Water Hawthorne (Aponogeton distachyus)
Water hawthorne are a delightful Fall, Winter and Spring blooming lily-like, and they are by far our most popular winter plant. Their forked white blooms have the delicious fragrance of vanilla, and bloom profusely in cool weather.
Water hawthorne grow in a similar fashion as waterlilies, with long narrow floating leaves on stems attached to roots in soil at the bottom of the pond. They are smaller than standard waterlilies, and multiply very slowly from tuber but quickly from seed.
Water hawthorne are extremely popular in mild climates, as they flourish in cool weather and provide foliage and blooms in winter when waterlilies are dormant; in fact, many pond owners companion plant them with waterlilies, as waterlilies trnd to be dormant in winter, and water hawthorne tend to be dormant in summer. Water hawthorne are native to large very shallow lakes in South Africa which evaporate during their hot dry season, causing water hawthorne to form a tuber and go dormant; when rains come the lakes fill again, and water hawthorne quickly sprout and fill the lakes. The tubers are edible as well as the blooms, and in Africa the locals gather and cook the starchy tubers (we don't recommend this as it is not good for the plant! But the flowers can be used as a fragrant garnish on a green salad and eaten as well...)
Water hawthorne leaves and blooms will withstand mild frosts and even thin ice; in colder weather the leaves and blooms will burn off, and return when the surface thaws. In Zone 7 there should be leaves and blooms most of the time; above Zone 7, there should be little if any interruption to blooming all winter. In very hot summer climates (such as Arizona) water hawthorne may be treated as annuals for winter use, although they may survive in a deeper part of the pond or in a shaded pond for the summer; they can also be partly dried, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag, and stored in a climate controlled area for the summer.
Hardiness Zone: 6-10
Light Requirements: Full sun to part shade
Height: Leaves float on surface
Water Depth: 4" to 24"