Plants add beauty to the pond and aid in maintaining a healthy environment for fish. In addition, plants provide food and shelter for the creatures that may reside in the pond.
Pond plants include deep water plants, oxygenating plants, marginal plants, floating plants and bog plants.
When choosing plants find out how large they may grow. Make sure your pond will not be too small to fit the plants you plan to grow in it, also check to see if the plants will be winter hardy in your area. Keeping pond plants alive in your home until spring arrives is a messy task.
If you have a small pond you may want to use pots to avoid having problems with plant roots. Fabric pond pots or mesh pots are best. Fabric pond pots allow air to pass through them, allowing the plants to grow in a natural and healthy way. Soil won’t leak through these pots so your pond will remain clear. Mesh pots allow the roots of the plants to receive enough water.
Be sure you choose plants for each layer of the pond. Each type of plant has a different use.
Deep water plants can help remove waste from the pond by using it as natural fertilizer. These plants grow quickly with the use of aquatic plant fertilizers, lots of oxygen and lots of sunlight. Good choices for deep water plants include Lotus, Water Lilies and Water Hawthorn. Lotus and Water Lilies like water that is at least two feet (60 cm) deep. Water Hawthorn like water from 3 to 24 inches (8cm to 60cm) deep.
Oxygenating plants provide oxygen, food and shelter for the creatures in the pond. They also compete with algae by absorbing nutrients and carbon dioxide that algae need to grow. These plants help maintain the water quality of the pond and also provide spawning areas for the fish. Some good choices for oxygenating plants include Hornwort, Water Milfoil, Water Violet and Water Buttercup.
Floating plants float atop the pond water and help provide shade for the creatures in the pond. Good choices for floating plants include Water Chestnut, Water Hyacinths, Water Soldier, Bladderwort and Water Lettuce. Avoid Duckweed as it grows quickly and will easily cover the entire surface of the pond. This will prevent photosynthesis from taking place and decrease the oxygen available for the plants and fish to survive.
Marginal plants grow in the shallower edges of the pond. They typically grow in 2 to 12 inches (5cm to 30cm) of water. Good choices for marginal plants include Sweet Flag, Marsh Marigold, Golden Buttons, Pickerel, Iris, Golden Sedge, Japanese Arrowhead, Bog bean and Lobelia. Cattails provide shelter, provide food and prevent erosion among other things. Unfortunately, they grow quickly and may be difficult to control. Avoid them unless you have the right resources and time to constantly prevent them from getting out of hand.
Bog plants grow around the edge of the rim and need lots of moisture. Bog plants also do well in wet mud. These plants prevent pond water from turning green because they filter surplus nutrients that algae need. Good choices include Primula, Astilbe and Lysimachia.