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A Guide To Pond Plants

A Guide to Pond Plants

Aquatic pond plants really bring a pond to life - not only do they greatly enhance the natural beauty of your pond, but they also play an essential role in maintaining the health of its water and inhabitants.
Pond plants help shade a pond and absorb nutrients helping reduce the risk of algae blooms, turning your water green and allowing blanketweed to flourish.

Do I need pond plants?

It’s important that your pond or water feature has the right balance of aquatic plants to provide you with a year-round variety of colour and foliage as well as create a healthy and successful ecosystem in the water.

Not only do aquatic plants enhance the beauty of your pond, but they also play an important role in maintaining the balance of the pond and in keeping it clear. Plants absorb nutrients and reduce light levels in the water, which could otherwise promote the growth of algae, which causes green water. Plants will also provide shelter for fish and natural material on which they might spawn.

Choosing pond plants for your pond

Researching pond plants is no different to researching plants for your garden.  All the water plants for ponds at World of Water are clearly labelled to show the height they attain, their spread and the depth of water they prefer. Mature pond plant specimens can also be seen in our show gardens and our staff team will happily answer any questions.  To find out more about the pond plants for sale from your nearest World of Water Centre go to Pond Plants Near Me.

What size pond plants do I need?

The size of your pond matters when it comes to the types of plants you choose – vigorously growing pond plants are only suitable for larger ponds, while the slower growing aquatic plants are best suited to a smaller water feature.

Pond Plant Types

Bog plants Perfect for around the edge of your pond, where the ground is damp but not waterlogged, and should be used to add interest to the pond’s border.
Marginal pond plants  – Marginal pond plants should be placed in the outer shallows to bring colour and shape to the edges, especially during the summer months. 
Lilies and deep water – The water lily is amongst the most stunning of all the water plants for ponds, lilies provide shade as well as texture to the deeper parts of your pond feature. 
Oxygenators pond plantsOxygenating pond plants are a key component to any pond, adding essential oxygen to the water during daylight hours. When searching, look out for oxygenating plants for fish ponds and oxygenating plants for small wildlife ponds.
Pond floating plants – Floating pond plants are low maintenance additions for your pond but create both shade and surface beauty to the water. 

How many pond plants?

The key to success is incorporating aquatic plants into your pond is achieving a good balance of the different aquatic plant types. the table below is a rough guide to the number of immature pond plants you would need for your pond to ensure a stunning and healthy water environment.


Where to position pond plants?

Positioning your pond plants correctly is essential to kick start a vibrant and healthy water ecosystem. For example, some plants prefer to be in the depths of your pond, whilst others need to be kept on the surface. It is also important to take into account the potential height of a plant, as some grasses and rushes can grow very tall and eventually obscure a pond if poorly positioned.

How deep should pond plants be?

All plants will tolerate different depths of water which will be clearly labelled on the plant label or online in the desciption. The illustration below gives you a visual guide to the ideal planting area.

General Planting Depths - Variety Dependent (Check individual plant information)


Choosing the right soil for pond plants

We suggest using a Aquatic compost specifically for pond plants. Ordinary bedding compost just won’t cut it and can potentially be fatal for your fish due to the high fertiliser content that’s designed for quick release.

Aquatic compost, has a slow release fertilizer benefiting the plants as they can absorb the nutrients as needed, reducing any nutrients leaching in to the pond water.
Aquatic compost is made using a heavy loam, as anything lighter such as a peat-based soil could just float away. For extra soil security under the water, use aquatic baskets, which are a mesh design to keep the soil in place. An added hessian liner in the basket works really well in preventing any soil leaching. Plus, the liner will rot over time, allowing the root structure of the plant to grow through the mesh and firmly knit the soil in place.

Pond Plant General care and maintenance

Once you have your chosen pond plants established, you will just need to keep on top of their maintenance as your stunning new pond gets into full bloom. Most ponds plants should be easy to keep in shape with regular trimming of excess foliage and removal of dead leaves and surface debris. With the right plants, the correct soil and sufficient light as well as nutrients, and you will have a fabulous natural water feature you can enjoy for many years to come.

Read out guide to pond plant pest and diseases 

Top 5 Tips For Planting Water Gardens

  1. It is important in any pond or feature to have a good balance of plants that offer a variety of colour and foliage at different times of the year for your enjoyment, and the plants required for a successful ecosystem for the pond.
  2. Research the plants you choose as you would for the garden. All the plants at World of Water are clearly labelled to show the height they attain, their spread and the depth of water they prefer. Mature specimens can be seen in our show gardens and members of our staff will happily answer any questions.
  3. You will find that some plants are very vigorous and are only suitable for larger ponds, and some slower growing plants are best suited for the smaller feature. However if you need quick cover on any pond you can always add some fast growing, spreading plants to offer shade.
  4. Once your chosen plants have matured simply remove them or trim the excess back and transfer to the compost heap. By removing or trimming the plant, excess nutrients are being harvested from the pond, helping to keep the pond balanced and healthy.
  5. Always remember to take into account the potential height of the plant, as some grasses and rushes can grow very tall and would obscure a pond if poorly positioned.

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