Stratiotes aloides (Water soldiers) are another native ally in the battle against algae, though in large ponds they can get to epidemic proportions themselves. The pineapple top foliage is buoyant in summer, so they then float with their roots trailing, but in winter they sink to the bottom. New plants form from the rosettes rather like strawberry runners. They do have short lived white flowers too. The serrated leaf edges are a little sharp and the whole plant is brittle, so handle carefully. These plants go through phases where they are small and easy to handle, then large, brittle and impossible to handle without wrecking, so their availability will come and go through the season.
TOP TIP: Don’t buy them too early in the season, they travel and establish best when they are the size of a saucer. Mid to late April is a good time.
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