The idea of introducing a pond into your yard can be daunting. Creating a healthy environment for wildlife takes time and energy; it’s not easy digging out that volume of soil!
You’ll also need to know the best place to put a pond, learn what to plant, and when is the best time to do it, especially if you also want to keep fish—knowing what works and what doesn’t will be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful pond.
The advantages of creating a healthy plant will benefit you, your environment, and the nature in and around it. Ponds are exciting and relaxing for you to enjoy.
Still, they also provide a source of drinking water, a breeding ground, and shelter for an incredible array of insects and amphibians, which will invite even more mammals and birds into your space.
Creating a pond won’t be easy, but here are the 8 best plants for building your pond.
1. Water Lily
Water Lillies may just be the most iconic pond plant. They are the best know for the flat-leaf pads that float atop the water and the pale pink blooms that seem to float alongside.
One of the best ways to plant these pond beauties is to buy rhizomes that are beginning to shoot. Pot them up with aquatic compost covered with stones to keep the compost in place.
Submerge the pot in shallow water before gradually deepening over weeks. If you put potted rhizomes straight on the pond floor, they’re likely to rot away.
For Water Lilies to thrive, buy plants that will fit your pond. You can choose from small, medium or large varieties depending on the depth of your water.
2. Marsh Marigold
Also known as Kingcup, the Marsh Marigold is a fantastic addition to your pond that will bring a splash of vivid yellow around the perimeter of your water during the spring months.
The Marsh Marigold is native to wetlands in the Northern Hemisphere and is often found around any body of water. It is the perfect plant for providing shelter to tadpoles and frogs, as well as a range of insects.
Because the Marsh Marigold is a member of the Buttercup family, you’ll need to handle them with care, as all parts of the plant will cause problems if ingested by humans or pets, as well as causing skin irritations.
All might not admire Duckweed, but it has a much-needed place in your pond, with tiny 3-pronged leaves spread like a green mat across the water’s surface.
In warmer climates, Duckweed tends to spread and cover your whole pond – which is fine – unless your pond is full of fish, in which case it’s worth keeping the leaves on the thin side because it can reduce oxygen levels.
Duckweed is high in vitamins and protein and is a great food source for poultry and even humans.
4. Water Lettuce
Water Lettuce is a luscious green, floating plant that takes its name after the leafy vegetable. Water Lettuce takes all its nutrients from the water and, in late summer, produces delicate violet flowers.
One of the main benefits of introducing water lettuce to your pond is providing cover and shelter, which creates the perfect place for young fish to hide and provides shade for the water, reducing the spread of algae.
If you live in a hot area, you’ll need to keep an eye on how much it spreads and control it somewhat, but other than that, it is a low-maintenance addition to any pond.
5. Pickerel Plant
Native to North America, Pickerel Plant, or Pickerelweed, is a commonly found perennial in marshes and wetlands. It is a member of the Water Hyacinth family, and through the long summer months, this aquatic plant boasts tall, purple flowers full of pollen and nectar the insects love.
When planted in great masses, the blooms and grass-like appearance of the pickerel plant is a beautiful sight, but for a home pond, keeping plant numbers low will stop them from taking over.
6. Water Wisteria
Water Wisteria is a freshwater plant that is the perfect addition to your pond or aquarium. It is easy to grow, care for and propagate and will oxygenate your water to support other aquatic life.
The Water Wisteria will tolerate most conditions, but it likes a great deal of light to thrive. Because it’s native to the warmer climates of Asia, it likes water temperatures between 70-85 degrees.
7. Cardinal Flower
If you have the right conditions for a cardinal flower to grow, it’s more than worth adding it to your pond; birds, such as the hummingbird will come flocking, and butterflies won’t leave it alone. It is hardy and usually not bothered by much more than slugs and snails.
The Cardinal Flower has striking red blooms that sit upon the plant’s tall stems in small clumps. In hotter areas, plant it in a spot offering partial shade, but in cooler climates, you’ll need to place it in full sun.
The Cardinal Plant benefits from rich soil that doesn’t dry out; planting around the shallows of your pond are perfect. They are perennials, so they will return each year but make sure not to ingest any part of the plant- it can make you seriously sick.
8. Umbrella Palm
Some grasses thrive around ponds, and the Umbrella Palm is one such example.
Because it is native to Africa, this plant is not particularly hardy and tolerates tropical and sub-tropical climates. If you live in a warm enough region, this plant won’t disappoint. It adds interest and looks great mixed with other flowering aquatic plants.
This plant can be a little invasive due to its deep root systems, so you can always contain them by submerging them in a pot if this is a concern. It’s a good idea to cut it back every few years, which will also allow you to propagate it by pulling clumps apart.