Alisma: plantago-aquatica – Water plantain

Height: 45-60cm (1 1/2-2ft)

Water depth: 5-10cm (2-4in)

Features: flowers summer

Soil: loamy

Site: full sun

Type: marginal

Water plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica) is a useful marginal aquatic, its spikes of small, pale pink or cream-white, thrce-petalled flowers adding a delicate touch. The flowers open in summer. They stand 45-60cm above attractive lance-shaped to oval, deeply ribbed leaves, which form a rosette at the base of the plant.

A dwarf species, A. ranunculoides is also available. This creeping plant has bright green, lance-like leaves sprinkled with crowded umbels of blush flowers.


Plant water plantain in early to mid spring at a water depth of 5-10cm (2-4in) in loamy soil and full sun. Alternatively, plant in a crate or basket and lower this into the water.

Deadhead after flowering or the plants become straggly.

Propagation: Divide overcrowded clumps in spring and replant. It self-seeds fully.

Pests and diseases: Trouble free.

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