Throughout the season we get hundreds of customer calls, often with one recurrent theme, "What's the difference between a tropical/annual plant and a hardy/perennial one? The answer may be an easy one for you, but for many of our customers, it is not. We will try to answer your question.
A tropical plant is a plant that needs warm temperatures to survive. For tropical, aquatic plants, you need warm air as well as warm water. You need consistently warm temperatures, 65 degrees at the least and warmer if possible. If the temps drop below 50-60 degrees for a few evenings, you may lose the plant altogether.
Many of our customers call us in the spring and beg us to send Water Hyacinths and Water Lettuce asap because they are experiencing an algae bloom. First of all, Water Hyacinths and Water Lettuce are TROPICAL plants and will die in northern climates if the water/air temperatures are too cold. Dead plants do not address you algae issues. We grow our Water Hyacinths and Water Lettuce in Florida, in very warm temperatures. If the plants are shipped to northern states and thrown into cold water, they turn yellow and die. Try adding an oxygenator like Hornwort, as it is hardy and is an excellent oxygenator that competes for the same nutrients as algae. It also emits a hormone that inhibits algae growth. You can also add snails to the water to try to get rid of some of the algae before your plants begin to take up the additional nutrients on their own.
It is normal to experience a slight algae bloom in early spring and late fall as plants are not growing or are dormant and are not using the nutrients in the water. Once they water temps start to heat up, the plants will begin their intake of nutrients and the algae problem will solve itself. It is important to remember not to feed your fish during these times as you are only adding to the algae issue.
A hardy plant is a plant that goes dormant in the winter months and survives the winter and comes back the following year. We have many hardy pond plants listed on our site. Even the hardy plants are dormant in late fall and early spring when the algae blooms arise. We grow our hardy plants in warm climates and greenhouses and when you put a hardy waterlily in frigid temperatures after it has been growing in a greenhouse all spring, you may shock it and send it into dormancy. This will not help your algae problem either.
We ask that you be patient with your orders as we plant and grow them, as well as ship them, according to proper planting times for your area. Just because you experience an early warm period in your area, we usually cannot send plants until proper planting time for your area.