1. Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)
We just had to start with the lotus flower, as it is not only one of the most gorgeous flowers in the world, but also one of great symbolic importance, particularly in Buddhism and Hinduism, where it is synonymous with rebirth, enlightenment, and purity. As for the flower itself, it thrives in warm climates, is native to South Asia, and comes in pink or white colors that peek just above the water surface.
The flowers emerge from the water during the day, opening up as the day becomes brighter, but they are connected to the main plant that grows underwater with long stalks that can grow up to 2 meters (6 ft) in length. Apart from being used for decorative purposes, some lotus species are also cultivated to be used in cuisine and even for water clarification.
2. Broadleaf Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)
This plant got its name for the pointy triangular leaves that are reminiscent of arrowheads, but it's also known as the duck-potato because, much like potatoes and yams, it has edible tubers, but the tubers of the broadleaf arrowhead grow deep underwater, with the plant's stalk sometimes reaching down as deep as 20 meters (65 ft).
The duck-potato has beautiful small white flowers that grow in clusters, and the plant itself forms dense colonies that generally bloom from July to September. The plant is native to the Americas, but today it can be found worldwide and is even considered an invasive species in some countries.
3. Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
Water hyacinths are beautiful plants native to the Amazonian basin that naturally grow in shallow waters (up to 1m or 3.3 ft deep). These plants have rounded leaves and soft purple flowers with a contrasting bright orange and striking purple top petal.
Though considered an invasive species in some countries, this floating perennial plant is a great addition to a garden, as both their glossy leaves and impressive flowers that bloom summer to fall will enhance the look of your garden. Check your local legislation to find out if these plants can be distributed in your country.
4. Water Hawthorn (Aponogeton distachyos)
This interesting plant has long oval leaves that float on the water surface and produces dainty white flowers that smell sweet, almost like vanilla, for which it is very loved both among gardeners and aquarium enthusiasts, as it grows in really shallow water (up to 45 cm (1.5 ft) deep).
Water hawthorns are native to South Africa's Western Cape, where they are cultivated to this day, as they have edible flowers and buds often used to prepare stews. The flowering season of the plant is from mid-spring to mid-summer.
5. Pickerel Weed (Pontederia cordata)
If you want to attract butterflies to your garden, planting some Pickerelweed is a great way to do so. This perennial plant grows only in the Americas, and it has long, glossy, succulent heart-shaped leaves and stalks full of small flowers that start blooming between June and October.
The plant grows in shallow ponds and streams, growing in water up to 50 cm (2 ft) deep. These often grow in clusters and form entire "fields" of flowers.
6. Water Poppy (Limnocharitaceae)
Much like poppy flowers, these little lemon-yellow flowers are very fragile and not particularly long-lasting, as they bloom only for a day, but there is definitely a special charm to their fleeting beauty. Water poppies originally came from South America, where eight different species of the plant exist, but they have spread since and become a popular gardening plant.
The plant has small, rounded leaves that float on the surface of the water, and yellow flowers with a bronze-colored middle that typically start blooming in the summer.
7. Water Lily (Nymphaeaceae)
The last, but definitely not the least flower on our list is the showy water lily. There are over 70 known species of these plants worldwide, some of which have giant round leaves that can hold a human, whereas others have striking flowers ranging from white to pink, to dark purple. Water lilies thrive in warm climates, and, like the lotus, they have long stalks that connect the leaves and flowers with the strong root system that is submerged deep underwater.
Another likeness to the lotus is the symbolic meaning of water lilies, which are considered pure: they are frequently featured in art and literature, just think Claude Monet, and are the national flower in many countries, such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Bonus Video: The Unfolding of a Lotus Flower Accompanied by Classical Music