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Water Willows - Justicia Americana
Water Willows easy to grow perennial can be found along streams and lake margins. While they prefer standing water, they can also develop in sandy and clay soil. They need partial sun. These water plants can grow to be 3’ tall. They are native as far north as Quebec down into Florida, and west to Texas.
The Water Willow has a long, thin stem that does not branch. Its prominent whitish lines can identify it. The medium green leaves are long and narrowly tapered with a whitish midvein and smooth margins. They can grow to be 6” long and ½” wide. The delicate flowers will bloom from May until October and measure ¾” in diameter. It is white with violet streaks on the lower petals and looks a lot like an orchid. These graceful flowers give off a mild, sweet aroma. Gardeners often use the Water Willow to stabilize the shoreline and in water gardening. They can give any garden a spacious feel. These flowers grow in colonies and can attract deer, beaver, muskrat, nutria, butterflies, and hummingbirds. They provide an underwater habitat for both micro and macroinvertebrates. This will attract fish and turtles; Which will, in turn, attract ducks.
The American water willow is native to North America and grows in water. This durable plant is one of the few plants of its species that can survive as far north as it does. Water willow provides essential coverage for aquatic animals and is food for deer. If you live on a large lot of land and are looking to support the wildlife around you, then consider this plant in your lake. The life and death of this plant benefit the health of the water it is in. It feeds and protects the surrounding animals when it is alive, and when it decomposes, it provides valuable nutrients to the water it is in.