Best Pond Plants for Garden Ponds (Top Plant Choices)

Pond Informer is supported by its readers. We may earn commission at no extra cost to you if you buy through a link on this page. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Best Pond Plants – Guide 2022 (updated list)

how to grow water lettuce in the shade
Pond plants provide a range of benefits and help bring a pond to life.

Pond plants are a great way to improve the appearance of a garden pond, as well as providing a range of benefits to its natural eco-system. Some of these benefits include natural algae removal, water filtration, water oxygenation, and predator control. Since most pond plants are usually very cost-effective and easy to maintain, they make great additions to all types of garden ponds.

Selecting the correct pond plants will depend on your individual goals and what you want from the plants themselves, as well as your hardiness zone. If you’re not sure which hardiness zone you live in, you can check out this resource here:

If you’re looking to combat algae and provide cover to your fish, certain plants will be more suitable than others. If you’re just looking to add some color to your pond, the choice is mostly down to personal preference. Most plants work very well together, so you can also mix and match different types for maximum benefits and aesthetic – the choice is up to you!

If you still can’t decide, we’ve included some general information in this article in regards to pond plants and made some recommendations on some of our favorites so the choice is a little easier.

Bestseller No. 1
Pre-Grown Hardy Water Lily Tuber (Top 4 IWGS Award) Aquatic Pond Plant Garden Assorted Free...
  • 4 Pre-grown hardy water lilies awarded by IWGS. (The International Waterlily & Water Gardening Society)
  • Enhance plant color and health with fertilizer tablets (while supplies last)
  • 100% Live Arrival Guaranteed. You will receive all rhizome superb health.

Submerged Plants (Oxygenators)

Submerged plants produce large amounts of oxygen during the day, with the oxygen being directly passed into your pond water. These types of plants also provide great cover for fish, as most grow thick but remain very soft to touch. Most submerged plants grow solely below the water surface and are able root into the bottom of the pond naturally. Alternatively, these plants will also benefit from being planted into water baskets if you’d prefer some control over their growth. Basket planting allows them to spread more evenly, but they can become brittle in summer if any of the plant is exposed to the surface air, so make sure they’re planted fairly deep. These are some of the best pond plants for oxygenating water and providing natural water filtration, as well as being very easy to take care of.

Bestseller No. 1
Marcus Fish Tanks Hornwort Coontail Ceratophyllum Easy Live Aquarium Plant Oxygenating Pond Plant...
  • IMPORTANT: Please note that during times of extreme weather, live plants will can suffer due to extreme temps. During winter, do not order...
  • LIVE AQUARIUM PLANT - 1 hornwort coontail live aquarium plant
  • SIZE - 1 Hornwort bundle with multiple stems usually 6-10 inches. Size will vary slightly as these are live plants

Our recommendations:

1) Hornwort (Carotophyllum)

Hornwort is a great oxygenator and filter plant. Photo by Ranjith-chemmad, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>

Hornwort is one of our favourite submerged pond plants and oxygenators due to how easy it is to maintain, and how many benefits it provides. The plant doesn’t need to be planted in a basket, and simply grows loose near the bottom of the pond where it slowly spreads, and over time will develop very fine, hair-like roots. You can allow it to float about, or weigh it down with plant weights, if desired.

Hornwort is a strong oxygenator plant and works well with other submerged plants. It provides excellent cover for fish, habitat for macroinvertebrates that your fish will readily munch on, and will compete with algae for nutrients, helping reduce their numbers. This plant is great for beginners and ideal for smaller ponds as it doesn’t become invasive or require frequent trimming back, though do note that you will have to trim it back at some point.

    • Height: Grows to water surface (up to 10 ft)
    • Bloom: June-August
    • Bloom Color: Green/brown (depending on species)
    • Foliage Color: Green
    • Light Conditions: Full sun to full shade
    • Planting: Free-floating (No water basket required)

2) Anacharis/Elodea  (Elodea densa)

Excellent at filtering water, anacharis can be rooted or left to free-float. Photo by Lamiot, CC BY-SA 4.0

Similar to hornwort and still very easy to care for. Anacharis is softer than hornwort and grows slightly better in colder outdoor conditions. It blooms with a small white flower in late spring through summer, and can be planted free floating or in a water basket submersed in water. An ideal plant for both small or large ponds, but it will need to be trimmed back to ensure that it doesn’t take over a small pond in summer months, as it is a fast grower and will spread very quickly if excess nutrients are available. Goldfish and koi really enjoy munching on anacharis, so this may actually be a boon as your fish can help control overgrowth.

As an added bonus, multiple studies have found anacharis to be excellent at treating wastewater, as well as filtering out pollutants and heavy metals like arsenic and zinc. In fact, within its native range of eastern South America, it’s become a popular plant in water treatment and restoration projects, particularly in locations where mining is (or was) conducted and runoff winds up in waterways. Do note that anacharis is technically invasive outside of its native range, so do take care to only plant it in your pond and not in natural waterways!

  • Height: Grows to water surface (up to 10 ft)
  • Bloom: June-August
  • Bloom Color: White (very small blooms)
  • Foliage Color: Green
  • Light Conditions: Full sun to full shade
  • Planting: Free-floating (No water basket required)

Floating Plants

Floating plants sit on the water’s surface and move with the flow of your pond. Unlike other plants, they do not require anchorage in soil, so don’t need to be planted in baskets. Floating plants are a great way to reduce the amount of sunlight penetrating a pond, which helps cool the water, provides both sunlight and predator protection for your fish, and reduces algae growth.

It’s recommended to always leave at least 50% of your pond open to the air for gas exchange to take place, so you will have to thin the number of floating plants if numbers get too large. Since these kinds of plants don’t need to be properly planted, they make very good choices for beginners looking to control algae and cool their ponds during summer. They won’t be able to survive cold winters, however, so most floating plants below should be brought indoors in a heated green house or conservatory to ensure survival into spring, or will need to be purchased again each year.

Bestseller No. 1
Three (3) Large Premium Water Hyacinth Floating Aquatic Live Tropical Plants
  • Perfect Beginner Pond Plant - Water hyacinths are popular, beginner level, easy to care for, floating pond plants! They are perfect for...
  • Super Easy & Fast to Grow - The perfect beginner plant to kick start your pond. Super simple & easy to grow, these plants will also bloom...
  • Bloom Flowers in the Summer - These plants will bloom beautiful flowers in the Summer (See pictures). Please note that you will receive the...

Our recommendations:

1) Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)

A frog sitting on water lettuce in a pond
Water lettuce provides cover and habitat for fish and other organisms from predators and excessive heat.

A very popular small floating plant with a big personality! Water lettuce grows in uniform green rosettes on the pond surface and provides very good cover from sunlight and predators. The plant is free-swimming and does not need to be planted, so is a good choice for low maintenance ponds. Water lettuce grows very fast, so is also a good choice for algae control as it quickly absorbs nutrients which algae need to grow. At the height of summer, the plant will be a very vibrant green color and adds a great natural aesthetic to pond water.

An annual plant native to hardiness zones 8 and above, water lettuce cannot survive cold winters so needs to be brought in to ensure its survival into spring. This also means the plant cannot be invasive in areas where frost and proper winter are experienced, as any left behind over winter will simply die off.

  • Height: 2″-4″ (5-10cm)
  • Bloom: June-September
  • Bloom Color: White (very small blooms)
  • Foliage Color: Green/Blue-green
  • Light Conditions: Full sun preferred
  • Planting: Free-floating (No water basket required)

2) Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)

water hyacinth with purple flowers in a pond
Water hyacinth provides a beautiful and functional addition to any pond!

A stunning floating plant which produces beautiful colored flowers in a range of different throat patterns. Water hyacinths are another popular floating plant choice, which grow to form swollen, spongy air-filled stems that enable them to float and bright green leaves. Just like water lettuce, this plant doesn’t need to be planted in a water basket and can grow happily free-floating on the pond’s surface. The plant grows fairly fast so is a good choice for algae control, and its leaves produce a good amount of coverage from UV light and predators.

Water hyacinths cannot survive cold winters below hardiness zone 9, so should to be brought indoors where there is plenty of sunlight and warmth to survive. If planted in smaller ponds, they need to be regularly trimmed back as they can quickly take over a small amount of pond water if conditions are right. When trimming back water hyacinth, you can burn the trimmed parts as the ashes make a wonderful fertilizer. It’s native primarily to the Amazon basin of Peru, Venezuela, and Brazil, so do take care to not plant water hyacinth in natural waterways or allow it to escape from your pond. 

  • Height: 4″-25″ (10-65cm)
  • Bloom: July-September (until first frost)
  • Bloom Color: Various (White/purple common)
  • Foliage Color: Green
  • Light Conditions: Full sun to full shade
  • Planting: Free-floating (No water basket required)

3) White Snowflake (Nymphoides indica)

water snowflake Nymphoides indica growing marginally in water
White snowflake should be planted marginally in at least a few inches of water. Photo by Meneerke bloem via Wikimedia Commons

Another choice of floating plant that can also be potted marginally in soil with a few inches of water for faster blooming is the lovely white snowflake. This floating marginal plant creates vibrant green pads as well as white fringed flowers. Although many classify it as the “white snowflake lily,” it is not, in fact, a true water lily. The green pads give the impression of miniature water lilies, and the plants fast growth helps reduce sunlight and algae growth.

The plant enjoys intense sunlight and grows best around margins or around water 12″ deep if floating, but can be planted deeper with a water basket and soil. A very hardy plant, white snowflake is somewhat tolerant of drought and will simply form nodes and roots to help it survive these periods. White snowflakes can grow very fast, so small pond owners should be cautious and trim back overgrowth before it becomes overcrowded. Due to their small nature, these can make a good addition to small ponds or container ponds so long as growth is regularly trimmed.

  • Height: Grows to water surface
  • Bloom: July-August (Warm weather)
  • Bloom Color: White
  • Foliage Color: Green
  • Light Conditions: Full sun (flower) or full shade (just foliage)
  • Planting: Free-floating or water basket (Depth: 1-8″)

Marginal Plants

Marginal plants are a great choice for the harsh edges of a pond, breaking up the outline to give the pond a natural aesthetic. They also offer great shade to the edges of water, helping to reduce some sunlight and cool down the pond. Algae tend to be a major nuisance in warmer, shallow pond areas, so marginal plants help reduce this issue via shading and also soaking up excess nutrients. Additionally, they help to stabilize the water bank and provide excellent habitat opportunities for fish, aquatic invertebrates (extra food for your fish!), and, if you so desire it, can really help provide a safe haven for struggling wildlife, from waterfowl and newts to butterflies.

Contrary to popular belief, most marginal plants prefer to be planted submersed in only a few centimeters of water. The best way to plant them is on a shallow shelf in a 10-20cm water basket with adequate substrate. The plant does not need to be submersed in more than a few centimeters of water, and planting deeper may cause problems with growth. If your shelves are not shallow enough, you can add gravel to a water basket to secure it down and add your planted basket directly on top. We’ll mention preferred water depth for each species below.

Bestseller No. 1
Louisiana Iris Bog Pond Plant - Colorific - White and Purple Louisiana Iris Marginal Pond Plant from...
  • Our Louisiana Irises are pre-grown, just transplant to larger container and watch them grow!
  • You get 1 "Colorific" White and Purple Louisiana Iris in a 2" pot
  • Guaranteed to arrive alive and healthy. Helps create a natural bio-filter - Aquatic plants will produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide to...

Our recommendations:

1) Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

marsh marigold growing in shade
Marsh marigold adds color while helping to filter water and stabilize soil.

A very popular choice of marginal plant which hoverflies, bees, and butterflies love in late summer when it flowers! Marsh marigold is a wet mud marginal plant that should be planted in a water basket with soil in a sunny or partially shaded area of the pond margin. It can grow with up to 10cm (4″) of water on top of it, but would do best with only a few centimetres.

A very pretty, charming plant for pond shelves and margins, its flowers provide great color and its leaves help shade pond areas from sunlight and reduce algae growth. Additionally, marsh marigold is renowned among ecologists as a wonderful restoration plant, and it’s frequently used in remediation projects to help filter out pollutants and superfluous nutrients while providing substrate stabilization and a wonderful nectar source for pollinators. Native to North America, Europe, and parts of Asia, this little plant is very unlikely to become invasive and is hardy to as low as zone 3!

If the plant is in direct sunlight it usually flowers in spring and summer, and you may be lucky to see a second flowing later in the season if conditions are right. A great choice of plant for color and if you want bees and butterflies around your pond!

  • Height: 6″-12″ (15-30cm)
  • Bloom: April-June (Warm weather)
  • Bloom Color: Yellow
  • Foliage Color: Green
  • Light Conditions: Full sun (flower) or full shade (just foliage)
  • Planting: Water basket (Depth: 2-4″)

2) Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

pickerel blue with fragrant flowers helps deter algae and provides cover for fish from sun and predators
Pickerelweed helps deter algae and provides cover for fish from sun and predators. Photo by Cephas, CC BY-SA 3.0

A marginal deep water plant that forms pale blue or purple flower spikes in August and September. Pickerel blue, as it’s also known by, is a good choice for deeper ponds, as it requires around 15-30cm (6″-10″) of water on top of its planted water basket in a sunny or partially shaded spot. It needs to be planted deeper than other marginal plants to protect its crowns over winter, although it can be planted in shallow water if you’re able to bring the plant in during colder weather.

The leaves are a delicate heart shape and provide good cover from sunlight and help with algae control in the summer. The vibrant flowers have a very pleasant scent and will attract bees and butterflies when the season is right. A favorite amongst many highly beneficial insects, the gentle bumblebee and insect-devouring dragonfly and damselfly depend on pickerelweed – bumblebees often prefer its pollen to other flowers, and dragonflies and damselflies lay their eggs in the base of the plant (this does not harm the plant).

Pickerelweed is considered a rather low maintenance marginal plant, and works well in most types of ponds along the banks and edges. For best results, and to prevent overgrowth, it should be planted in a planting basket with rich soils to provide it with ample nutrients.

  • Height: 20″-30″ (50-75cm)
  • Bloom: June-October (until first frost)
  • Bloom Color: Lavender blue
  • Foliage Color: Green
  • Light Conditions: Full sun to full shade
  • Planting: Water basket (Depth: 3-8″)

3) Chameleon Plant (Houttuynia cordata)

Colorful chameleon plants attract pollinators and provide cover for fish
The colorful chameleon plant attracts pollinators and provides cover for fish. 

A hardy marginal plant with variegated (irregular) red, green, and yellow patterned leaves, chameleon plant has a distinct scent of orange peels when crushed, making it appealing to multiple senses. This plant produces small white flowers through June to August that attract bees, hoverflies, and butterflies.

It is advised to always plant in a water basket and to trim roots around the container to limit the area in which is can spread, as it likes to grow fast! You should note that chameleon plant is native to Asia and considered invasive outside of this area and known to overtake other plants – if you live in the US or UK, we highly advise utilizing a similar plant called water dragon (Saururus cernuus) that is native to the US and not considered invasive in the UK.

Chameleon plant is a good choice for adding multiple colors to pond margins, and works well to provide shade and cover from sunlight and predators while also providing some habitat for beneficial insects, as well as sweet nectar for smaller bees and butterflies. The plant uses plenty of nutrients during growth, so is a great choice for limiting algae around the edges of a pond.

  • Height: 4″-8″ (10-20cm)
  • Bloom: May-June (Summer)
  • Bloom Color: White
  • Foliage Color: Green/red/yellow (irregular)
  • Light Conditions: Full sun or full shade
  • Planting: Water basket (Depth: 1-2″)

4) Variegated Cattail Dwarf (Typha Latifolia variegata)

Variegated dwarf cattails filter water and provide ample shelter for fish
Variegated dwarf cattails filter water and provide ample shelter for fish while maintaining a smaller profile. Photo by Agnieszka Kwiecień, Nova, CC BY-SA 4.0

A classic hardy marginal pond plant that flowers with typical cattail catkins on top and forms a tall, variegated stalk. The term “variegated” is in reference to its stalks and leaves that have white and green vertical striping. Dwarf cattails are common plants around lakes, but they also work great for larger ponds. However, while most cattails can reach well over 5 feet in height, the variegated cattail dwarf typically only reaches up to 3 feet, making it ideal for ponds without overtaking them or obstructing your view.

As with other cattails, this dwarf cattail is adept at filtering water, holding soil in place, and providing ample habitat for everything from fish to aquatic insects to waterfowl, turtles, and newts. Whether you’re seeking to create a wildlife pond or simply have a functional, yet attractive garden pond, this plant is likely to suit your needs.

The plant is very hardy, able to lay dormant in winter so long as the water doesn’t freeze all the way down and then resume growing again in the spring. Unlike some other cattail plants, this particular species has been bred to provide accented cream-coloured stripes, making it more visually striking. A very nice choice of plant for a pond backdrop or as a striking border along the margins. It should be planted in 3cm-15cm (1″-6″) of depth in a water basket with soil for best growing results.

  • Height: 20″-40″ (50-100cm)
  • Bloom: July-September
  • Bloom Color: Brown cattail
  • Foliage Color: White/green
  • Light Conditions: Full sun or full shade
  • Planting: Water basket (Depth: 2-6″)

Water Lilies

One of the most recognizable and sought-after pond plants is the water lily. These plants require calm, still water to grow successfully, and grow best when placed away from a pond’s waterfalls, fountains, or pumps. They’re best planted in water baskets during late spring or summer in an open area of the pond with plenty of sun.

Unlike marginal plants, water lilies require a good amount of depth for healthy growth. Different species will prefer different depths, so you will need to make sure your pond is deep enough to grow the particularly type of lily you choose. Typically, a depth of around 15-30 cm is ideal when the lily is young, and bricks or gravel can be used to raise a pond section to the correct depth if the area is too deep. As the lily grows it can be moved deeper into your pond until it reaches the bottom or desired depth. Just like floating plants, water lilies are great choices to help cool down a pond and control algae growth by removing sunlight and nutrients – they also look fantastic!

Bestseller No. 1
Pre-Grown Hardy Water Lily Tuber (Top 4 IWGS Award) Aquatic Pond Plant Garden Assorted Free...
  • 4 Pre-grown hardy water lilies awarded by IWGS. (The International Waterlily & Water Gardening Society)
  • Enhance plant color and health with fertilizer tablets (while supplies last)
  • 100% Live Arrival Guaranteed. You will receive all rhizome superb health.

Our recommendations:

  • Height: Grows to water surface
  • Bloom: Summer (depends somewhat on variety)
  • Bloom Color: Various
  • Foliage Color: Green
  • Light Conditions: Full sun preferred
  • Planting: Water basket (Depth: 5-10″)

The Benefits of Pond Plants

1)  Natural Water Filtration 

At the heart of every healthy pond is a naturally occurring process called the nitrogen cycle. This involves the breakdown of harmful organic substances into their consistent inorganic compounds, providing natural pond filtration. Essentially, beneficial bacteria convert ammonia to nitrites, and then nitrites into nitrates. Nitrates are then absorbed by pond plants (including algae) and used during growth, along with Co2 and sunlight. The more pond plants you have, the more nitrates can be removed, and the more oxygen will be produced as a by-product.

Having pond plants with fish is especially helpful, as fish waste greatly increases ammonia and sludge, which in turn can reduce oxygen levels as bacteria use this during the decomposition process. Plants not only help with the natural absorption of excess nutrients, but also provide a constant supply of dissolved oxygen to pond fish and beneficial bacteria.

2) Increase Oxygenation

As mentioned above, pond plants are great natural oxygenators and can help give fish ponds a healthy boost. Submerged pond plants are much better at oxygenating water compared to other types, as the oxygen they produce during photosynthesis is directly dissolved into the surroundings. Also, in warmer months where oxygen content is naturally lower, pond plants are at their height of oxygen production, creating a more stable environment for fish.

As well as fish, beneficial bacteria also benefit from increased levels of oxygen as they require this during the decomposition process. As they work breaking down harmful substances they use oxygen, and the more oxygen that is readily available the more efficient they can work. For our guide that focuses specifically on the top plants for oxygenating water, click here.

3) Help Control Pond Algae

Another key benefit of growing pond plants is the long-term control of pond algae. Algae grow via the same process as most plants, and also require the same base nutrients. Pond plants will be directly competing with algae for growth, absorbing vital nutrients it requires to grow and spread. Floating plants and submerged plants will also compete with free-swimming and string algae for sunlight, and eventually they will begin to block enough light to halt algae from growing altogether.

Even though plants are a great way to control algae, they will not be able to remove an algae bloom already present. They’re also a long-term method of control, and you will only start seeing results as your plants grow and become properly established. To ensure the best growth for your plants, as much algae as possible should be first removed so there is less competition for nutrients and sunlight. If you want to learn more about specific algae species and which ones are good or bad, check out our article here.

4) Provide Protection from Predators

Pond plants also provide great cover for fish against predators, such as herons and cats. Thick submerged pond plants and large floating plants will be able to give your fish plenty of cover and places to hide if needed. Even for a determined predator, having a large amount of plants makes fishing very difficult, as they rely heavily on sight to make the catch. This is especially true during spring when plants are growing rapidly, as predators will be aggressively hunting for food for their young.

Having a healthy water garden of plants will provide extra protection during spring and summer when predators are hunting on double shifts. Most plants with thick foliage will be able to provide good cover, but we feel the best pond plant picks would be submersed plants and floating plants, particularly water lilies.

Pond Plant Buying and Planting Tips

Several purple water lilies blooming in a pond
Most water lilies will thrive at depths of 50cm and do not need to be planted deeper.

Most common aquatic plants will provide the above mentioned benefits, so choosing the best pond plants is a little tough. In general, submerged pond plants are better oxygenators than other plants, as oxygen released during photosynthesis is immediately dissolved in the water. Fast growers are great for algae control as they compete aggressively for nutrients, and floating plants are good choices for hiding fish from predators.

However, you also need to consider the size of your pond, water depth, and number of shelves accessible to new plants. The biggest problem with adding marginal plants is with ponds with no shelves or with shelves far too deep for pond growth. The majority of marginal plants prefer to be covered by no more than a few centimetres of water; so planting at 5cm depth is far better than 20cm.

In regards to water lilies, many people tend to plant them too deep at around 1m+ of depth. Most types of water lilies actually grow better and prefer a depth of half that, around 50cm, so this should be taken into account. Plants added too deeply will struggle to grow and will eventually die, so make sure to take into account the proper planting depth for each type of plant.

As well as this, some pond plants are easier to care for than others, and some are much hardier when it comes to seasonal change. Selecting a native plant to your country will ensure the plant can grow in its current environment, but there is no reason not to choose a non-native plant if you like how it looks and you ensure that it doesn’t escape into nature. For example, a plant from a more tropical climate may just need some extra winter protection (cover) to survive the colder months, but will flourish the same as other plants during spring and summer.

Water Planting Baskets and Fertilizer

Pond substrate works best for planting in or near ponds
Pond plant media is a better alternative to messy soil and stops fertilizer from leaking into water

Most free-floating and submerged plants won’t require much extra attention and will grow quite happily so long as your pond is in overall good health. Marginal plants and water lilies like to be planted in sturdy water baskets and would benefit from the occasional fertilizer for quality flowering. Submerged plants can also be added to planting baskets to limit growth, and this may be especially helpful in smaller ponds where growth may be particularly rapid, although it is not essential.

Planting baskets can be filled with a mix of soil and gravel as a top layer to stop water clouding, although we generally recommend a dedicated pond plant media for best results. The benefit of using a media designed for aquatic plants is there will be little water clouding and the media helps trap nutrients from fertilizers so they don’t leak into your pond as heavily. We recommend API Pond Aquatic Plant Media or PondCare’s Natural Aquatic Plant Media.

What if my pond shelves are too deep?

If you want to plant marginal plants but your pond or shelves are too deep, you can try to prop up the height with a large planting basket filled with gravel. Marginal plants prefer to be covered by only a few centimetres of water (usually less than 15cm), so planting them too deep can cause major problems with growth. If you’re adding the gravel basket, you can try to add the planted basket with marginal plants directly on top. This may provide the required depth for the plants to grow, and so long as they’re not too deep (15cm+), you should be fine.

If your pond has no shelves and is deep, there is little you can do when it comes to adding marginal plants. Re-structuring the pond layout or building a new pond may be the best solution, but this is obviously a last resort. If building a new pond doesn’t sound too appealing, we recommend sticking to floating plants, lilies, and submerged plants for best results in deeper water with no shelves.

8 thoughts on “Best Pond Plants for Garden Ponds (Top Plant Choices)”

  1. I found your recommendations very useful. Unfortunately I live in England where the EU has banned many essential pond plants such as Elodea and water hyacinth throughout Europe because it is claimed that they overrun the waterways of hot countries such as Spain and Portugal. This does not happen in England as we’re much colder than these countries and the plants are not a threat. Good article anyway, even if I can’t obtain the plants.

    • Hi Linda,

      Thank you for the comment. Glad you enjoyed the article!

      Yes, you’re right, EU laws are quite strict on some of these species; especially the submerged growers. I’ll try to update this article in future to add more choices for UK/EU readers which are native to the continent. I’m sure there are some good ones we can include alongside!

      In the mean time, you can find further plant recommendations in other articles, some of which also include a few native species to the UK –

  2. I am a pond beginner having just moved into a house with two concrete ponds at the edge of a forested area. I found the information in this article to be very informative, practical and encouraging. I was seriously tempted to fill in the ponds before I read it!
    Do you have any information on making them child friendly as all my grandchildren are under seven years of age?
    I am from Ireland and would welcome information about plants which would work here and are EU approved.

    Many thanks

    • Hi Ann,

      Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the article!

      In terms of making it child-friendly, for now you may consider placing a fence around the ponds temporarily (or permanently, of course, if you’d like). If you’re concerned with aesthetics, a wood fence may look nicer and you can get some nice tall flowers, grasses, and shrubs to help the fence add to the aesthetic instead of taking away from it. You may also consider making at least one side of each pond into a shallow, gradual slope (if not already present), that way if one of the children happen to fall into the pond, they can more easily get themselves out.

      I’m from the U.S. but did a bit of digging on the plants of Ireland. I’ve included some resources for you that I hope are helpful! The first includes all native wildflowers found in Ireland, both aquatic as well as terrestrial. The second is a link to a list of EU banned invasive species – it includes aquatic plants, terrestrial plants, marginal plants, and all invasive animals as well. It may be more in depth than you need, but I thought including a list of all may be more helpful than just a list of only the aquatic species.

  3. Hi! I’m a pond beginner in the US, Michigan specifically. I am planning a garden/wildlife pond for next spring. I intend to use native plants only around and in the pond. My question is, I love plants such as marsh marigold, cardinal flower, and pickerel weed. I would also like to include species such as native sedges, jewel weed and skunk cabbage. For the marginal plants, I can grow all in a basket? I’m trying to figure out how to have these incorporated and to naturalize a bit. I’m specifically concerned about how to grow skunk cabbage as it’s roots can reach down a foot. Any pointers? Thanks!!

    • Hi Emily,

      I’m also from Michigan, so it’s nice to come across a fellow native here! Those are all excellent plant choices for filtration as well as wildlife habitat, and I’m very happy that you’re focusing on species native to the area! The skunk cabbage will also help to melt the snow and ice around your pond more quickly in the spring, as an added bonus, because it generates its own heat from its starchy roots to help it grow earlier in the season than most other plants.

      I would say that all of those can be grown in aquatic baskets or pots if desired, though it shouldn’t be necessary for the cardinal flower, pickerelweed, or jewel weed. You can for the sedges if you’re concerned about spread, but with native species this shouldn’t be of much concern and sedges are pretty easy to dig up if needed, anyway.

      Skunk cabbage is fairly adaptable so long as it has moist soil or some standing water, so you can plant it in a basket – just make it a basket a bit on the larger side so that the plant isn’t stunted. They have rhizomes, so it might actually be beneficial to have it in a basket so that it’s less likely to spread all over the place (unless you’d like that to happen, which is also fine as it has tremendous ecological value!). Do keep in mind that as the plant matures, its roots pull it deeper into the ground – so if it does spread farther than you’d like, it can become very difficult to dig up, so baskets may be useful in that regard. In terms of growing skunk cabbage in general, it doesn’t take much! It’s tolerant of soils more on the alkaline side as well as more on the acidic side, and is pretty happy in mucky soils. They’re ephemeral, so it’s best planted in the spring just as it’s coming out of dormancy. Really just keep it shaded and moist and skunk cabbage will be happy!

      I hope that this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions, and best of luck with your future pond!

    • Hi Darlene,

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      The only other names that I’m aware of it also being called is water snowflake and crested floatingheart. The Latin name is Nymphoides hydrophylla, if you would like to look up more information. There is a similar variety also suitable for water gardens with the Latin name Nymphoides indica, which has flowers that are more fringed than that of N. hydrophylla. Both are somewhat confusingly known as white snowflake or water snowflake.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.