One of the attractions of water gardening is growing a wide variety of unusual plants, including water lilies, bulrushes and water lettuce. Some plants in a water garden grow completely underwater while others, such as the lotus, thrive in shallow water. You can surround your pond with bog plants, which grow in damp soil.
Plants provide aesthetic value to a pond as well as help to maintain the pond's delicate ecosystem. Plants such as water lettuce, water lilies, papyrus, iris and miniature cattails provide visual interest and texture, and soften the border of a pond. Additionally, green leafy plants provide contrast to the water as well as the fish in the pond.
Four types of plants are found in ponds: marginals, submerged oxygenators, floaters and submerged floating-leaved plants. Marginals are plants that are usually found on the shoreline and in shallow water. They thrive with their roots in saturated soil. Rushes and other bog plants are marginals. Submerged oxygenators, such as hornwort, are plants that live under the water of a pond. Floaters such as water lettuce float on the surface of the water, while submerged plants with floating leaves, such as the water lily, have root systems in the roots of a pond, while their leaves float on the surface.
All four types of plants help to maintain a delicate balance in the ecosystem of a pond. Each plant type does a specific job that helps to impact the water quality of a pond. For a well-balanced pond ecosystem, you should include all four types of plants in a garden pond.
The majority of plants grown in a pond take nutrients from a pond. This helps to reduce the amount of algae that can live in a pond. Additionally, plants that float on the surface of the pond shade the pond, which helps to cool the water and provides a habitat for fish to hide. Plants that are grown in soil, such as marginals and submerged plants with floating leaves, also provide an ecosystem in their soil to grow beneficial bacteria.
Although plants can work together to create a balanced ecosystem for a pond, certain plants can choke a pond if they get out of hand. Floating plants, such as duckweed or water lettuce, can spread rapidly until they cover the surface of a pond. When this happens, sunlight cannot penetrate into the depths of the pond. Over time, the plants steal all of the oxygen from the pond and choke out all life in the pond.