How to Choose Pond Plants


Garden ponds create a peaceful setting to enjoy the warmth of the sun during spring and summertime. Choosing to incorporate plants into your garden pond will enhance the pond's genuine beauty. Plants act like a natural filter for the pond's water. No more algae problems to worry about when water plants are present. Picking out the right types of water plants depends on what appeals to you, the gardener. There are three groups of water plants: floaters, emerged (marginal and bog plants) and submerged.

Step 1

Visualize what type of garden pond you would like to create. Search through gardening magazines for pictures of garden ponds. Compare different gardening styles to find out which ones appeal to your artistic senses. Learn about the four water plant categories to better design your garden pond.

Step 2

Read about common floating plants like Duckweed, Watermeal, Squatterdock and White Water Lily. Observe that floating plants have roots that are hairlike and float in the water without attaching to the pond's bottom. Note that floating plants assist with water clarification because they absorb nutrients and oxygenate the water; they also provide shaded areas for fish. Keep in mind that this type of plant grows rapidly and must be controlled so it does not overtake the pond.

Step 3

Explore information about emergent water plants such as Irises, Lotus, Dwarf Bamboo, Cattails and Sweet Flag. Notice that emergent plants are also known as marginal plants or bog plants; these plants are tall and should be cultivated in shallow ends of the garden pond, or on a shelf in the pond. Weigh down pots so that they do not topple over in windy conditions. Understand that these plants love to be partially wet at all times with their stalks in at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Enjoy the various bright beautiful flowers that blossom on the bog plants. Add vertical dimension to the pond by planting bog plants.

Step 4

Consider submerged water plants like American Pondweed, Widgeon Grass, Parrot Feather and Coontail. Notice that these plants mostly grow underwater. Keep these plants submerged in the water because their soft stems and stalks cannot survive out of the water for long without breaking, causing the plant to die.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not place so many plants in the pond that the fish are becoming tangled in the plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening magazines


  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: Aquatic Plants
  • Washington State University Extension: Native Plants
  • Texas A&M University Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Science: Plant Identification
  • Texas A&M University: Plant Life

Who Can Help

  • Pond Professor Plants: Aquatic Plants -- How to Choose Water Garden Pond Plants
Keywords: water plant shopping, choosing water plants, pond friendly plants

About this Author

Since May 2009, Christina Delegans-Bunch has been pursuing her career as a professional writer. Her work has been published on eHow and GardenGuides. She holds a certification in floral designing and wedding consultation from Harcourt Extended Learning.