Last Updated on December 31, 2019 by Cooper Fulton

25+ Popular Types of Pond Plants (That Help in Every Way)

Types of Pond Plants

After you’ve finished building your pond, or just want to spice up the look of it, the next thing to do is to add plants. Finding different types of pond plants help decorate and blend your pond into the landscape. 

Putting in different types of pond plants to your pond is easy, but you must strictly observe the growing conditions for each individual species and the rules of care.

Following the necessary requirements of the plants will allow for your pond to grow in all its glory, but it is important to be prepared for the fact that this will require more than one year of constant attention.

Plants in your pond will support the ecosystem and help make your garden beautiful. 

Here you can learn the most popular aquatic plants, what their requirements are and how they will help your pond not only in looks. 

Is there any benefit from adding different plants in the pond?

Of course, there are many benefits that come with adding different types of plants into a pond.

A hole dug into the ground, simply fill with water, looks dull and uninteresting. Adding plants helps makes your pond beautiful.

Water lilies floating in the pond make it look and feel like a pond instead of a dugout water hole. 

In addition, aquatic plants help maintain the ecosystem of the pond (especially if it has fish).

Based on the foregoing, all aquatic plants can be divided into 2 groups: 

Plants for Decoration and Plants for Maintenance. 


Ornamental plants for the pond

Popular aquatic plants such as lotuses, water lilies and water hyacinths are planted mainly to decorate the water surface of a pond in a garden. 

It is their huge floating leaves and magnificent flowers that make the pond a fabulous oasis. 

So, if you are going to make a pond, be sure to place some of these plants in it.


Plants for cleaning a pond 

Unlike plants in the previous group, these plants are not always beautiful. 

They might not look great, but always need to be considered when  adding in plants. These plants will absorb carbon dioxide and minerals from the water and release oxygen. 

As a result, floating algae are deprived of food causing them to die, and the pond is not covered by mud. 

Simply put, cleaning plants are not the prettiest, but will keep the water in the pond clean and clear. 

Some of the best plants to help clean your pond are hornwort, elodea, and callitriche.Types of Pond Plants


What do you have to consider when buying pond plants?


When choosing your different types of pond plants, you should mainly rely on native specimens, while exotic aquatic plants are often very popular, they can have difficulties growing or surviving in a certain climate. 

Native species are usually hardy, so they can handle your local climates and won’t die due to a freeze for example.

I recommend going to a local water garden shop or pond supply store to buy your plants. The plants available at these stores will  be suited to live in your specific climate.


When buying your pond plants, be sure to check the condition of the root ball – the roots should have a light color and look fresh.

Often the roots of commercially available aquatic plants are already available in a bag filled with gravel or in small mesh baskets. 

In this case, it is sufficient to place the roots in a planter with coarse gravel and to sink at the right place in the garden pond.

Number of plants

In general, be sparing with the planting of your garden pond. 

As a rule of thumb for the number of plants in the pond is: Two to three plants per square meter are enough. 

Note that some pond plants such as water lilies can grow very fast and overgrow a small water garden quickly. 

Therefore, when buying water lilies pay attention to the information on growth behavior. 

To prevent overgrowth of the roots, you can build a barrier made of pond liner or put the pond plants in a suitable plant basket. 

I recommend using this shallow pond planter, check price here. They come  quantities of four and work great to control plants from spreading. 

Depending on the size of your pond I recommend getting the 13-14 inch sizes to let your plants grow big not take over your pond.

Which types of pond plants purify the water?

Thanks to photosynthesis, pond plants increase the oxygen content in the pond and absorb carbon dioxide. 

Thus every pond plant contributes to the preservation of the water quality. 

In addition, there are aquatic plants that control algae growth in the pond. 

Some of the best Oxygen-promoting and algae-preventing pond plants include, among others:

  • Coontail – Ceratophyllum demersum (My top 3)
  • Brazilian waterweed Egeria densa
  • Waterthymes – Hydrilla verticillata
  • Water Soldier – Stratiotes aloides
  • Dwarf Ambulia Limnophila sessiliflora
  • Mare’s-tail Hippuris vulgaris
  • Duckweeds – Lemna (My top 3)
  • Frogbit – Hydrocharis morsus ranae
  • Water Violet – Hottonia palustris
  • Water Lettuce – Pistia stratiotes (My top 3)
  • Parrot’s Feather – Myriophyllum aquaticum
  • Swordleaf Rush – Juncus ensifolius
  • Bur-Reed Sparganium erectum
  • Japanese Iris – Iris laevigata
  • Creeping Jenny – Lysimachia nummularia
  • Flowering Rush – Butomus umbellatus

Which types of pond plants purify the water

Which types of pond plants oxygenate water?

Not all plants can produce enough oxygen throughout the season. 

It is important you have a variety and variation of  oxygenating plants.

This reduces the risk of algae growth. For spring and winter, I like white water-crowfoot, It produces small white flowers while still working to clean your pond. For the summer and autumn, I love having coontail

Both of these plants will live through the year but having both it will ensure limited algae growth for the whole year.  

Other known oxygen plants are the mare’s-tail and water violet.

If you have an existing  pond with large amounts of  algae – green water and filamentous algae – it is not recommended to use oxygen plants. 

The algae absorb all of the CO2 from the water and therefore the new oxygen plants will not be able to grow and have no effect on clearing out the algae. 


Different depths 

When deciding what plants to get, it is important to keep in mind the depths needed for each plant grow. 

There are five different growing zones in every pond, these zones help decide what and where plants should be planted.

Zone 1 – This zone is the surrounding edges of a pond. These plants are mostly flowers or other small shrubs such as marsh marigold. I also like using cattail, these plants look best growing on the back edges of a pond, because it gives a pond a  natural look.

Zone 2 – Zone two is referred to as the shallowest spots in a pond.  I like growing Sweet flag or Iris, they help blend the pond into its surroundings. The Sweet flag grows long blades and produces small flowers. 

Zone 3 –  Zone 3 is any mid-depth region of a pond. Is it safe to say that you can get away planting most plants in this range. Two of my favorites are horsetail and hornwort. These plants will provide shade and hiding spaces for small fish species in your pond.

Zone 4 –  Zone 4 is the deepest part of any pond, usually over 16”. The most common and best suited plants are water lilies and arrowhead. Both of these plants have long stalks that will produce their leaves and flowers above the water. 

Zone 5 – The last zone refers to plants that float on top of the water. I recommend growing water lettuce or duckweed. Both water lettuce and duckweed grow very fast and provide shade in your pond.


What are aquatic plants? 

Depending on the functions and structure of the plant, the pond can be divided into 5 main groups:

  • Marsh
  • Coastal
  • Oxygenator 
  • Deep Water
  • Floating

Using these five main groups it can help you with where to plant different types of pond plants.

Deep-water specimens are placed in the deepest part of the reservoir (usually its center), floating or shallow-water plants are closer to the coast and in wetlands. 

The shores can be decorated with ordinary garden flowers that love moist soil. 

If the soil around the pond is dry, not too moisture-loving flowers and shrubs also look great.


Marsh plants (Zone 1)

The name of this group can be misleading, since many of them do not grow in constantly moist soil. 

For example, astilbe and iris, which are considered marsh, grow safely in flower beds. 

However, most marsh plants still prefer moist soil, rich in organic matter, and cannot tolerate dry soil.

They grow in the ground, like ordinary garden flowers. The best place for marsh plants is the shore of the pond. 

They, like coastal crops, smooth out the transition between the shore and the rest of the garden.

Marsh plants: 


  • Calamus
  • Sedge
  • Typha
  • Mannitol
  • Birch bark
  • Bur-red
  • Cyperus
  • Iris


Coastal plants (Zone 2)

Plants that are planted around a reservoir have an exclusively decorative function. 

They help to give the pond a beautiful and finished look, and also allow you to harmoniously fit it into the style of the entire site.

Coastal plants are best planted in baskets and then dug along the coast. 

It is not necessary to place several sproutlings in one container, since they quickly grow and begin to crowd out each other. 

It is recommended to plant each plant in a separate container.

Coastal plants: 


  • Hosta
  • Aquilegia
  • Ligularia
  • Trollius
  • Lysimachia
  • Aruncus
  • Lobelia
  • Lythrum
  • lysichiton


Oxygenator plants (Zone 3)

They should be in every body of water because they help prevent pollution, as well as absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. 

In addition, if there are fish in the pond, these crops will serve them both as food and spawning grounds.

Oxygenating plants live underwater, only partially showing up on the surface of the water surface. 

They are planted in baskets, which are placed at the bottom of the pond. This is best done in early May. 

Some species of these plants are quite picky about environmental conditions and may not take root in the pond for the first time. 

Therefore, it is best to plant several oxygenator plants in a pond at once.

Oxygenator plants: 


  • Elodea
  • Buttercup
  • Hornwort
  • Watermilfoil
  • Hottonia
  • Fontinalis
  • Hara


Deepwater plants (Zone 4)

These plants take root at the bottom of the pond, and their leaves are on the surface. 

Underwater plants with floating leaves are good because they absorb organic substances dissolved in the water of the pond and help clean the water to benefit the ecosystem. 

In addition, their large leaf plates obscure the pond, which prevents the heating of water and prevents the proliferation of algae. 

And most of the deep-water plants bloom very beautifully.

Deep-water plants: 


  • Water lily
  • Nuphar
  • Broad-leaved pondweed
  • Yellow floating heart

deepwater plants

Floating plants (Zone 5)

They, like underwater plants, protect the water from overheating, 

Plants floating on the surface of the pond differ from all others in that their roots are not fixed in the soil. 

They float freely in the water, while their leaves and flowers are on the surface. 

A great advantage of floating plants is that they do not require special containers for planting. 

Simply put the seedlings in the water, and they themselves adapt to new conditions.

However, they do have one negative, they grow very quickly. Therefore, their number in the pond must be periodically reduced. 

It is important to ensure that floating plants do not occupy the entire surface of the pond.

Floating plants: 


  • Nuphar
  • Frogbit
  • Lemna
  • Azolla
  • Aponogeton
  • Orontium
  • pistia


Green growth for ponds

When planting different types of pond plants, one should have an idea of ​​which plants to plant directly in the water, in shallow water, and on the shores. 

This knowledge will ultimately lead to exactly the result that will look good as well as benefit the pond. 


What to plant in the coastal zone? (Zone 1)

When choosing plants for the pond, it is worth starting from which of them love moist soil or shallow water. 

Depending on the location of the pond, you should choose shade-loving specimens or, conversely, preferring bright sun.


  1. Hosta

There are low and high kinds, miniature specimens are represented in a variety of shapes and colors. They grow best when landing on the shore and draping into the water. It should be noted that blue hostas prefer shade, and hostas with green color will grow best in partial shade.


  1. Sedge

Sedgeis  appreciated for its elegance. It has narrow leaves that grow to 60–80 cm. Appreciated for its appearance, which remains unchanged until mid-winter, but the sedge is cut off in spring. These plants grow best with a partial shadow.


  1. Molinia

Molinia is a perennial with graceful, long narrow leaves. There are many species with a height of 40 to 150 cm. They vary in color, from green to red. It grows best in sunny places but does not tolerate drought. It is better to plant solo, surrounding low cultures.


  1. Loosestrife 

Widely distributed in marshy places, where it can be brought to your garden. Loosestrife is a bush with narrow leaves up to 150 cm high. Purple inflorescences beautifully set off the water surface in the summer. Loosestrife likes moist soil and partial shade.


  1. Darmer 

Darmer grows at a slow pace and may take several years to grow to full size. Suitable for large reservoirs, as it is valued for its bulk. It blooms in May and is frost resistant. It is best for decoration during the spring period and looks great with daffodils, irises, and primrose at the base.


  1. Fern

Each type of fern is beautiful in its own way and is an ideal plant for a pond in the garden. All ferns grow best in moist soil. Depending on the species, the pattern of leaves, as well as the height, differ. There are evergreen specimens that look all year. It is better to space out each plant, as they grow up to 3 m. 


  1. Astilba

Gardeners love astilbe for carved leaves and a beautiful hat of flowers. Depending on the type, the height varies from 40 cm to 2 m. Low kinds are used in the design of landscape design. These plants like moist soil and partial shade.


What plants take root in shallow water? (Zone 2-3)

Ready-made forms of ponds are available with special pockets in which moisture-loving flowers are easy to plant. 

They perfectly cover the unsightly edge of the plastic. 

When selecting plants for an artificial pond made of concrete and film, it is also relevant to consider specimens that prefer shallow water.


  1. Acorus

For a large pond, marsh acorus is suitable, reaching 1 m in height. For a small one, acorus is best growing 40 cm high. Long narrow leaves with a frill along the edge are distinguished. Blooms in early summer. Not the best-looking plant, but recognizable. Loves the sun.


  1. Calla Lily

One of the most popular plants for a pond, the calla lily is a must-have plant. Gardeners prefer it for its small overall size and large leaves. Calla grows rapidly, so it is planted in a container or pot, and then placed in water, but not deep. It blooms in May – June with a large ear on which red berries form.


  1. Iris

Some types of irises grow well in shallow water, while some grow well in deep water, reaching a height of 80–120 cm. The flowers are purple. It is important for the plant to be in the sun for at least 5-7 hours during the day.


  1. Marsilea

A small perennial reaches a height of 10 cm high. The plant grows rapidly and should be contained in a pot or basket. Marsilea has many similarities with clover.  It resists frost and will look good all year.


  1. Water mint

It is a plant that can grow up to 50 cm tall. It grows rapidly. Blooms in summer with lilac inflorescences. When rubbing, a characteristic mint aroma can be smelled. 


What to choose for planting in the water? (Zone 4)

When choosing a plant for a pond, you need to understand that aquatic flowers should not occupy the entire surface. Individual green islands look very nice. Water specimens vary in depth and land in containers. Pots are easy to rearrange if you want to change the design. 

  1. Water lilies

Flowering begins in the summer and ends in late autumn. There are frost-resistant varieties. They have large green leaves and produce flowers 10-15 cm in diameter. 

There are hybrid species in which flowers are 2.5 cm, and come in a variety of colors. 


  1. Water Hawthorn

Its flowers rise above the water and emit a vanilla scent. It grows up to half a meter. The plant is winter-hardy, and unpretentious, meaning not too bold or extravagant. 

Best Floating Pond Plants (Zone 5)


  1. Frogbit

Often used in decorating. Leaves grow to 5 cm in diameter. 

Flowers are inconspicuous, white, and quickly die off. Frogbit winters well at the bottom, and in spring it will rise and bloom again.


  1. Azolla

Azolla looks like little ferns. Attracts gardeners because of it miniature size. 

It quickly covers the water surface like a carpet, so it needs to be caught and removed periodically. 

It looks very natural and loves the sun. In winter, it is best to remove from the pond, as it does not tolerate frost and will quickly die.


  1. Water lettuce

It looks like a small head of lettuce and produces small flowers.

It is very common and can easily take over a pond, monthly population maintenance is needed or it will easily take over the whole pond. 

Best Floating Pond Plants

Pond plants for decoration

You can choose a variety of different types of pond plants for decoration, but you can not forget about leaving throughout the year. 

In the summer, it comes down to watering and pruning dead leaves. 

Also, many are faced with the appearance of duckweed, small algae, which must be cleaned. 

In winter, it is better to remove containers from the water and put them in the basement.


Artificial flowers (beauty all year): 

It takes a lot of time and effort for the pond to take on exactly the form that was conceived. 

Many are faced with the fact that even aquatic cultures require attention all year. 

If the rhythm of modern life does not allow for complete care, then artificial flowers are a real salvation. 

Low cost, maintenance-free, easy to attach, do not fade and will last you a lifetime. Invariably, one does not have to worry that the coastal zone is overgrown or the surface is covered by floating plants.

The pond with artificial plants will be a real highlight of the garden from the first day of creation. 

Making a paradise on your site is a reality that is easy to bring to life. 

Remember that for abundant flowering and rapid growth, all living cultures require attention and love.


Oxygenating Plants

Place the plants underwater in coarse sand, gravel, clay balls or a special growth substrate. 

In nature, these plants are rooted directly in the soil. Always use baskets and remove the seals and straps first. 

If you put plants in a pond with healthy water quality (mineral-rich, thus hard water) and enough CO2, they will keep the water clear and algae free. 

Opinions differ about the amount of oxygenated water for clear water, but one rule of thumb is 5 bundles per 1000 liters of water.


When are oxygen plants needed?

New ponds have few microorganisms at the beginning and therefore a low CO2 supply. 

Before adding different oxygenating pond plants, it is advised to ‘mature’ the pond for about 4 weeks. 

Plant them primarily during their growing season, between April and June. 

After planting, they will keep the water clear and algae free. 

If you want to plant plants right away, oxygen must be added to the water. I recommend using a CO2 supplement, check price here.


Keep oxygen plants:

For the local fertilization of plants using special fertilizer balls work amazing. They help boost the growth of plants and you won’t have to worry about them dying. The  Winchester Garden fertilizer balls have to be the best by far.

Oxygen plants allow for a clear view of the pond! They are used in garden centers as well as zoos and pond specialist shops to help make their ponds look great.

Oxygenating Plants

How to care for different types of pond plants

To ensure that the ecosystem in the garden pond works and stays in place, proper care is important. 

For the care of the pond, especially the regular pruning of both the underwater plants as well as the bank planting belongs. 

The right amount of water and floating plants prevents the spread of algae, but too many plants cause the pond to overgrow. 

With pond scissors, you can easily cut aquatic plants from the middle of the pond. 

The plant remains and excess leaves can harm the fish and should be removed with a net.

You can support the growth of your shore plants with mineral fertilizer. 

For weeding the bank plants, it is best to use a weed cutter. With up to 30 cm long weed stalk, you can easily remove any weeds near-shore plants. 

If the perennials have settled on the pond, you should prune the shore plants with pruning shears.

I have written a full guide to all the supplies you need to maintain a healthy and beautiful pond.


Planting pond plants:

  1. There are two ways to plant plants in or around the pond: in a container or without it. 

A pond with high banks is easier to plant with plants planted directly in the ground. Container planting, in turn, allows you to change the design of the reservoir and limit the growth of plants in need.

  1. The best time for planting most aquatic plants is the beginning of April through mid-July. 

The first should be placed in the pond plants, oxygenators, which must be planted according to the principle of 1 instance in 1 container. 

As the water warms up, underwater and then floating plants can be lowered into the pond. Next in line is the coastal zone.

  1. Before adding fish into the pond, aquatic plants need to be given time to take root and adapt. This usually takes 4 to 6 weeks, but can be different for different types of pond plants.

In addition, the water should be within the right requirements of Ph, chlorine, ammonia, etc…

  1. Pots for planting water plants are suitable for the most common, including garden containers or baskets. 

Baskets are used to prevent soil from washing out, another way to help prevent this is to lay a burlap and put pebbles on top.

Only through aquatic plants can an ordinary pond turn into an exclusive and key element of the entire garden. 

Experiment with different species, observe the growth of plants, take care of them as necessary and enjoy flowering.