According to the West Virginia University Cooperative Extension Service, aquatic plants can be described as "those species that normally start in water and must grow for at least a part of their life cycle in water, either completely submersed or emersed." An aquatic garden is a water-filled area where aquatic plants are grown for enjoyment. There are many aquatic garden plants to choose.
Water lilies are the most familiar aquatic plant. The leaves are broad and float on the surface. The stems are rooted into the pond bottom. In colder climates, the plants are rooted in pots, and the surface of the potting soil is covered in pea gravel. This allows the plant to be placed at the correct depth in the aquatic garden and removed in the fall before the arrival of freezing temperatures. Water lilies produce large colorful flowers, and there are many varieties available.
Lotus plants, of which there are several different varieties, spend their lives shallowly rooted at the edge of a river or pond. Lotus plants are famous for their large leaf size and dramatic upright blossoms. After the blooms fade, an interesting seed pod forms that can be dried and is often used in dried flower arrangements.
Foxtail (Ceratophyllum demersum) hornwort, or coontail, is a noninvasive native plant for ponds or aquatic gardens. It does not root to the bottom of the pond but floats near the surface of the water. Foxtail belongs to a group of aquatic plants known as oxygenators because they add oxygen to the water. The foxtail aquatic plant provides shelter for baby fish and aids in fish breeding.