Plants That Live in Ponds

Updated July 19, 2017

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

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.

Marginal Plants

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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About the Author

Sonia Acone is a full-time freelance writer in northeast Pennsylvania. She has been published by The Wild Rose Press and is currently writing children's picture books, as well as online content. Acone writes articles for eHow and She has been freelance writing since 2008. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and professional writing from Elizabethtown College.