Rice and Taro are amongst the earliest water plants in cultivation. Around the world people cultivate edible aquatic plants, as well as aquatic animals including fish and crays. The farming of these is called aquaculture or aquafarming. Aquaponics intergrates both aquatic plant farming with the production of fish.
This is a popular trend in gardens that strives to minimise our impacts on the environment, through the demands that we place on available water, as well as the materials and energy we use in the garden. Even small scale environmentally friendly gardens, that support the diverse nature around us, can play an important role in reducing the environmental impacts of large scale commercial food production.
Good to eat and good to look at....
Edible aquatic plants need not only be selected for their crop. At Oz Watergardens we focus on their ornamental appearance as well. Why not have edible aquatic plants that are both beautiful to look at, but also produce healthy food?
For most edible water garden production, we recommend using approximately 1/3 compost mixed with a clay- loam soil. However, for root -type or tuberous edible aquatic plants, we suggest a sandy-loam soil. Although the plants will grow successfully in other soils, we find that it is easier to wash off the sandy loam than a heavy clay soil.
Edible aquatic plants are easy to grow
If you love growing your own healthy food, but have limited space, aquatic pots are just as easy to maintain as regular edible herbs. Just keep the water topped up.
Miniature water gardens producing edible aquatic plants can be made in almost any container that can hold water, even a sealed window planter box. A bucket kept in a sunny position can produce a kilogram of water chestnuts in one growing season. If you have a little more space consider an old bath tub capable of producing 30-40kg of delicious water chestnuts in a single growing season.
Growing conditions for edible aquatic plants
Most edible aquatic plants come from tropical or sub-tropical climates. Many can be grown in cooler climates, but best results are achieved if you can grow them in warm sheltered positions.
Do not grow edible aquatic plants using untreated grey water. Although they are often excellent water filtering plants, they may also absorb many heavy metals and toxins that may be harmful in your diet.
- Below is a list of edible aquatic plants grown at Oz Watergardens. The plant list is divided into 5 Zones. For more information on the Oz Watergardens pond plant Zoning system go to our Zone Map.
- For information on the plant care and maintenance, go to our Tips & Hints page.
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Edible Aquatic Plants collection
|Zone 1||Edible parts|
|Wolffia arhiza||Water Meal||Leaves|
|Pistia stratiotes (Not NSW, ACT)||Water Lettuce (VIC, TAS and SA only)||Leaves|
|Acorus gramineus||Sweet Flag||Rhizome|
|Colocasia esculenta||Taro / Elephant Ear||Corms and tubers, care must be taken to know the correct origins of the variety and the process of making them safe to eat.|
|Houttuynia cordata Variegated||Swamp Pepper||Leaves and roots|
|Lythrum salicaria||Purple Loosestrife||Young shoots and leaves|
|Mentha aquatica||Aquatic Mint||Leaves|
|Acorus calamus||Sweet Flag||Rhizome|
|Alisma plantago aquatica||Water Plantain||Roots|
|Bacopa caroliniana||Lemon Bacopa||Leaves|
|Bacopa monniera||Water Hyssop||Leaves and stems|
|Berula erecta||Water Celery||Leaves|
|Centella asiatica||Indian Pennywort||Leaves|
|Cyperus papyrus||Egyptian Papyrus||Rhizomes and young shoots|
|Nasturtium officinale||Water cress||Leaves and stems|
|Oenanthe 'Pink Flamingo'||Rainbow Parsley||Leaves and stems|
|Thalia geniculata||Red Thalia||Rhizomes and young leaves|
|Zantedeschia aethiopica||Arum Lily||Young leaves|
|Aponogeton distachyos||Water Hawthorn||Tuberous corms, leaves and flowers|
|Brassenia schreberi||Water Shield||Young shoots|
|Ceratophyllum demersum||Foxtail or Hornwort||Leaves and stems|
|Eleocharis dulcis||Chinese Water Chestnut||Tubers|
|Marsilea drummondii||Common Nardoo||Sporocarps - the pea-like fruiting structure|
|Marsilea mutica||Rainbow Nardoo||Sporocarps - the pea-like fruiting structure|
|Myriophyllum||Water Milfoil||Young shoots and leaves|
|Nymphoides indica||Water Snowflake||Young shoots and leaves|
|Orontium aquaticum||Golden Club||Roots and seeds|
|Pontederia cordata||Blue Pickerel Rush||Seeds and young leaf stalks|
|Triglochin procerum||Water Ribbons||Tubers|
|Typha latifolia||Cumbungi||Young rhizome tips and flower spikes|
|Vallisneria||Eel grass or ribbon grass||Leaves|
|Nelumbo||Lotus||Leaves, seeds and tubers|
|Nymphaea Tropical hybrids||Tropical Waterlilies||Rhizomes, leaves, young flower buds, and leaf stems|
|Nymphaea Hardy hybrids||Hardy Waterlilies||Rhizomes, leaves, young flower buds, and leaf stems|