Orontium aquaticum grows best in full sun positions in boggy or aquatic soils and does not tolerate dry conditions. In spite of its native range and use as a facial, hair and trunk ornamentation among some American Indian tribes, this plant does not do well when out of water for too long.
Orontium aquaticum, or Golden-club, is a small shrub native to eastern United States, typically growing between two to five feet tall. It displays small yellow to orange flowers during spring to early summer at the culmination of its bloom season. This plant may be identified by its long stalks of oval-shaped, dark bluish-green leaves, which appear dry despite being submerged in water due to their waxy glaucous surface.
The growing requirements for Orontium aquaticum are specific. It requires a full sun position and does not tolerate dryness or water stillness for extended periods of time. Therefore, if you live in a region where water stagnates over winter and the temperature drops below 30sF for a short period, this plant might not thrive in a pot, but it will do well in an aquatic garden location with a healthy flow of water and enough sunlight. The plant is suitable for USDA zones of 6-11.
Orontium aquaticum will spread out through its roots and rhizomes, so careful control and regular cutbacks might be needed to ensure a neat garden. The best way to grow this amazing shrub is to submerse it into a bog garden, where there's a constant flow of water, enough sunlight and fresh oxygen. Replanting can be done in late summer to early fall, with roots inserted into the soil just below the water surface.
In cold regions, growing Orontium aquaticum in a pot might work better compared to the garden. Make sure to use a pot at least 17-19 inches deep, as its long roots need to be able to spread freely. In addition, providing plenty of sunlight is key and a soil made from equal parts of sand and compost or peat moss should be used along with regular pruning to keep the plant in its best condition.
Overall, Orontium aquaticum is an aquatic perennial that requires specific care when growing in a garden or pot. Provide sufficient full sun and only let the water surface just touch the root line to enjoy the unique flowers and foliage of this incredibly beautiful native shrub.