Types Of Aquatic Plants For Ponds, 11 Of Our Favorites, And More

Types Of Aquatic Plants For Ponds And 11 Of Our Favorites

You’ll Want These 11 Pond Plants To Beautify Your Maryland, DC, Or Northern Virginia Pond
a little girl looking at a flower in a pond.

You can use these 11 aquatic plants for ponds to make your pond look more natural and beautiful: water poppies, dwarf cattails, corkscrew rush, moneywort, yellow iris, thalia, water hyacinth, water lettuce, water lilies, lotus, and cabomba. 

You can see what these plants look like and learn a bit about them in this article.

Our Water Feature Is Done But Not Complete

“What does that even mean?” asks Matt in confusion.

Christina looks at Matt patiently. “Look at it. The Maryland pond construction team is done, but right now, our pond just has mulch and rocks around it. It looks plainer than printer paper!”

Matt can’t help but chuckle and agree. Their new water feature does look pretty plain without anything around it. “What do you want to do about it?” Christina looks at Matt with a small smile, simply saying, “Aquatic plants.”

Christina took some of these plant ideas from this video of a Premier Ponds owner talking about his favorite aquatic plants:

Here are the other aquatic plants for ponds Christina has in mind.

11 Aquatic Plants For Ponds

a small pond with a waterfall in the middle of it.
  1. Water Poppies
  2. Dwarf Cattails
  3. Corkscrew Rush
  4. Moneywort
  5. Yellow Iris
  6. Thalia
  7. Water Hyacinth
  8. Water Lettuce
  9. Water Lillies
  10. Lotus
  11. Cabomba

These Plants Like To Live On The Edge

Bog plants, like the following 3, prefer to live around the pond where the soil is damp but not soaking wet. They can make a nice spacing between your water feature and the other parts of your yard.

1. Water Poppies

“Now these sound interesting.”

a bunch of flowers that are by a body of water.

This tropical bog plant has dark green leaves with yellow or red flowers. They bloom June through August and love full sunlight, though they can have some shade. It belongs in the damp soil right around the pond.

2. Dwarf Cattails

a close up of a plant with a bug crawling on it.

This durable plant can help filter your water so it stays cleaner and clearer. They also belong on the outskirts of a pond. Dwarf cattails can grow 1 to 2 feet high and spread out about as far.

3. Corkscrew Rush

a potted plant in the water with a sign on it.

This plant adds character to any pond as it swirls and twirls around the outside of your water feature. When the weather is warmer they’ll have flowers blooming on their tips.

Marginal Plants Can Have A Major Impact

Marginal aquatic plants for ponds grow where the water and land meet or in boggy areas. They aren’t interchangeable with bog plants because bog plants can’t grow in marginal areas.

4. Moneywort

Blue moneywort can add a nice splash of color to any pond. They love full sun or partly shady areas so they can live around almost any pond.

The creeping jenny/golden moneywort is the more common of these aquatic plants for ponds. They’re great for filling in spaces between rocks and waterfalls as they grow in nice, thick mats.

5. Yellow Iris

a bunch of flowers that are in the grass.
These amazing aquatic plants for ponds bloom for a few weeks during the spring in many different colors like white, blue, pink, and more. They grow 4 to 6 feet high and take up about half that in space so you’ll be seeing plenty of them.

6. Thalia

a bunch of flowers that are on a branch.

These late bloomers like to show their flowers in the later summer/early fall time. They also take up a good amount of space, 4 to 6 feet in height and 6 to 8 feet around. This violet-colored plant loves sunny areas.

Floating Aquatic Plants

These plants simply float on the surface of the water with their roots dangling down, filtering the water so it’s cleaner and clearer. They also give fish shade and places to hide from predators.

7. Water Hyacinth

a close up of a purple flower near water.

These flowers have bright purple petals and can spread like wildfire. Well, not that quickly, but they can start taking over a pond if you don’t cut them back every so often.

8. Water Lettuce

a close up of lettuce growing in a garden.

The description is all in the name. This aquatic plant for ponds looks like someone started growing lettuce in and around a pond. They can be pretty invasive so you’ll want to keep a close eye on their growth.

Deep Emergent Aquatic Plants

Much like floating plants, deep emergent aquatic plants take root on the bottom, but what comes out of the water are leaves and stems, not flowers. The flowers come out of the emerging parts.

9. Water Lillies

a pond filled with lots of water lilies.
These aquatic plants grow beautiful pink and/or white flowers. They provide shade and cover for fish and frogs will actually sit on them.

10. Lotus

a yellow water lily floating on top of a green lily pad.
They are also found in beautiful shades of pink and white that bloom in the late spring to midsummer. If you have one of these deep emergent plants you don’t really need the other, but you can have different colors of both.

A Submerged Aquatic Plant

These pond plants grow entirely underwater and is one of the ways to protect pond fish from predators.

11. Cabomba

a close up of some white flowers on a tree.
While the pink, magenta, or white flowers beautify the bottoms of many ponds, this pond plant has an invasive habit. This is why it’s best to have some experience with pond plants before putting them in yours.

Tropical Aquatic Plants

Go to the islands without leaving home! Tropical aquatic plants will add a new dimension to your aquatic gardening. They’re unique and have many vibrant colors. Try them out in your water garden and you’ll fall in love!

Unfortunately, unless they are properly winterized (usually that means bringing them inside or putting them in a greenhouse) they’ll die off and not grow back in the spring. Even so, they’re still a favorite!

Some of our favorite tropical plants are:

  • Umbrella Palm: Not for use as an actual umbrella. A very popular tropical marginal plant, it adds dense, slender green backdrops and height to waterscapes. It grows very well in full sun but does well in shady areas too.
  • Any Lily: Tropical Lillies are like hardy lilies, but the flowers come in more colors and can stand high off the water. The plant grows from one single central crown. The lily pads may be scalloped or toothy and may have reddish flecks.
  • Tea Cup Taro: Its name comes from the shape of the leaves, capable of collecting several ounces of water during heavy rainfall! The stems are a dark burgundy color while the leaves remain a glossy green with slight burgundy veining. It averages about 5 feet in height during the summer.

Benefits Of Aquatic Plants

a small pond with a waterfall in the middle of it.
  • Filtering water
  • Absorbing algae-feeding nutrients
  • Aerating the water
  • Providing shade and shelter
  • Adding color, texture, and beauty to ponds

Aquatic Plant Care and Control

a stone fire place surrounded by plants and rocks.

Discipline before affection. Aquatic plants need maintenance to keep them healthy and in check. You can DIY or have a professional pond contractor come to service your pond for you. You don’t want your pond plants to start turning yellow.

Left uncontrolled, plants can easily take over your pond’s ecosystem. This can throw the ecosystem off balance and keep you from enjoying your amazing water feature. Controlling pond plants is possible and helpful.

This control of plants also extends to algae. You don’t want to completely kill off all algae because that’s almost as bad for your pond as letting it grow uncontrolled. You can control algae without too much effort.

You May Also Like To Know

“So many choices, which are we going to choose?” asks Christina. Matt shrugs. “Whichever ones you want. We should definitely check out the other links on this page to see what else we can discover.”