Pond Plants: What You Need To Know

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Written By Mark Washburn

Mark has 20 years of experience as a professional pond management consultant.

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Water pond plants are essential to your body of water. They will provide nutrients to your water and help balance the water in you pond. There are all types of plants for all types of ponds, but here are a few plants that you’ll want no matter the type of pond you are building or already may have.

Floating pond plants

Floating pond plants are probably the group of pond plants with the most variety. The benefits of variety are that there will most likely be a floating pond plant that will fit your personal taste. If you look beyond the convenience of having a variety of looks though, these floating plants have many benefits to your pond as well.

Floating pond plants help with algae control and keeping your water clear. They cast shade in your pond which will help prevent algae growth. They also absorb large amounts of nutrients out of the water as they grow. The less nutrients in your water for algae to feed off of, the less algae; the less algae, the clearer the water will be! If you have fish in your pond check out certain types of floating plants like Azolla. These can provide fish with good nutrients to feed off of, which is a nice bonus.

Oxygenating pond plants/Submerged Pond Plants

Having oxygenating pond plants in your pond is going to be essential when it comes to the cleanliness and health of your pond. Oxygenating, as the name would suggest, releases oxygen into your pond. Why is this important? When oxygen is released into your pond it helps maintain the PH levels in your pond naturally. This can also be achieved by putting harmful chemicals into your pond which does nothing to contribute to the overall wellbeing of your plants, wildlife, and water! Maintaining PH levels in your pond keeps your water cleaner and actually helps soften the water as well.

The oxygenating pond plants you are going to want to look at are submerged pond plants. These are completely submerged by water and live in the bottom of your pond. Some examples of these hardy submersible/oxygenating pond plants are rotala, hornwort, or red ludwigia. There are many options of submerged pond plants to choose from, don’t avoid getting some of these kinds of pond plants. These are typically the hardy pond plants you will find and are very important to the overall wellbeing of the environment.

With some general things to look for in pond plants out of the way, here are a few things to think about how you can apply that knowledge to different pond situations you may have.

Wildlife pond plants

If you have a wildlife pond you may have to think about a few different things when it comes to plants for your pond than someone who is putting a water garden in their backyard. You need to keep in mind the variety of animals that your pond will attract, it is important to remember that you should keep your wildlife pond safe for them as well.

When it comes time to plant pond plants in your wildlife pond make sure to choose plants that have that can grow in shallow water, deep water, and of course make sure to have a lot of oxygenating plants in there as well. Giving wildlife a sloped edge to walk down to the pond along with plants that grow in shallow water will help prevent animals from falling into your pond because there is a sudden drop off. Having deep water plants, like water lilies, gives underwater creatures a place for cover and a home for the winter. Oxygenators are, again, important to help keep your pond clean and balanced.

Pond plants and animals

Depending of what kind of pond you have will determine what kind of animals are in and around your pond. Regardless of what kind of animals are around your pond, it is your responsibility to keep the place a safe environment for them to live.

Having the correct pond plants will contribute to the health of the fish and other species of animals that are living in and around the pond. The varieties of plants mentioned above (surface plants, oxygenators, and shallow growing plants) are all essential in keeping a good balanced ecosystem for the wildlife surrounding your pond.

There can be, however, invasive pond plants and animals that can take over and throw off the balance of your pond, thus eventually ruining all of the hard work you put into creating a water garden. These kinds of plants and animals are often introduced to the space by us! We don’t realize that a certain species of fish will eat all of the vegetation, contribute to the mosquito population, or be a threat to other native fish. Why would we think that a beautiful pond plant that looks similar to other common pond plants would suddenly take over the surface of your pond while never contributing to the overall wellbeing and balance of the environment?

Do your research, especially when you are choosing a fish and plants for your pond. You do not want to choose a fish that may eat lots of vegetation, yet gives of harmful nutrients into your water that contributes to algae growth and low oxygen levels in your pond. Be mindful of where you live, what survives best there, and your pond will be a beautifully balanced ecosystem!

Pond plants not only beautify your pond but as you can see; they play an important role in the balance of the water, and wildlife in your pond.

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