Aquatic plants

Please see our home page for the latest news on the EU ban.

Europe is planning to ban the top two water plants. Eichhornia crassipes major (Water hyacinth), is of no risk to the UK at all as it is not hardy. Lagarosiphon major (Elodea crispa), which is the best oxygenator, will also be banned, this may mean other plants used in itís place may cause more environmental issues than Lagarosiphon ever has. To read more about the ban visit our home page, read why they should be saved in the UK and how to save them by writing to your MEPs.

Anglo Aquatic is praised by DEFRA minister

Anglo Aquatic Plant has been personally thanked by Richard Benyon, the Minister for Natural Environment & Fisheries, for our support of the Be Plant Wise campaign and itís key messages. To read the ministers letter click here. To find out more about our policy, read below.

Anglo Aquatic Plantís Policy on Invasive species

Anglo Aquatic Plant is working in conjunction with DEFRA and OATA to protect both our environment and our industry. Ponds, rivers and lakes are essential for wildlife, we are committed to helping people create beautiful water features while protecting our environment.

The most important point; under no circumstances should garden plants be disposed of in the wild. Even native plants placed in the wrong location cause environmental damage. It is essential to dispose of them correctly, either compost them or take them to your local refuse centre.

Certain plants, including five aquatics, have been identified as having the potential to damage the ecosystem in the UK given the opportunity. Since April 2014 these plants are banned from sale in the UK. This page is designed to ensure you avoid these plants, while not restricting your choice unnecessarily, after all the UK is renowned for our plant collectors from the Victorian era and hence our attractive English gardens. Please note we have not sold these plants for many years.

Plants banned in the UK

Azolla filliculoides

Azolla filliculoides image

Commonly known as Water fern, Fairy fern or Fairy moss

In a hot summer this plant can quickly cover vast areas with a dense mat of foliage. It prevents light being able to penetrate the mat to the water below killing submersed oxygenating plants and restricting the growth of many others. Because of its tiny size it is very difficult to remove and almost impossible to eliminate completely. As it reproduces from tiny fragments, it is easily transported by travelling wildlife or by people transferring plants from one pond to another.

Alternative plants that can be used are Hydrocharis morsus ranae (frogbit) native but slow growing, Eichhornia crassipes major (water hyacinth) is quicker to grow but not hardy and large so very easy to remove.

Crassula helmsii

Crassula helmsii image

Also known as New Zealand pigmyweed, Australian Swamp Stonecrop, New Zealand Stonecrop, Crassula recurva, Tillia recurva and Tillaea helmsii.

Again this plant can regenerate from tiny fragments and hence easily spread to new areas. Again it forms a dense mat reducing light levels and can spread over moist ground displacing other plants.

Hydrocotyle ranunculoides

Hydrocotyle ranunculoides image

Also known as Floating Pennywort, Water pennywort or Pennywort.

This plant can grow at an astonishing 20 cm per day, rapidly forming a thick mat across a pond or slow moving water. Not to be confused with slower growing varieties such as Hydrocotyle nova Zealand (Miniature pennywort) or the variegated Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides variegata (Crystal confetti)

Ludwigia uruguayensis

 Ludwigia uruguayensis image

Also known as Water primrose, Lugwigia grandiflora, Ludwigia peploides or incorrectly as Jussiaea.

Unlike the other plants in this category, which we have not sold for years, until 2010 we did sell this plant as we had mixed messages coming from various sources. Due to co-operation between the Government and the Aquatics trade there is now the clarity missing before and we support the joint decision and de-listed it. The Government is highly appreciative of the support it has received from OATA, HTA and companies such as ourselves who have been so proactive in a voluntary sales ban.

Myriophyllum aquaticum

Myriophyllum aquaticum image

Also known as Parrot's feather, Myriophyllum brasiliense, Myriophyllum proserpinacoides or Brazilian water-milfoil.

This plant can completely take over a pond, again reducing light. In addition it is primarily sold as an oxygenating plant but is particularly poor at this role as the submersed leaves tend to rot hence not oxygenate. As an alternative, why not try Myriophyllum brasiliensis Ďred stemí, a much slower growing form. Or there are two natives, both Myriophyllum spicatum (Spiked water milfoil) and Myriophyllum verticillatum (Whorled water milfoil) are far better oxygenating plants.

Photographs of plants we do not stock, kindly supplied by Non Native Species Secretariat

Plants that are not a threat

A few years ago when the Be Plant Wise initiative was started, there were some bizarre claims caused by mixed and confused messages. Below we try to clear up some of these confusions.

Eichhornia crassipes major - Water hyacinth

>Eichhornia crassipes major image

In tropical countries this plant is an issue but in the UK it is absolutely not. It is not hardy, rarely survives UK winters in an unheated greenhouse and the summers are insufficiently warm for it to be a nuisance. This plant is of no threat to our flora and fauna. It grows well in the season, provides shade and shelter for pond wildlife and is very good at removing nitrates from the water, helping to reduce algae. We recommend removing the plants as they start to die back and add them to the compost heap. This permanently removes the nitrates from the water and is an excellent fertiliser for the garden too!

Pistia stratiotes - Water lettuce

> Pistia stratiotes image

This plant rarely survives UK winters even in a heated greenhouse and again is of absolutely no threat to our flora and fauna in the UK. It makes an attractive alternative to Eichhornia crassipes major but can easily be scorched by cool weather, and is killed by even a very mild frost.

Be Plant Wise

For more information please see;

Non Native Species Secretariat