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Observations on growing plants in bogs

  • Subject: Observations on growing plants in bogs
  • From: "Kathy Kempf" <wont_read101@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2002 10:52:31 -0500 (CDT)


The past 2 springs I have had sad experience with many different plant 
reactions to growing in bogs.  I have learned this: if the crown is 
submerged along with the top inch of root system for more than a short time 
(a day or more) the plant will die.  This happens regardless of whether it 
has water roots or not.  Certain species tolerate saturated soil with water 
above the soil line but growth is usually stunted (exception: mazus reptans 
-- growth is same or improved if entire plant is submerged for up to 2 
months).  Doing it the other way around (soil or air up to the crown with 
water below) succeeds in almost every species I have attempted.  The only 
aroids subjected to this inadvertant treatment are the Arisaema triphyllum 
and A. stewardsonii, along with Zantedeschia.  Most others are closely 
related: various Asarum and yuccas.  Species that failed the worst are 
supposedly "bog lovers": rodgersia, astilbes, trillium, viola tricolor, 
carex, marshmallow, and chilene.  Other plants that did not survive more 
than a couple days even with crowns not submerged (at least 1" above 
saturated soil) are lamium,  heuchera, dicentra, aster, tiarella, most ferns 
(except Osmonda  regalis), hellebores.

Doing things to the soil to help improve aeration in the standing water has 
not improved the plants' health: adding fish, water-aerating plants, 
crayfish, etc.  Adding drying agents to the soil has not helped either.

In conclusion, allowing plants to slowly adjust their roots from soil to 
water seems to have the greatest chances of survival, and most species 
survive this and grow bigger than normal.  Adding nutrients to the water 
(compost tea) does not seem to make any difference in eventual plant size or 
health during this process; I have found that having any air between the 
soil layer and water prevents the plant from putting seeking roots into the 

I hope all this information on different plant species and families will 
help in your attempts to grow aroids in water.

Ohio Zone 6

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