TLDR: This pond plant is a favorite because of its 3″ round clusters of small green and red leaves. A tropical plant needs water temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees. To survive, Mosaic pond plants require a pH of less than 8. The leaf clusters of Mosaic will grow to about 2 feet across if planted 6 inches below the surface. The Mosaic is unusual in that it spreads well in warm water.
- Usually, sold with bare roots.
- Aquatic annual in northern climates, Perennial in warmer climates
- Blooms: Summer months of June-August
- Water Depth: Can grow from 4″ to 12″ water depths.
- Light Requirements – Part shade to full sun
- Water Temperature: 70 degrees +
- USDA Hardiness Zones: 9-11 hardy (find your zone)
Onagraceae is the evening primrose family. Ludwigia is the water primrose genera. Ludwigia’s mosaic plant, also known as false loosestrife or mosaic flower, is only a few members of this genus south of the Equator. The vast majority of Onagraceae’s 655 and Ludwigia’s 75 species are found in temperate North America. The mosaic plant, an exception to its family and genus, is native to South America, including Venezuela, Panama, and Columbia. It thrives in sunny, warm, and damp environments.
Because of its unique appearance, it is a popular choice for a garden pond or bog plant. Mosaic plants’ leaves are arranged in a circular rosette, which floats on top of the water’s surface. Each diamond-shaped leaf is reminiscent of a minor, intricate tile within a mosaic design. When exposed to full sunlight, the leaves can turn from entirely green for deeply reddened edges. The rosette might cause some leaves to turn completely red.
The Mosaic Pond Plant: Facts, Benefits, and Uses
Buttercup-like yellow flowers that bloom in summer attract beneficial pollinators such as various bees, butterflies, and other insects. The mosaic plant can absorb nutrients and pollutants from the water column because it floats on top of the water.
The floating rosettes can also shade the water and reduce algae. They also protect any pond inhabitants from predators. This should not be planted in natural waterways. It should only be produced in your garden pond.
Growing Mosaic Plants, Hardiness & Climate
Mosaic plants are slow to grow. It usually takes a whole season to reach their maximum spread of 2 feet. L. divides, a South American native, is not sensitive to cold temperatures. Mosaic plants will not grow if the water temperature drops below 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Most mosaic plants will die if the water temperature drops below 65 degrees F (18.3deg Celsius). Healthy leaves and vibrant blooms keep the water temperature between 70 and 80 degrees F (22-26.66deg C).
The mosaic plant is a tropical plant that thrives in full sun. However, it can be grown in partial shade. This plant is not suited to alkaline water. However, pH should not exceed 8. 5.5 to 7.7.5 seems to be the ideal range for this particular plant. From June to August, yellow flowers of approximately 2 inches in diameter will be blooming. This attracts bees as well as other beneficial pollinators.
How to Plant a Mosaic Plant in a Pond
Studies in the amazonian reservoir have shown that the mosaic plant can be found in still waters three feet deep or less protected from waves and wind. It is relatively easy to grow if the pH and temperature are correct. There are many ways you can plant the mosaic pond plant. It can float on top of the water, where its roots and stem will grow down over time. You can accept depths of up to 2 feet.
In an underwater basket or pot, you can also place L. divides in the water, clay, silty-loam, and aquatic substrate up to the plant’s crown (where roots and stem meet). The latter option is excellent if you live in subtropical areas where mosaic plants don’t die from winter. The basket or pot can help to limit spread. The mosaic plant will find its nutrients in aquatic substrates but prefers silty and clay soils.
How to Care for Mosaic Plants
You will need to maintain a controlled water temperature and pH that matches the specifications for the mosaic plant. To encourage healthy growth, you will need to trim any dying or dead leaves, including flowers. To improve the nutritional quality of your water, you should permanently remove any remaining residues. You can place a fertilizer tablet or basket in the soil below the plant’s roots when it is first planted. This is not necessary if the plant is allowed to float.
You will need to cut the mosaic plant back if you live in an area with cold winters. It would help if you properly disposed of any cuttings in the compost or trash. Mosaic plants are primarily spread by cuttings and could re-establish themselves in your pond, or worse, in a natural stream.
You don’t need to cut back mosaic plants if you live in a more beautiful area, like the Midwest. The harsh winters can kill them each year.
How to Winter Mosaic Plant
If you live in subtropical areas, such as South America, parts of Asia, and the American Southwest, your mosaic plants will survive winters. It is best to purchase a new plant each spring. However, it is also possible to keep them overwinter indoors.
Is the Mosaic Plant Toxic?
The mosaic plant can become invasive in areas outside its natural range, just like any other plant. Ludwigia species are particularly prone to becoming invasive because they can quickly spread through division. This happens when the stems break off naturally or manually chop them. Sri Lanka is experiencing significant problems controlling invasive mosaic plants forming thick mats and choking out native vegetation.
All invasive mosaic plants result from plants escaping cultivation in water gardens, being improperly disposed of, or planted in natural areas. Even tiny fragments as small as 1 cm can create new plants.
It is not known if the mosaic plant can be toxic.
Is the Mosaic Plant edible? Can Fish Eat It?
Although the mosaic plant isn’t very palatable, it can technically be eaten. Many koi (or nishikigoi) enjoy trying new things and often try pond plants. The mosaic plant can be consumed by curious koi or goldfish. However, it will not harm your fish and may cause damage to their health. The mosaic plant is best for ponds that don’t have fish.
Where can I buy Mosaic Pond Plants & seeds?
If you live in a warm area with no snow or cold winters, an aquarium or aquaculture retailer might sell you a mosaic pond plant. Or, you might be able to order it from nurseries. It is easiest to buy it online.