Ponds have much to offer a garden, providing rest for the eye and an area for many types of birds to gather. A pond is hardly complete, however, without a few flowers blooming in the middle or attractive foliage plants at the water's edge. A number of lovely pond plants can be used to enhance this shimmering area of the garden.
Swamp Rose Mallow
A native of the swamps and marshes of the eastern United States, swamp rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) is a flowering perennial herbaceous shrub notable for its ability to grow directly at the edge of a pond or other body of water. The shrub may reach a height of up to 7 feet, producing broad green leaves and silky, open-faced flowers in a range of colors. Swamp rose mallow flowers may be white or hot pink, depending on the cultivar. The plant does best in water-logged, humus-rich soils. Swamp rose mallow grows in a range of climate zones and can be cultivated in USDA zones 5 to 10. For best results, plant the swamp rose in full sunlight.
The American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) is a perennial plant native to the central and eastern United States, as well as Central America and Colombia. The plant looks like water lily, with broad, flat green pads that sit on top of the water. The floppy, pinkish-yellow flowers grow on stalks that are held about 10 inches above the surface of the water. The entire plant will grow in ponds as deep as 8 feet. American lotus does best in full sunlight in USDA zones 4 to 11. The showy flowers and dried brown seed pods of the American lotus may be cut and used in elegant flower arrangements.
Alligator bonnet (Nymphaea odorata) is a small species of water lily that boasts flat green pads that are about 4 inches across. A native of the eastern United States, alligator bonnet boasts spiked white and yellow flowers that are sweetly fragrant. The flowers may rise a few inches above the surface of the water or seem to sit right on top. The plant is quite low-maintenance and hardy, dying in the winter in cooler climates, only to appear again in the spring. Alligator bonnet has a tremendous range and will grow in USDA zones 3 to 11 as long as it has a full day of sunlight. The plant may be grown in ponds that are up to 6 feet deep.