Plants put the “garden” in your water garden and are a great way to add color and soften the rocky edges of your pond. Everyone has their favorite collection of pond plants, but there might be some varieties that you haven’t yet added to your water garden. We invite you to consider the following list of popular aquatic pond plants that make a welcome addition to any pond!
1. Creeping Jenny Pond Plants
Often used as a ground cover in terrestrial gardens, Creeping Jenny fares excellently when used in water gardening applications. Growing approximately two inches in height, it’s a great filler to soften edges of rocks with its bright leaves creating a vivid contrast against the cool gray of wet stone. Tiny yellow flowers appear on the plant throughout summer, giving it added appeal. Creeping Jenny is a perennial and best used in Zones 3-10.
2. Pickerel Plant
Available in blue, white, and pink lavender spiked flowers, pickerel is a great choice for ponds with its shiny, green heart-shaped foliage. The blooms are long lasting and create a beautiful display when planted in masses. It grows about 24-30″ in height and performs well in Zones 4-10.
3. Horsetail Reed
Horsetail reed provides a striking architectural presence in your pond with its segmented reeds, growing to 24″ in height, while the dwarf version grows to eight inchees. Hardy to Zone 4, it’s a fast spreader and you’ll want to thin the plant in the summer. In the fall, cut the plant all the way down to the ground to keep the spores from spreading.
4. Taro Pond Plants
Several varieties of taro are available for your pond and do well in full to part sun. This is a tropical plant suited for Zones 8-11, but colder climes can bring the plant inside during the winter months. Place it near a sunny window and then transfer taro back out to your pond when summer arrives. This impressive, leafy water lover grows to about 48″ and always makes a striking appearance in the water garden.
5. Cardinal Flower
Plant this pretty flower along the shallow edges of your pond and watch the birds flock to it. Deep burgundy foliage sets off the vibrant red flowers. The leaves are up to eight inches long and the plant can grow as tall as three feet. Cardinal flower performs best in Zones 5-9.
6. Water Lettuce
Water lettuce produces fuzzy, lime-green rosettes of leaves that look like little floating heads of lettuce. Super easy to grow, you simply let this plant float on the surface of the water with its roots dangling below. The roots directly absorb excess nutrients from the water, making them natural filters for any pond. They produce babies throughout the summer and can be separated and shared with friends or moved to container water gardens. Hardy in Zones 9-11.
7. Mosaic Pond Plant
The beautiful mosaic plant consists of red and green diamond-shaped leaves in three- to six-inch wide rosettes. In the summer, this floating plant produces sunny yellow cup-shaped flowers. Easy to grow, the plant provides a place for your finned friends to hide underneath. A tropical plant, mosaic is hardy in Zones 11-12.
8. Blue Iris
Many water gardeners enjoy the elegant splendor of the aquatic iris, which is among the first plants to bloom in the spring. Aquatic irises comprise such a large and diverse group – there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of cultivated and natural hybrids. The blue flag iris is a native plant that can grow up to four feet tall! A wetland lover, the blue flag’s large flowers are breathtaking, ranging in shades from pale blue to purple.
9. Sweet Flag
Also known as golden Japanese sweetflag (Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’), this plant is ideal for containers and water gardens alike. It’s extremely flexible, as it can be grown with its toes in the water or partially submerged. The beautiful foliage is light green and highlighted with bright yellow stripes, remaining beautiful all season and sometimes through the winter. An all-around great plant that adds a bright, cheerful spot to any water feature!
Waterlilies are stunning creatures in the water garden and often the reason why many gardeners add a pond to their landscape. These beautiful pond plants are characterized by amazing flowers representing all colors in the light spectrum from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet (including the collective white), and a number of shades in between.
The flowers range from a mere two inches in diameter to some blooms measuring 12″ or more. Their leaves typically float unless they’re crowded, and are more or less round, ranging from 2″ across to over 6 feet for the giant Victoria. Waterlilies are available in both hardy and tropical varieties.