Ten Must Have Pond Plants
You can just imagine the fun I had trying to choose the top ten must have plants for your pond! The first thing I had to do was to just concentrate on pond plants (true aquatics) rather than the whole concept of water gardening, bog-gardens, moist pond surrounds borders etc. At least this way, I have only had to choose ten pond plants from a list of over 400! All of the ten plants listed below, I have chosen as they are each individually unique in their own special way and will not only compliment and enhance the look of your pond, but will encourage a wide variety of wildlife to it as well which I believe, will further bring out the beauty of your pond and maximize it to its full potential.
Also known as ‘Marsh Pennywort’ and sometimes sold as an oxygenating plant and as a marginal plant, Hydrocotyl Vulgaris produces an indefinite amount of small, attractive green leaves that will float and spread across the water surface. It looks great planted amongst Rushes and Aquatic Iris, and will grow to a water depth of 0-6cm.
This very recognisable marginal plant is easy to grow in any size pond. This plant has many common names including ‘Yellow Boots’, ‘Water Bubbles’ and ‘Marsh Marigold. It produces masses of bright golden yellow flowers during March and April giving your pond, its first display of spring colour. Growing to a water depth of 6cm with larger established clumps growing to a water depth of 15cm, this lovely water plant never fails to impress.
This is certainly by far my personal favourite out of all of the red Water Lilies. This beautiful Lily produces perfect deep red blooms that sit on the waters surface and is extremely free flowering. The flowers are of a good size being roughly, about 6 inches across, and the leaves are mottled and attractive, but on top of that, it has a nice growing habit, staying strong and compact with a leaf spread of 60cm. Steven Strawn will grow happily in water 30-45cm deep.
If you want to attract Dragonflies and Damselflies then this is the must plant for you. Not only does this marginal plant look great with its bright green lance shaped leaves and summer sprays of airy white flower,s but it is also a favourite for emerging Damselfly and Dragonfly nymphs who climb out of the water and up the stalks clinging to the stems to allow their wings to dry before emerging as young adults. Alisma Lanceolata grows to a water depth of 0-16cm.
This is another oxygenating plant that produces masses of very attractive ivy shaped floating leaves and white buttercup flowers that colonise the water surface during late spring. Rununculus Aquatilis will grow almost anywhere as long as the water does not get too hot. Because of its growing habit, this plant is a must for anybody with a stream, where it will look particularly effective when planted over gravel or between rocks and stones. Ranunulus Aquatilis grows to a water depth of 10-60cm.
All ponds should ideally be home to one or more species or cultivars of Aquatic Iris. This particular Iris was kindly given to me by my friend John Carter from Rowden Gardens. It has a nice well behaved, clump forming cultivar that produces masses of unusual dark purple flowers. This Iris will grow strongly in a water depth of 0-10cm.
As the name is in the clue, it will come as no surprise that I imported this plant from America. Justicea Americana is probably my favourite Marginal plant as it produces plenty of very unusual, Orchid like flowers and has attractive leaves that emerge as tidy clumps in the summer. I also favour this plant as it is a deeper growing marginal that grows up to a height of 30cm. Justicea Americana grows up to a water depth of 0-20cm.
This is a darker pink German hybrid of our native pale pink native ‘Butomus Umbellatus’. Also known as a ‘Flowering Rush’, it grows to a height of 90cm and favours wild planting as it will stop flowering if the rhizomes are constricted. Planted into a large planting basket of roughly about 24cm in diameter or larger, Botomus Umbellatus Rosenrot will spread and produce plenty of flowers. The Rush produces 10-15cm wide umbels made up of individual attractive pink flowers, which are excellent for colonising margins of clay bottomed ponds and lakes. Botomus will grow in a water depth of10-20cm.
Also known as ‘Sweet Flag’, or ‘Scented Rush’, this Rush produces very tidy clumps of fresh looking bright green sword like leaves. When the rhizomes are cut or the leaves rubbed, Acorus Calamus produces a strong sweet scent. This is another favourite for emerging dragonflies and Damselflies. Acorus Calamus grows to in a water depth of 0-30cm.
Every pond should again, ideally house one or more of our native Myasotis Palustris. Also known as’ Water Forget-me Not’, or one of its colourful hybrids, Myasotis Palustris are excellent free flowering, clump forming, marginal plants that always look great in the summer either planted by themselves, or amongst Rushes and or Aquatic Iris. This plant also provides excellent hiding places and a safe haven for wildlife and emerging froglets and other amphibians. I recommend our native species as it produces a stunning summer show of vivid blue to your pond. Suitable for any size ponds, Myasotis Palustris grows in a water depth of 0-10cm.
I hope this guide is helpful to all expert and novice water gardeners alike and that some of my personal favourites that I have recommended find a home in your pond.
Have fun and enjoy!