Spike Rush and Red Hygrophila go together like peaches and cream on a hot summer day. One looks like a hedge hog, the other like violet rhapsody. But blended together in a container water garden, these plants jive.
Here’s what you’ll need to create this colorful outdoor centerpiece:
- One Spike Rush(Eleocharis montevidensis), usually available at a nursery that specializes in aquatic plants.
- One Red Hygrophila(Alternanthera reineckil Elmie), also available at a nursery that specializes in aquatic plants.
- Aquatic planting media or 100 percent ground clay(unscented kitty litter).
- Aquatic fertilizer tablets, available at a pond store or a pet store that also carries water garden supplies.
- Mosquito Dunks(mosquito larvicide) or bait shop minnows. Gold fish will work as long as your container is at least 20 gallons.
- One container at least 18 inches in diameter.
- Plumber’s epoxy if your container has a hole in the bottom.
Before you do anything else, take a nickel size dollop of the epoxy in your hand and roll it around for a few minutes to warm it up. Then flatten out the dough-like material and place it over the hole in the bottom of your container. Let it dry for 20 minutes while you prepare the plants.
Take the Spike Rush out of the pot it came in, being careful not to damage the roots. Place the aquatic media or kitty litter in the container, about half full. Then take your Spike Rush and put it in the middle of the pot. Fill the container about one more inch full of aquatic media. Now it’s time to plant the Red Hygrophila. When you take it out of its original container, gently divide the plant and place different sections around the Spike Rush. Now you can add water. But first, place your container where you want it to stay! Water is heavy and you won’t be able to move it easily once you have filled the container with H20. Now that you have your mini water garden in its final destination, you can fill the container all the way to the top with the hose.
It’s finally time to enjoy. But don’t forget to add fish or mosquito dunks, so your outdoor water feature doesn’t become an insect breeding ground.
And you’ll want to add an aquatic fertilizer tab or two. Now you can sit back and watch your plants grow fuller and more lush in no time.
This is one partnership that shouln’t end. And it doesn’t have to. Over-winter Spike Rush and Red Hygrophila indoors as house plants.