Monday, 30 August 2010 19:18

Keep invaders out of your pond or aquarium advise Plantlife & the RHS


Invasive non-native plants can be a nuisance in our ponds and aquaria, and cause serious problems in our environment if they escape into the wild. A new booklet published by Plantlife and the Royal Horticultural Society is now available to help anyone with an aquarium or pond make informed choices about the plants they buy and avoid problems in the future.

PlantlifeWhat is the problem? We are spoilt for choice with many different plants available to put in our ponds and aquaria. However, there are a few plant species that can cause problems as they have the potential to spread quickly and take over a pond or aquarium unless rigorously controlled. Invasive non-native plants can cause even bigger problems if they escape into the wild. Around 60% of all problem plants damaging our natural habitats originate from gardens, ponds and aquaria, or have been planted in the wild by people unaware of the damage they may cause. Removing them from the wild, particularly from important nature conservation sites, can be expensive and difficult. Many hundreds of thousands of pounds are spent each year in an effort to limit the spread of invasive non-native plants.

What is the solution? Plantlife and the Royal Horticultural Society, with funding from from Defra, the Scottish Government and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, have produced a new booklet – Keeping ponds and aquaria without harmful invasive plants - to help anyone with a pond or an aquarium to choose plants that are less likely to cause problems to the environment should they escape into the wild. Even the most diligent fish or pond keeper cannot ensure that their plants do not spread into the wild - as some non-native invasive plants can re-grow from tiny fragments - so avoiding these invasive plants completely is the only sure way to prevent future problems. The booklet is one of a series of three aimed at pond and aquarium keepers, gardeners and landscape gardeners.

Sophie Thomas, Plantlife’s Invasives Officer, said: “Often people aren’t aware that their choices over which plants to grow can make a vital difference to protecting the natural environment. The good news is that if we all do our bit, trying to avoid invasive plants in the first place and taking care to dispose of all excess plant matter and old pond and aquarium water responsibly, then the threat from these problem plants to our wild plants and animals will be much reduced. There are many plants that can be used in place of invasive plants, and our booklets highlight some stunning examples of plants people can try.”

John David, RHS Chief Scientist, said: “While only a tiny percentage of our garden plants cause problems in natural habitats, invasive plants are an increasing problem with real impacts on our natural environment and, in some cases, on property owners affected by them. The RHS is keen to improve awareness of the problem and promote a responsible approach among gardeners to managing invasive plants, which these booklets do so well.”

The booklet – Keeping ponds and aquaria without harmful invasive plants – is available free from Plantlife by phoning 01722 342755 or by email


1. Plantlife is the organisation speaking up for the nation’s wild plants. We work hard to protect wild plants on the ground and to build understanding of the vital role they play in everyone’s lives. Plantlife carries out practical conservation work across the UK, manages nature reserves, influences policy and legislation, runs events and activities that connect people with their local wild plants and works with others to promote the conservation of wild plants for the benefit of all.

2. The RHS is the UK’s leading gardening charity. The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people’s lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities, whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

3. The Scottish Government, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) funded this project. Keeping ponds and aquaria without harmful invasive plants is one of a series of three booklets, all giving guidance on plants that you can use in place of invasive non-natives and all produced thanks to funding from these organisations. The other booklets, also available free from Plantlife, are Gardening without harmful invasive plants and Landscaping without harmful invasive plants.

4. These booklets are helping to implement the Invasive Non-Native Species Framework Strategy for Great Britain. They complement the Be Plant Wise campaign that was launched by Defra and the Scottish Government and supported by Plantlife and the RHS earlier in the year. Be Plant Wise is designed to raise awareness among gardeners, pond owners and retailers of the damage caused by invasive aquatic plants and to encourage the public to dispose of these plants correctly. Keeping ponds and aquaria without harmful invasive plants suggests plants that can be used in ponds and aquaria in place of the invasive plants featured in Be Plant Wise, as well as a number of other invasive non-native aquatic plants. Be Plant Wise materials, including posters, leaflets and other display materials for retailers are also available from Plantlife.

5. Plantlife sits on the England, Wales, Scotland and Media & Communications Working Groups that are helping to implement the Invasive Non-Native Species Framework Strategy for Great Britain.

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