The best water plants for backyard ponds. To get your garden ready for the summer months, and improve the backyard pond is best to know what water plants are thriving in your geographical area. Discover what type of plants are best suited for a koi pond and how to use them to create a water feature that will wow your neighbors and your guests.

What are water ponds and why you might install one?

Backyard ponds are a great way to add some natural beauty and wildlife to your home. They are also an excellent way to provide relief from the heat of the summer.

A water pond is a shallow body of water that is designed for aesthetic purposes. It can be created by making a hole in the ground, filling it with water, and then adding beautiful plants, rocks, and algae.

The best water plants for backyard ponds

Pond owners install aquatic life in their yards because it makes a great addition to the outdoor living space and a natural eco-method to cool during the summer months.

Adding water garden plants to a small pond is great because it can soften the rocky edges, but will also create a wonderful color palette and spread beautiful scents around your backyard pond. Everyone has their own favorite collection of pond plants, but there might still be some varieties that you have yet not added to your pond.

Understanding what are water plants

Water plants are known as aquatic plants or hydrophytes that grow in aquatic environments. Ponds, lakes, and wetlands support the growth of these types of plants. Aquatic plants have special parts that allow them to thrive on the surface of the water or submerged water.

· Deep floaters that can float freely within the ponds without holding on to any soil

· Rooted plants are the ones that are rooted under the soil but have certain parts that float on the water’s surface

Types of aquatic plants

There are mainly five types of aquatic plants. You should keep this in mind when you planning to build a water pond in your garden.

  • Bog plants
  • Marginal Plants
  • Deep marginal plants
  • Deep water plants for oxygenating
  • Floating plants

Even before you start designing the water pond, you have to clarify what kind of plants will dominate the backyard area. A good idea is to mix a variety of tropical plants with small flowers to create an aesthetic design that’s not only practical but eye-pleasing too.

Let’s elaborate and explore some of the best pond plants and why you should choose them for your backyard pond:

Bog plants

Bog plants love moisture and are a great way to add life to your pond. They can be planted near the water column of the pond or in the middle and comes with a large pack of benefits such as the following:

  • Great for hiding ugly elements of a pond, like pipes and filters.
  • Provide protection from predators such as raccoons, birds, and other animals that might want to eat your fish.
  • Help reduce algae by filtering out excess nutrients that feed algae growth.
  • Are great for providing shade which is important for fish in the summer months when they need to cool off.
  • They do a great job of filtering the excess nutrients from the water which helps prevent algae growth and keep your water clear.

Marginal Plants

These are plants that grow in shallow water. They have roots that need to be completely drenched in water. The depth of these plants is about 0-15 cm.

Deep marginal plants

These are plants that will emerge and flower above the water. The planting depth of these plants is 15-40 cm.

Deep water plants for oxygenating

If you want to have a healthy pond, you need to have these deep-water plants. These plants might either float on the top of the pond, be completely submerged, or stick out slightly. These plants are very valuable as they absorb the water nutrients from the water and prevent the nuisance algae from growing. Thus the pond water remains clean. The depth of this plant is over 40 cm.

Floating plants

These plants sit on the surface of the plant. They are low maintenance and provide a handy place for the pond wildlife.

Best garden pond plants

These are marginal plants that are appropriate for larger ponds. Growing them is easy. They also provide lots of buttery yellow flowers.

Water hyacinth for backyard ponds

Water hyacinth for backyard ponds

Water hyacinth is a free-floating aquatic plant that is native to South America. It was introduced to the United States in the late 1800s as an ornamental plant.

Water hyacinth are considered invasive because they quickly spread, crowding out native plants and wildlife. They also have a negative impact on water quality by releasing toxins into the water which can kill fish and other animals.

If you want to grow water hyacinth for your backyard pond, you should know that it needs plenty of sunlight and clean, still water with a pH between 6-8.

Water forget me not

Water forget me not flower for a small pond

These are the best aquatic plants that are easy to grow on the margins of the pond. It has clusters of tiny blue-colored flowers and these flowers also have a yellow eye. These plans hide the ugly pond liners and also soften the hard lines. They grow best in ponds that have water not deeper than 1,9”. The flowering time is between May to September.

Lotus flower for backyard pond

Lotus flower for backyard pond
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Lotus is a beautiful flower that is often used in Buddhism as a symbol of purity. It has been known to grow underwater and can be found in ponds and lakes in many parts of the world.

Lotus flower is a perennial aquatic plant that grows in water. It has broad leaves, which are either floating or submerged, and it produces yellow, pink, or white flowers on long stems above the water surface. The lotus can grow up to 3 feet tall and it produces round flowers with petals that are usually pink or white.

Frogbit – Scientific name Hydrocharis morsus ranae

Frogbit - Scientific name Hydrocharis morsus ranae for backyard koi pond

This is a plant that provides shade to the creatures that dwell in the pond. This is quite an attractive floating plant that has rounded leaves and small, white-colored flowers. There is also a yellow spot on each of these petals. These look like small water lilies.

Water Lily is one of the best flowers for water ponds

Water Lily is one of the best flowers for water ponds

This is one of the most beautiful flowers to grow on a pond. This is available in different colors including white, red, yellow, and pink. They need lots of sunlight and will thrive if they are fed with plant food for ponds. The water lilies do not like running or splashing water on the pads.

Eichhornia crassipes plant for backyard ponds

Eichhornia crassipes plant for backyard ponds

Eichhornia crassipes is a plant that can be used in backyard ponds and other water features.

The plant is native to the southern hemisphere and was introduced to North America in the early 1900s. It grows best in moist soil and partial shade, so it has been used as a ground cover for banks, slopes, and other areas where drainage is a problem.

Eichhornia crassipes plants are also popular for use in backyard ponds because they have long roots that can reach deep into the soil to extract nutrients. This makes them ideal for conditions where there is not enough organic material to feed aquatic life.

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Spiked watermilfoil – Scientific name Myriophyllum spicatum

Spiked watermilfoil - Scientific name Myriophyllum spicatum

Spiked watermilfoil is a plant that grows deep in water and remains sunken all the time great for oxygenating the water for the backyard pond. It provides very healthy pond water, but also provides a habitat for the tadpoles.

Marsh Marigold is another great flower for a water pond

is another great flower for a water pond

This is also known as the king cup and is a very attractive marginal plant. It has vivid butter cup-like tallow flowers on straight stems. These are attractive to butterflies, bees, and hoverflies. This is a great choice if you want to add some bee-friendly plants to your pond.

Water Crowfoot – Scientific name Ranunculus aquatilis

Water Crowfoot - Scientific name Ranunculus aquatilis

Water crowfoot is a very effective oxygenator and has leaves that sit above and under the water. They are useful and beautiful. These plants are 15 to 60 cm deep.

Golden Club

Golden Club plant for backyard pond

This is an interesting addition to your pond. This is a sculptural deep-water perennial plant. It has blue/green floating leaves. The stalk is long, upright, and white pencil-shaped along with a yellow tip in the spring. These plants help in keeping the pond water clean. They go up to a depth of 40 cm under the sun.

Amphibious Bistort

Amphibious Bistort plant for pond

This is a very good marginal pond plant. It has dark green floating leaves. The flowers are upright, pink, and have the shape of a bottle brush. They have a sturdy stem that has a height of about 30 cm. These plants are strong and grow very fast. They can thrive in water that is up to 40 cm deep.

Scarlet monkeyflower – Scientific name Erythranthe cardinalis

Scarlet monkeyflower - Scientific name Erythranthe cardinalis

This is a spreading marginal plant. It has tomato red-colored flowers. To encourage the growth of more flowers, you should remove the seed heads.

How to plant pond plants

  •  For small ponds, it is important to grow the pond plants in containers to prevent them from growing too large. These containers are called aquatic baskets. These have open latticework sides that allow the water, gases, and air to flow freely.
  •  Line these containers using a porous fabric. You can use garden soil but that should be free of fertilizers.
  • Add a few pebbles so that the containers do not float.
  • The plants should be sunk to the depth of the original containers except that they are rhizomes. If they are rhizomes they have to peak just over the surface soil.
  • You can drop in some oxygenating plants into the water.

How many oxygenating plants do you need for your pond

Theoretically, you can add as many oxygenating plants as you like depending on its size, but a basic rule is to add three different types of plant species per square meter.

Type of wildlife that your pond will attract

Plants tend to attract wildlife into your pond very quickly. This pond becomes a great place to live for fish, invertebrates, and amphibians. The plants that are submerged provide oxygen and shade for the aquatic wildlife. Birds will also visit the pond to drink and take a bath throughout the year.

The water plants are extremely beneficial for wildlife and fish as they contribute to having a balanced ecosystem. More oxygen is produced and this is the foundation for a pond that is naturally balanced.

You should also include plants that survive in cooler seasons so that their roots are active and start absorbing nutrients before the warm weather. In the warmer seasons, the floating plants can keep the temperature down by providing shade to wildlife during the hot summers.

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