Water and bog plants provide shelter for fish, frogs, turtles and other aquatic wildlife in a garden. Plants also help shade the water and reduce the growth of algae. Generally the leaves of water plants float on the water, while bog plants usually grow upright. A glass or ceramic container with one or more foliage plants creates a simple yet elegant home pond. Although most plants in garden and home ponds are foliage plants, some do have blooms that add beauty and seasonal interest.
Garden Water Plants
Water Hawthorne (Aponogeton distachyus) has lily-like white flowers in the spring and fall and oblong foliage. The plants go dormant during the warm weather of summer. Yellow Floating Heart Plant (Nymphoides peltata) has heart-shaped leaves with wavy edges and showy yellow flowers. Water lilies are popular pond plants that have large leaves and flowers. Tropical water lilies cannot survive freezing temperatures. Day blooming tropical water lilies have blue, lavender, magenta, pink, white or yellow flowers. Night blooming tropical water lilies have pink or red flowers. Hardy water lilies can withstand freezing temperature, are day blooming, and have white, pink, red or yellow flowers.
Garden Bog Plants
Lotus (Nelumbo spp.) plants have large exotic blooms in white, pink and yellow, and the round wavy leaves are held above the surface of the water. The Louisiana Iris (Iris louisiana) is the most common water iris. It grows 2 to 3 feet tall, and has blooms of purple, yellow or white. Red Iris (Iris fulva) has coppery-red flowers and grows 8 to 24 inches tall. Blue Iris (Iris versicolor) grows 3 feet tall and has blooms in shades of blue. Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudocorus) has yellow flower and grows 4 feet tall. Pickerel Rush (Pontederia cordata) has blooms of purple or white in summer and fall, and has oblong foliage. Arrowhead (Sagittaria spp.) has spikes of white flowers in the summer above heart shaped leaves. Papyrus or Umbrella Plants (Cyperus spp.) have green starburst-shaped flower heads from spring to fall.
Indoor Water Plants
Dwarf Papyrus or Umbrella Plants are used indoors, as are rushes (Juncus spp.). Rushes have medium to dark green, or bluish-green spiky foliage; some varieties have twisted or curled foliage. Philodendrons spp. have heart- or arrow-shaped leaves, some with deep indentations that give the foliage a lacy appearance. Pothos vines (Epipremnum spp.) have heart-shaped leaves of green, variegated green and yellow, or variegated green and white. Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema spp.) have upright leaves in shades of green, gold, silver and red. Dumbcanes (Diffenbachia spp.) also have upright foliage in variations of green and white or green and silver.