A backyard pond can provide a tranquil setting in your backyard and attract wildlife like birds, frogs and butterflies. The type of pond plants you plant depends on whether you have a small man-made backyard pond or a large pond that is mostly used for swimming and fishing. Generally pond plants are not recommended for ponds used mainly for recreation, but for small decorative backyard ponds a number of aquatic plants can add interest.
For a beautiful flowering pond plant, grow water lilies (Nymphaea). These floating plants are easy to recognise due to their large round leaves, which typically grow to about 9 to 10 inches across at maturity. They produce 8- to 9-inch-wide multi-petalled flowers that come in white and pink. They typically bloom from April through September. Water lilies grow rapidly, and have a tendency to become invasive if not managed properly.
The water hyacinth, another floating pond plant, is a perennial, originally from South America, that has been introduced into ponds in the United States and can now be found growing naturally in many states. The large grey-green leaves, which can reach 10 inches in diameter, and striking violet to purple flowers make the hyacinth an attractive addition to your pond. Water hyacinths need proper management to keep from spreading and invading the entire pond.
Often confused with water lilies, the American lotus is an aquatic flowering plant native to the United States, growing from the Midwest, including Iowa and Minnesota, eastward to Ontario and New York and as far south as Florida, Oklahoma and Texas. The American lotus produces some of the largest leaves on water plants -- as large as 2 feet in diameter. Its striking 10-inch-wide flowers, which usually come in yellow with pink-tinged flower petals, are often used in dried flower arrangements.
For a fast-growing pond plant that forms a dense, floating mat of greenery, grow water lettuce. This aquatic plant forms 1- to 6-inch-wide leaves that typically grow in a spiral pattern. Commonly found growing in swamps, marshes and bogs throughout the tropics, it originated in Europe and, according to Floridata, may have been first introduced in Florida, where it grows rampantly. Water lettuce can become invasive without proper management.