Aquatic Plants You’ll Want For Your Pond After You See Them

Some Beautiful Aquatic Plants You’ll Want In Your Maryland, DC, Or Northern Virginia Pond

Want to make a pond paradise? You’ll need some aquatic plants first! They bring all kinds of benefits to backyard ponds, such as:

  • Filtering water
  • Absorbing algae-feeding nutrients
  • Aerating the water
  • Providing shade and shelter
  • Adding color, texture, and beauty to ponds

Plants are key to a healthy pond ecosystem. Don’t overdo it or it may actually hurt the ecosystem

Premier Ponds SIlver Spring aquatic plants in water feature

Ponds typically have 40-60% surface coverage of plants. Don’t worry if your pond is mostly covered in shade, plenty of aquatic plants can still grow and flourish! All you need is the right selection.

See water feature construction and maintenance pricing >>

Now to find out what types of plants go in ponds.

Plants and Pond Construction

There are 3 main types of pond plants. Each of these helps a pond in a certain way:

  • Submerged Plants: good for feeding and protecting fish, these plants stay underwater
  • Marginal/Bog Plants: provides natural spacing between the pond and a yard or fence as they surround the edge of the pond
  • Floating: give fish shade and protection as these plants float on the surface

water lily floating in pond

All of these water garden plants also help filter the water, keeping it clean and healthy. After you choose what plants you want, it’s time to install them. This can happen in one of two ways.

Learn more about aquatic plants and pond construction >>

#1- Plants in Pots

We have a plant stock pond full of choices! Potting helps keep the plants under control as they grow. Eventually, they outgrow their pots and need dividing, usually about every 2-3 years.

bamboo, arrow arum, corkscrew, and cattail pond plants

This is an important service! You don’t want your plants getting too big and spreading to the rest of the pond.

The plant pots we use are 6”-7” in height and work perfectly on 12” shelves for marginal plants. The extra bit of height allows for some variation in the water level in the pond so it won’t go below the top of the pot.

#2- Bare-Root Planting

It’s as the name implies. We take a small section of a plant and put the roots right into the rocks and gravel. It has a nice, natural look to it, but there’s always the risk of a plant takeover! Prevent a plant invasion by choosing a less invasive species for this method of planting.

lotus, pickerel rush, lizards tail, and sagittarius aquatic plants

Plant Types for Ponds

These plant types are what you need:

Bog Plants

Shrek lives in a large bog, and so do some plants. Bogs are an area surrounding a pond that’s higher up than the water. It’s a wet, soiled area that can help to further filter your pond. A bog can be dug into the ground or built above it, it’s up to you and the area.

cattails for a water feature

The bog’s pumped full of water from the pond, filling it up all the way. The water flows upwards, bringing nutrients to the plants, and then spills back into the pond. Learn more about bogs!

In the margins of the pond are the…

Marginal Plants

Living on the edge like Aerosmith. The pond edge. Shallow water or extremely wet soil are the perfect place for marginal plants. This includes pond grass! Grass may seem like a bland option, but it’s this blandness that makes the other plants absolutely pop!

marsh grass for the pond margins

Then there are plants that float?!

Floating Plants

Like a cloud, floating plants provide shade. But floating plants also provide shelter for fish from predators. Floating plants have roots that drag through the water and help filter it. If there are plants on the top, then there are plants on the bottom.

water lilies make great floating plants

20,000 leagues below the pond are the submerged plants.

Under the Pond

Submersing in 3…2…1… underwater plants! These submerged plants are perfect for protecting and even feeding fish!

Learn more about pond plant types >>

If you want to get fancy, get some tropical plants!

The Popular Plants

3 of our most commonly used hardy pond plants:

Thalia: A large, upright plant that forms large clumps. It usually grows in water but can grow in wet soil too. It has purple flowers in large, branching clusters at the top of the flowering stems. The flowers look like small grapes so dragonflies and hummingbirds love them!

Iris: Water Iris’ are very sturdy pond plants with stalks that can grow up to 6’ tall if they get enough nutrients. They do well in shallow water and can even live out of the pond in damp soil. They come in a variety of beautiful colors like yellow and blue.

yellow iris a popular pond plant

Pickerel Rush: The Pickerel Rush, known as pickerelweed, has shiny, green, spear-shaped foliage with a distinctive swirling. They send up spikes of soft blue flowers reaching 18-24″ tall. The plant adapts from very shallow water to depths of up to 18″. It does well in sun to part shade and will bloom late spring through early autumn.

Find more popular pond plants >>

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.

tropical lily for your backyard water feature

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′ in height during the summer.

Once you choose the plants, then you must care for and control them.

Plant Care and Control

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

dying aquatic plants in need of repotting

Left uncontrolled, plants can easily take over the pond ecosystem. This can throw the ecosystem off balance and keep you from enjoying your amazing water feature. You can learn about controlling pond plants here!

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. Learn why!

Premier Ponds Plants

Let Premier Ponds help you enjoy the benefits of aquatic plants- the scenery and the maintenance. Let us assist you with plants for your pond or if you have any questions on water features.

Check out pond maintenance services for spring, summer, fall, and winter >>