Types of Water Plants

Water plants might just be the most important, yet often overlooked, part of a healthy and established pond.  Plants serve as Mother Nature’s cleaners. They remove excess nutrients from the water and use them to flourish.  They also assist in controlling algae by depriving it of it’s natural food source and blocking UV rays algae needs to grow.  A good rule to follow for algae control is to incorporate enough plants to shade two-thirds of your pond’s surface with plant material.  Plants also provide shelter for fish and add to the beauty of your pond.  While there are the beautiful blooming lilies everyone loves there are a variety of other types of plants that should be incorporated into your pond.

Types of Water Plants

Floating plants
 such as water hyacinth and water lettuce help reduce algae in the water garden. Water hyacinths reproduce rapidly; you may need to cull some of the plants from time to time. If you live in a warm climate, don’t throw water hyacinths into open water such as canals, ponds, etc.; it can be an invasive plant.


Most oxygenating grasses grow submerged deeply in water and either sit at the bottom of the pot or float on the water’s surface. Oxygenating grasses help maintain the proper pH balance and oxygen level of the pond’s water. Examples: anacharis (Egeria densa), fanwort (Cabomba caroliniana), feather grass and blood grass.


Bog plants should be placed so that the water level just covers the soil. In nature, bog plants grow naturally in shallow water at a pond’s perimeter. In a pond pot it may be necessary to set bog plants on top of rocks, on top of small inverted pots, or hang them from the edge to create a more shallow water environment.  Perennial hibiscus even make fantastic bog plants.

 grow in 1 to 12 inches of water between the shore and deeper water. Marginal plants are favorites in small container water gardens and usually sit at the bottom of the pot. Examples: horsetail and yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus).


Deep-water plants
 such as water lilies need at least one foot of water above their roots, a few square feet in which to spread their foliage. Water lilies help cool the water which reduces algae growth and maintains oxygen levels.  Plus, they have gorgeous blooms!


At Atlantic Avenue Orchid & Garden, we are happy to assist our customers with designing the perfect pond or water garden for their homes!  Please give us a call at (919) 878-8877 or stop by our store on Atlantic Avenue in Raleigh, NC and our knowledgeable staff can help you select plants to add to your existing pond or provide you with a plan for your new pond.