request.
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There is an echinodorus found in Iowa, and it appears to be a cute sword plant type thing. Echinodorus rostratus, found using https://plants.usda.gov using the stateSearch function. All the rest of these plants are going to be ones I'm picking from that list. It lists all the plants in your state, and I'm eyeballing for common aquatic genus. So, anyway, echinodorus rostratus:
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Also on that list, I see myriophyllum pinnatum. That's one of my favorite plants.
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A lot of the najas are native to Iowa, too, but I dunno, I just don't like the look of najas gracillima, myself.
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Najas flexilis is cool.
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Najas guadalupensis is commonly available in the aquarium trade:
I dunno, I don't really like it. You see it in pictures sometimes looking nice like this:
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but in real life, guadalupensis looks like this:
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You've got some ludwigias in Iowa, like ludwigia palustris.
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There's a bacopa, bacopa rotundifolia, although I've personally never had much good growth with any bacopas. My bacopa monnieri grew about as fast as a rock grew. It was more a decoration than a plant.
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But yeah, all those are found in Iowa so they'd likely overwinter well for you. Well, maybe not the echinodorus tenellus, but here's its range distribution:

Here's the link I got those names from. Sort by state. Unfortunately you can't yet sort by underwater growth or not. https://plants.usda.gov

#3 Guest_ryansholl_*

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 11:47 AM


My trouble was in finding a resource identifying plants that overwinter here. You have helped me tremendously.

I am technically zone 5, but as it's a protected site, in full sun, and right along the south side of my house I'm sure I can get by with zone 6. You have given me a tremendous resource,

I can't thank you enough!

#4 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 12:19 PM

Aw shucks. That plants.usda.gov list is certainly my favorite. It's complete and free to access, so it's my go-to for plant lists. The problem is that it's overwhelming. It's got like thousands of plants listed and only a small fraction of them are aquatic. To help you narrow it down a bit, you could scan through some books on aquatic plants and then reference that full state list to see if any known aquatic plants are native to your state. That's probably faster than clicking on each of those thousand names one by one to see if they're aquatic. As far as where to get a list of aquatic plants, it's likely that your library may be able to borrow or inter-library loan (ILL) some of the following books for you. Note: I wouldn't buy them; they're often $50+ and of limited application to your region. But yeah, if your library can get one or two for free, you might as well ask about it. The local library near me will take about two weeks to a month, but it'll borrow the book from a library somewhere in the state or now I think their network is nationwide in some places.

List of books worth looking into if free to find aquatic plants to then search for on the list of your state's native species:
  • Wetland Plants of the Northern Great Plains: A complete guide to the wetland and aquatic plants of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, eastern Montana and eastern Wyoming by Steve W Chadde
  • Aquatic Plants of the Upper Midwest: a photographic field guide to our underwater forests by Paul M. Skawinski
  • A Field Guide to the National Wetland Plant List: Wetland Ratings for Plants of the United States by Steve W Chadde
  • Wetland Plants of Wisconsin: A complete guide to the wetland and aquatic plants of the Badger state by Steve W Chadde
  • Wetland Plants of Michigan by Steve W Chadde
  • Field Guide to the Aquatic Plants of Lake George by Eugene C. Ogden
  • A Field Guide to Common Aquatic Plants of Pennsylvania by Dana Rizzo
  • Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America : Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Garrett E. Crow; C. Barre Hellquist
  • A Field Guide to the Common Wetland Plants of Western Washington & Northwestern Oregon by Sarah S. Cooke
  • A Great Lakes Wetland Flora by Steve W. Chadde
Then you've got your freebie guides, which may or may not be good but all are readily available.And at this point all the other NANFA members are gonna hate on me because I'm googling stuff, so I'll stop. You get the idea; there's no reason to limit yourself to vallisneria or resign yourself to annually purchasing tropical species that aren't going to overwinter. There are lots of native plants that will overwinter well for you. To get you started, egeria/elodea, crinum, ceratophyllum, sagittaria, cabomba, bacopa, najas, ludwigia, vallisneria, echinodorus, chara, potamogeton, and myriophyllum are all genus names with aquatic plant species. Keep an eye out for these genus names on the usda complete list of plants found in your state, as those genus contain some but not all aquatic species. *nods*

I wish there was a comprehensive guide to Iowa's aquatic plants, but if there is one I'm not seeing it. Maybe you could make a list, given the usda.gov list and learning more about which species are aquatic. That would be helpful. You could post it here, like, "Iowa's aquatic plants" and then a big list.

#5 Guest_Subrosa_*

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 06:35 PM

Eriocaulon species fit your description nicely. Low growing(< 4"), with species hardy most of the way up the eastern seaboard. They're not normally found in deep water, likely because they have high light requirements, but in a foot or two they're fine. Plus in shallower water they send up cute little white "buttons" as flowers. Not sure if any are native to IA, but a couple of species such as E. parkeri and E. aquaticum are fairly readily available through commercial sources

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