How to Care For the Different Types of Pond Plants


Many varieties of plants can exist in a pond. Pond plants include marginal plants that grow along the edges of ponds, floating plants that cover the surface and submerged plants beneath the surface. These plants can range in type from hardy cool-weather plants to colorful tropical plants. Care for many of these plants is similar.

Step 1

Select plastic containers for your plants. This makes it easier to remove them from the pond for future care. Fill the bottom of each container with a layer of gravel too keep the pots from tipping. Make a potting mix of 1 part sand, 1 part compost and 2 parts garden loam. Fill each container with the mixture. Place the plant's root ball in each container. Most floating and marginal plants have a root system that consists of rhizomes or bulbs. Fill the top of the container with pea gravel or sand to help keep the soil in place.

Step 2

Place containers of plants in the pond so that the plants will receive at least 5 hours of sunlight daily. Plants that do not receive at least 5 hours of sunlight will not develop adequate growth.

Step 3

Remove leaves from vegetation as it dies, and skim out any leaves or other debris that falls into the water to avoid fouling it.

Step 4

Time yearly maintenance of plants and your garden pond for fall. This way you can winterize your garden at the same time as caring for your plants to prevent disturbing the ecosystem more frequently.

Step 5

Areate your water with a garden fountain or a bubbler. This will help add oxygen to the water to prevent root rot and increase the overall health of plants.

Step 6

Monitor the pH of your garden weekly. The ideal pH range for most plants is between 6.2 and 7.4. Many garden pond supply stores sell chemicals that you can add to your water to raise or lower its pH.

Step 7

Fertilize your pond plants monthly with a fertilizer formulated for aquatic plants. Use the fertilizer as directed on the fertilizer's packaging. Fertilizer instructions vary among brands.

Step 8

Remove tropical plants and store the rhizomes in a bucket of damp sand in a warm, dark location such as a basement. Divide rhizomes when they begin to crowd out the containers. Most aquatic plants need to be divided every 3 to 5 years, depending on the container size.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use commercial potting soil to plant pond plants. Using commercial potting soil in ponds can promote problems including algae bloom and root rot. Do not choose plants that are not adapted to your USDA hardiness zone, as they will more likely be prone to disease. Do not allow fertilizers from your lawn to run into your pond. This can upset the ecosystem of the pond and promote algae growth. Do not plant too many plants in your pond. This will reduce the air circulation between plants and promote diseases such as leaf spot.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic containers
  • Pea gravel
  • Sand
  • Compost
  • Loam
  • Water garden plants
  • Plastic bucket


  • Texas A&M Extension: Plant Identification
  • Oregon State University Extension: Create a Garden Pond for Wildlife
  • Texas A&M Extension: Watergardening
  • Colorado State University Extension: Water Garden Plants: Problems and Solutions

Who Can Help

  • Utah State University: Water Features for the Garden
Keywords: water garden plants, pond plant care, water lily care

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."