Pond Plants: Getting to the Root of Things

There comes a point in every gardenerís life that they wonder what their backyard would look like with a pond.  Now some satisfy this urge with a small, understated pond while others go all out and build a huge koi pond.  Whichever you choose to do, you will likely start thinking about filling your pond up with plant life. After all - itís just another place to garden!  Knowing what to plant and when, is the secret to a successful garden pond.

The difference between pond plants and regular plants.

Before we go into the different types of pond plants available, we should spend a little bit of time discussing pond plants in general. In fact, if you look hard enough, you may be able to see tiny little bubbles coming off the leaves of certain pond plants.  The main purpose of these types of plants is to convert carbon dioxide in the air into oxygen in the water.  So if you plan to stock your pond with fish, pond plants are a must!  They increase the oxygen level in the water, and help your fish thrive and grow. 

Pond plants also work by consuming nitrogen in the water.  This naturally occurring chemical can be abundant if your pond has fish in it, and an oversupply of nitrogen can result in an overgrowth of algae.  So by planting certain types of pond plants, you will end up with a clearer, healthier pond.

Types of Pond Plants

There are basically 5 different types of pond plants available to you.  You will want to choose plants that are both pleasing to the eye and suitable for your particular pond type.  Below you will find a brief description of the different types.

CAUTION:  Some plants are poisonous to fish, so make sure to research before purchasing!

  1. Water lilies- these are hardy plants that root in the bottom of your pond, and the leaves float on the surface.  They are a flowering plant, and come in a variety of different colors.  These are probably the most common choice for most pond owners.
  1. Oxygenators- these plants only live under the water's surface.  They can either root in the pond floor or float under the water.
  1. Floating plants- these will float on the surface of the water.
  1. Marginals- these plants like to be planted in 3-6 inches of water.  They tend to be flowering plants and work great on an inner shelf in your pond.
  1. Bog plants- these plants are best to plant around the exterior of your pond.  All they need is moist soil or mud to thrive.

Tips on Planting Your Pond Plants

When setting up your pond plants, it is important to remember that they will get larger as time goes on.  Your best bet will be to plant only a few plants to begin with, and then add on over time.  Certain types of plants, like surface floating varieties can spread very quickly and cause an overgrowth in your pond in just a few short weeks.  So allowing your plants time to acclimate themselves is always a good idea.

You can choose to plant your pond plants (except those that are floating varieties) in specially designed aquatic baskets.  These usually have a type of aquatic compost that is low in nitrogen, and will allow your plants to stay submerged in the bottom of your pond.  You can also plant your plants in plastic pots, and then use large rocks to keep them anchored to the pond floor.


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