In addition to the visual excitement that a water garden creates, an edible water garden can provide interesting plants to eat.

A dietary staples in many countries, edible aquatic crops are less common in this country, but are growing in popularity. The leaves, roots and seeds of the lotus plants are very common in Asian cuisine. There are many plants suitable for water gardens that are edible, although it is not recommended that plants intended for consumption be grown in a pond with fish. Plants that are well suited to small water gardens include Taro, Chinese water chestnut, Arrowhead, and Cat tail. The leaves of water fern, water spinach, and the chameleon plant are quite tasty although bitter.

Balconies and patios are the perfect spot for a container garden. Choose water tight planters that are roomy enough to hold plants, and some type of filter and aerator. The best way to add oxygen to the water is with an aerator, view our favorites.

Edible Water Plants:

  • Taro - When cooked, taro has a mild, nutty flavor, harvest tubers from dormant plants that have grown during the previous season. Remove the fibrous brown skin before eating. Steam, bake, or fry the tubers.
  • Chinese water chestnut - Harvest corms from dormant plants, about 6 months after planting after the foliage has turned brow. Peel off the thick outer cover and slice the crisp, white flesh into salads and stir-fries.
  • Water spinach - Pick young shoots and leaves from this vigorous vine, and use as a green vegetable in Asian dishes or as a substitute for spinach.
  • Common watercress - Pick bright green leaves and small shoots, and add them to salads and sandwiches for a peppery flavor. Watercress prefers moving water to survive, it is difficult to grow in a pot.
  • Yellow pond lily - Dig roots during dormant season in fall or early spring; scrub and add to soups and stews. Dry seeds in warm oven, and remove the kernels. Boil lightly, and serve like corn.
  • Arrowhead - Harvest starchy tubers in fall when the tops die and the plant is dormant. Peel and boil or bake like potatoes.
  • Cattail - Collect yellow pollen to use as flour. Gather young shoots, and slice them into salads, or boil for 15 minutes. The green flower spikes can also be boiled for 5 minutes and eaten. After the plants become dormant, dig the roots, and harvest the sprouts of next seasons growth; boil for 10 minutes.

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