10 Pond Plants for Australia (Native Picks)

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Australian pond with plants
There is a large number of stunning native pond plants to choose from if you’re a pond owner in Australia. Nicolás Boullosa / CC BY 2.0

Creating a thriving ecosystem in your pond starts with picking the right plants, and if you’re in Australia, you’ve got some stunning native options. These aren’t just any plants, they’re ones that evolved right here in the Australian climate, ready to spruce up your water garden with minimum fuss or maintenance.

Plus, going with natives means you’re providing huge benefits to local wildlife, offering them more habitats and improving biodiversity in your local area.

1) Nardoo (Marsilea drummondii)

Nardoo in pond
Nardoo is an aquatic fern with a unique appearance, resembling clover leaves! Mark Marathon, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nardoo is a native Australian aquatic fern with interesting clover-like leaves. Not only does it look unique, but it’s also really adaptable, thriving in water up to one meter deep.

Nardoo loves sunshine, so you’ll want your pond in a spot that gets plenty of it, ideally around 6 hours a day. It’s pretty easy-going with temperatures too, doing well in waters anywhere between 20°C and 30°C. Just so you know, it’s also a hit with the local frogs, who might use it for spawning.

2) Water ribbon (Cycnogeton procerum)

Water ribbon
Water ribbon can reach heights of up to 45 cm and is suited to growing around pond edges. Harry Rose / CC BY 2.0

This native aquatic plant, with its long flowing leaves, adds a touch of elegance to your water garden. Known scientifically as Cycnogeton procerum, water ribbons are well-suited to life at the edges of your pond. This hardy plant can grow in both shallow water and at pond margins, reaching about 45 cm in height.

It’s a pretty adaptable plant. If you submerge it, the leaves change form to cope with the flowing water. It thrives in a variety of conditions and can be just the thing to give your pond that natural, local feel.

3) Fairy fan flower (Scaevola aemula)

Fairy fan flowers
Fairy fan flower is low-maintenance and tolerant to drought once established, meaning that it only needs occasional watering. Aeffenberger, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The fairy fan flower, or Scaevola aemula, is a charming addition to your native pond. You’ll love its lush, mat-forming growth habit, perfect for softening the pond’s edge. With its fan-like blooms that come in a variety of purples and blues, this perennial herb enhances your water feature’s natural look.

It’s easy to care for, preferring well-draining soil and a sunny spot. Once established, it becomes drought-tolerant, needing only occasional watering. So, if you’re aiming for a low-maintenance but visually appealing pond plant, fairy fan flower is your go-to.

4) Swamp lily (Crinum pedunculatum)

Swamp lily
Swamp lily is native to Australia and can thrive in a variety of soil conditions. Peter coxhead, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Swamp lily, known scientifically as Crinum pedunculatum, is an Australian native perennial that adds elegance with its large and fragrant white flowers. Typically reaching about 2.5 meters in height, it can create an impressive display around pond margins or creek banks.

Swamp lilies thrive in various soil conditions, even in areas with poor drainage. They prefer a nice sunny spot to flourish. You won’t need to fuss over these lilies too much, as they’re quite hardy and adapt well to different environments.

5) Cape pondweed (Aponogeton distachyos)

Cape pondweed
If you decide to plant cape pondweed in your pond, be sure to manage its spread so that it doesn’t have a negative impact. Marco Schmidt[1], CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
This plant’s ability to thrive in water features and ponds makes it popular among gardening enthusiasts. If you’ve got a spot in your pond that gets partial sunlight, cape pondweed could be just the right fit.

Notably, it’s a floating plant that presents a bunch of small, white flowers which can add a pleasant visual contrast to the greens typically dominating ponds. Just keep an eye on its growth, as you don’t want it shading out everything else in your pond. The leaves are firm and glossy, creating a tidy look on the water surface.

A piece of advice: make sure to manage cape pondweed properly. Without careful control, it could spread too far and impact the pond’s ecology. You’ll want to balance its beauty with a consideration of the other living things in your pond.

6) Marsh club-rush (Bolboschoenus medianus)

Marsh club-rush
Not only does marsh club-rush provide a habitat and breeding ground for wildlife, but it also helps to protect pond banks from erosion. Leon Perrie / CC BY 4.0

You’ll find the marsh club-rush, or Bolboschoenus medianus, quite a hardy inhabitant of your Aussie pond. It’s a perennial sedge known to grow to about 1.5 meters tall. With its preference for the wet, muddy edges of water bodies, your pond offers the ideal home for this native species. The plant sports a creeping rhizome, enabling it to spread easily along your pond’s margins.

Marsh club-rush is more than just pond decor; it plays a key role in your pond’s ecosystem. It provides excellent habitat and breeding ground for local wildlife such as frogs and small pond creatures. Plus, its tall structure and dense growth help to stabilize pond banks against erosion.

7) Tassel sedge (Carex fascicularis)

Tassel sedge
Tassel sedge gets its name from its green seed pods that dangle like tassels. Harry Rose / CC BY 2.0

Tassel sedge, or Carex fascicularis, is a grass-like plant with a fondness for wet areas. In spring, this sedge is particularly striking as it sports green seed pods that dangle like tassels.

Planting tassel sedge in your pond area isn’t just about looks; it’s also about creating a habitat for wildlife and stabilizing your pond edges. Its adaptability makes it suitable for both dry creek beds and water features. So, if you’re aiming for a natural aesthetic, tassel sedge is a wise and beautiful choice for your Australian water garden.

8) Tall sedge (Carex appressa)

Tall sedge
Tall sedge is best suited to pond margins, where it forms dense clumps. John Tann / CC BY 2.0

Tall sedge, also known as Carex appressa, is adaptable and sturdy. This Australian native is ideal for pond margins where it forms a dense clumping habit. You’ll find that it grows up to a meter in height with narrow green leaves that sway gracefully in the wind.

In your pond set-up, tall sedge will offer shelter and spawning grounds for pond life, contributing positively to your pond’s ecosystem. This hardy plant prefers full sunlight to partial shade and will thrive in most soil types as long as they are wet.

9) Cumbungi (Typha spp.)

Cumbungi is a native pond plant that can be spotted near dams, slow-moving waterways, and swamps all across Australia. Le.Loup.Gris, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ve likely seen cumbungi standing tall by the water’s edge, with its characteristic sausage-shaped seed heads that are hard to miss. It’s a native pond plant with a penchant for swamps, dams, and slow-moving waterways across Australia. With cane-like stems reaching heights of 4 meters and long, blue-grey leaves, they make a striking addition to any wetland garden.

Handling cumbungi requires a bit of know-how. It’s super easy for this plant to spread, potentially crowding out other species. So, managing its growth ensures both your garden and local ecosystems stay healthy. This plant is more than just looks; it provides shelter and food for wildlife, slipping into the role of an aquatic nursery for fish and insects with ease.

10) Water milfoil (Myriophyllum spp.)

Water milfoil
Water milfoil is known for being rather resilient and can survive in water depths of up to 1 meter. Harry Rose / CC BY 2.0

Thriving in fresh water, this native plant is adaptable and can root in various substrates such as gravel. You’ll find it rather resilient, capable of surviving in water depths up to 1 meter.

Your pond benefits from water milfoil beyond its aesthetic appeal. It introduces oxygen into the water and provides a nurturing habitat for fish and amphibians. With its bright green foliage, it paints a lush picture by spreading across the water’s surface, sometimes peeking out up to 15 cm above.

Chris G
About the author

Chris G

Pond consultant and long-time hobbyist who enjoys writing in his spare time and sharing knowledge with other passionate pond owners. Experienced with pond installation, fish stocking, water quality testing, algae control and the troubleshooting of day-to-day pond related problems.

Read more about Pond Informer.

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