Between the water itself and the plants that live in and around it, a pond can create its own little ecosystem. In addition, pond plants are not only essential to healthy ponds, but are often plants that cannot grow elsewhere in the garden.
Types of Pond Plants
There are three types of pond plants. Submerged plants, waterlilies and marginals (those that reside at the pond's edges).
Submerged plants are invaluable in a pond, as they provide oxygen to the water, fish and other aquatic life. They clean up fallen nutrients and help to control algae growth. Examples are the Water Violet, Parrot's Feather, Water Crowfoot and Hornwort.
Many people build ponds just so they can enjoy the beauty of waterlilies. These lovely plants of the Nymphaea family provide much-needed shade for fish and other aquatic creatures. Waterlilies should only cover about a third of the water's surface, however, so be sure not to overcrowd the pond with these plants. They will spread.
Pond plants that are placed along the edges of the water are usually planted as a visual aesthetic. Many of these plants, such as Pickerel Rush and Irises, should be restricted to containers, as they will spread. Other examples include Flowering Rush, Marsh Marigold, Asiatic Water Iris, Japanese Arrowhead, Cattails and Sweet Flag Grass.
A Word About Floating Plants
Floating plants, although visually appealing, are not always suitable for some ponds. They do provide shade, but can be very invasive, such as Duckweed and Fairy Moss, and need to be maintained routinely. Other examples include the Water Chestnuts and Water Soldiers.
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