Frogbit and Water Soldiers – both British Native pond plants that respond to water temperature are still on the water surface at the moment as we are having such a late start to Autumn.
They will both soon start to drop to deeper water. They do this to keep themselves protected overwinter from frost and ice on the water surface.
Frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae) is tiny when in dormant Winter bud state – 1/4″ long x 1/8″ wide so collect some plantlets into a bucket, while you can still see the leaves, before they sink. The Winter buds look like apple pips so you can realize how easy it would be to remove them unintentionally if you are going to clean out your pond this Autumn.
In the Nursery we have to put a large sign in the bucket or we find someone always tries to be helpful and throw out the empty bucket of water to tidy it up. Gone is your back-up supply of Frogbit buds!
Water Soldiers (Stratiotes aloides) are larger so do not need to be removed from the pond for safekeeping. They will loose some of the brittle, serrated leaves that make up the ‘pineapple head’ look of the Summer and become smaller and softer as they sink below the water but they will retain some leaf form over Winter. When they rise again late next Spring they should have young plantlets attached to the mother plant of this year which will separate over the next season to increase your stocks.