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Canada waterleaf shape of the leaves give it I’s name. It has maple tree-like leaves. It is also commonly called broadleaf waterleaf.  It is an excellent ground cover that forms a dense mat. This can be particularly important if you are battling invasive plants. I have seen it holding its own against vinca which is very invasive. The bright green leaves have 5 toothed lobes and leaf surfaces that appear to be marked by water. Canada waterleaf gets its common name from those silvery watermarks. The characteristics create interest in your garden throughout the growing season.

The bell-shaped flowers of Canada waterleaf appear in late May. They are white in color. The stamens and style are longer than the petals of the flower. The filament of the stamens has fine hairs protruding out from them. This combination of physical characteristics gives the flower a lacey look. Bumble bees and other native bees find these structures easily and seem to be very happy making use of them. Watching bees work is a great source of enjoyment and a good way to help children learn about our native plants. The rhizomatous root system lays horizontal to the ground. The flower stems rise about a foot above the silvery foliage.

Canada waterleaf grows in shade to part-shade and prefers moist soil with organic matter. Companions to Canada water leaf include false Solomon’s seal, green and gold, black cohosh, Canada anemone, Virginia anemone, barren strawberry, Christmas fern, blue wood aster and white wood aster. When selecting companions, we look at what we have seen growing with Canada waterleaf in the wild as well and what would make a pleasing garden. We also look for plants that are not likely to overpower each other.

Hydrophyllum canadense - Canada waterleaf

  • - Canada waterleaf has an attractive silvery patches on the leaf surface

    - Lovely bell shaped flowers in late spring

    - Native bees are attracted to this plant

    -Height: 10 to 12 inches tall

    -Zone: 4 to 8

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