Oenanthes for Wild and Formal Pond Planting

Oenanthes for Wild and Formal Pond Planting

There are many species of Oenanthes that grow wild in various wetland habitats.  They can be found in water meadows, streams, ditches, marshes, rivers, pond, lakes and bog-lands.  Most resemble weeds, so are rarely grown for use in the garden. There are however, a couple of varieties/species that look great and are suitable for planting in all different kinds of water garden environments. One of these is Water Dropwort.  This plant keeps some of its foliage through the winter so can be categorised as semi-evergreen. They are at their happiest growing in full sun or partial shade.

Oenanthe Fistulosa (Tubular Water Dropwort)

This one is my favourite.  Oenanthe Fistulosa has very attractive finely divided bright green fern-like leaves. It puts on a lovely display of Scabious-looking pincushion white flowers during the summer months, attracting Bees and Butterflies.  They grow to a height of 60 cm and come into flower between June-September.  Their preferred water depth is 0-10 cm.

Oenanthe Javanica Flamingo (Variegated Water Dropwort)

The name Flamingo refers to this plant’s fresh spring leaves that are bright pink and green in variation.   As the plant matures and grows throughout the spring and summer months, the variation of colors consist of pink, green, white, and cream.  The flowers are not quite as impressive as those of Oenanthes Fistulosa but are still popular and frequently visited by Bees and Butterflies.  Ultimately though, variegated Water Dropwort is grown as a foliage plant.  Height 20-40cm and flowering between July-September and preferred water depth is 0-10cm.


All of the Oenanthes species and cultivars are poisonous to humans and animals, but there is no need to worry too much about adding these plants to your water garden.  Animals naturally seem to know if a plant is poisonous. However, children don’t; this should be taken into consideration when deciding to purchase these plants.

Please visit my website www.lilieswatergardens.co.uk for over 750 pond plants and water garden plants and all the pond planting accessories needed to grow stunning pond plants throughout the spring and summer months, or visit our retail nursery in Surrey. There are also over 120 informative articles on all aspects of water gardening and pond wildlife.