Recommended Water Plants for the Garden Pond

Submerged oxygenating plants 

To start a pool off the more submerged oxygenating plants there are the better. They can always be weeded out with a rake if they become too prolific. They are generally supplied as cuttings and may be put into containers and planted anywhere on the bottom in the pool. 

Ancharis canadensis (water thyme. Canadian pond weed, American pond weed) j dark green mass, brittle stems, check uncontrolled development. 

Ceratophyllum demersum (Hornwort), dark green bristle-like leaves, handle with care and plant in deepest part of pool. 

Egeria densa (syn. Elodea densa), dark green plant often found in indoor aquaria, slightly tender. 

Lagarosiphon major (syn. Elodea crispa), long stems with leaves that curl backwards. 

Elodea canadensis

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Myrio-phyllum spicatum (water milfoil), delicate-looking leaves and stems, found in fresh-waters in Britain. 

Ranunculus aqualitis (water crowfoot), the foliage and white buttercup-shaped (lowers reach the surface.


A wide range of brilliant hybrids are available (lowering June-September, varying considerably in vigour and therefore in the size of pools to which they are suited.

Some are miniatures which will grow in a few inches of water, others need four or five feel of water in which to flourish. Planting depths in the water are given in this selection. Great care should also be taken when fixing the roots in their pots. The while fleshy roots will be old anchorage roots and should be cut off. The young feeding roots are black and fibrous. They should be kept and planted firmly in moist soil

Tuberous types should be inserted in the soil horizontally with the crown just above the soil. Place plenty of gravel, pebbles and even heavy stones over the soil to keep the lily from   floating  upwards.   Place the container on blocks high in the water, and gradually lower it by removing the blocks as the stems develop, until the water-lily reaches its correct planting depth. 

Water-lilies may be thinned out by removing unwanted clumps with a knife. Propagate from ‘eyes’ taken from the roots in spring.

RED ‘Attraction’, deep red, large flowers edged white, plant 18 inches to 2 feet 6 inches or more deep. ‘Escarboucle’, brilliant red flowers, large and prolific, very popular, plant 10 inches to 2 feet deep. ‘James Brydon’, carmine flowers, purple leaves, becoming green, stands shade, plant 18 inches to 2 feet deep. ‘Froebelii’, bright wine-red (lowers in great numbers, plant in 3-18 inches of water. Laydekcri hybrids, red, purple, carmine, rose, plant 3-18 inches deep.

PINK ‘Mme Wilfron Gonnere’, fine pink beautifully shaped flowers many-petallcd, plant 18 inches to 2 feet deep; ‘Marliacea Rosea’, flowers attain full colour after a year or so, very vigorous, plant in 18 inches to 2 feet of water; JV”. Odorata ‘Rosea’, fragrant rose-coloured flowers, vigorous, plant 1 foot to 18 inches deep; JV. Odorata Turicensis’, fragrant rose flowers, plant 1 foot to 18 inches deep; ‘Laydekeri Lilacea’, pink fragrant flowers, becoming deeper in colour, plant in 3-18 inches of water.

YELLOW: ‘Marliacea Chro-matclla’, bright yellow flowers and mottled leaves, plant 18 inches to 2 feet deep; ‘Moorci’, canary-yellow (lowers with bright yellow stamens, leaves brown speckled, plant 18 inches to 2 feet deep; ‘Comanche’, dark gold to coppery flowers, long flowering period, plant 1 foot to 18 inches deep; JV. Odorata ‘Sulphu-rea’, soft yellow star-shaped flowers held well above the water, 3 inches to 18 inches deep; ‘Pygmaea, Hcl-vola’, a true miniature with delicate yellow flowers, plant in only 3 inches to 1 foot of water.

WHITE: ‘Gladstoniana’, magnificent large white flowers, vigorous, plant in 18 inches to 3 feet of water or even more; ‘Gonnere’ (’Crystal White’), double flowers erect, plant 18 inches to 2 feet; ‘Lactea’, purest white flowers with yellow centres, plant 1 foot to 18 inches; N. Candida, small white flowers with red stigma, not too vigorous, plant 3-18 inches; ‘Pygmaca Alba’ the smallest white of all, very delicate and needing winter protection, plant in no more than 3-9 inches of water. Floating plants These require no containers and are placed on the surface of the pond. They sometimes sink at first but rise to the surface again. They are valuable because they reduce algae and provide vegetation for the fish to nibble. About four such plants would be all that was necessary for a pool 9ft x 6ft. 

Azolla caroliniana (fairy moss), green mazy fronds changing to red and brown at the end of summer, needs over-wintering in frost-free conditions but invasive in summer. 

Hydrocharis morsus-ranae (frogbit), water-lily-like leaves, white flowers in July, the plant sinks in winter but comes to the surface again in spring. Stratiotes aloides (water soldier), spiky dark green leaves, white flowers, also rests on bottom in winter.

Deep marginals 

Besides water-lilies there are a number of other decorative plants which produce floating leaves and whose flowers appear above the surface. They should be planted in containers in 6-18 inches of water. About two such plants are enough for a pool 9ft x 6ft. 

Aponogeton distachyum (water hawthorn), oblong dissected leaves, white fragrant flowers from spring onwards, plant in 15-18 inches of water; Hottonia palustris (water violet), sometimes placed among submerged oxygenators because the finely divided foliage remains below the surface of the pond, although the flowers of lilac or white may be held a foot above the surface in summer. It over-winters on the bottom in the mud. Plant in 6-18 inches of water. 

Nymphoides peltata (syn. Limnanthe-mum nymphoides, Villarsia nymphoides) (water fringe), floating water-lilylike leaves, fringed yellow flowers in summer. Plant 6-18 inches deep. Orontium aquaticum (golden club), broad bluish-green leaves, golden-yellow tipped flower spikes in spring; roots must be lodged deeply in soil so it cannot be grown at the edge of sloping sides. Plant in 6-18 inches of of water.


A wide range of plants including many highly decorative rushes and sedges may be grown at the margin of a pond. Plant in about 3 inches of soil in shallow containers with about 3 inches of water above the top of the container. About ten such plants will do for a pool 9ft x 6ft. 

Acorus calamus Variegatus’, variety of sweet-scented flag, green and cream sword-shaped leaves 18 inches or more tall. 

Alisma plantago-aquatica (great water plantain), broad leaves, small pink flowers in summer, reaching 2 feet or more. 

Butomus umbellatus (flowering rush), narrow, sword-shaped leaves, pink flowers in June; 18 inches or more. 

Calla palustris (bog arum), heart-shaped leaves, white column-type flowers, spring to summer, red berries in autumn; 6 inches. Callia palustris ‘Plena’ (kingcup, marsh marigold), dark-green wavy leaves, rich double golden flowers, 6-9 inches; wet soil to 3 inches of water over the crowns. 

Cotula coronopijolia (brass buttons), smooth green leaves, long-lasting bright yellow flowers, low growing, wet soil to 3 inches deep. 

Cyperus longus (sweet galingale) rushy leaves up to 4 feet, dark brown flowers in summer, wet soil to 3 inches of water. 

Eriophorum anguslifolium (cotton grass), grass-like tufts, with cotton-wool- like flower heads, 1 foot or more.

Glycerin aqualica ‘Variegata’ (manna grass, reed grass) thin strap-like leaves striped green and gold, 18 inches or more. 

Iris. This large genus provides many beautiful water plants some of which should be in every pool. Choose from I. kaempferi, of which there are many modern strains with huge flowers of orchid-like quality, I. laevigata, which is sometimes confused with I. kaempferi, but lacks the pronounced leaf ‘rib’, I. pseudacorus (yellow flag) and I. sibirica. All bloom from spring to summer and there are many interesting varieties to choose from. I. versicolor, the North American wine-coloured flag is another marginal species. Most grow 18 inches to 2 feet; wet soil to 3 inches of water over the roots, some varieties will do well in soil that is merely boggy. 

Mentha aquatica (water mint), fragrant foliage reaching 1 foot with pale lilac flowers, wet soil to 3 inches. Mimulus guttatus (monkey musk), perfoliate leaves, brownish-red-spottcd (lowers in summer, wet soil to 3 inches. 

Myosolis palustris (water forget-me-not), bright blue flowers, low-growing, wet soil to 3 inches. 

Pontederia cordata (pickerel weed), heart-shaped leaves and blue flower spikes, 18 inches or more. 

Ranunculus linua ‘Grandiflorus’ (great spear-wort), narrow leaves, buttercup-like flowers, 2 feet or more. 

Sagittaria sagittifolia ‘Flore-pleno’ (syn. Sagittaria japonica plena) (arrowhead), arrow-head-shaped leaves, double white flowers, 18 inches or more. 

Scirpus labernaemontani ‘Zebrinus’ (zebra rush), contrasting green and white bands make this a striking rush; 4 feet. 

Typha latifolia (great reed mace), rush-like, bearing brown spikes up to a foot-long; 6 feet or more.

Water soldier, Startiodes aloides plants growi...

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Bog plants 

Most of the above marginals can be treated as bog garden plants, but Iris kaempferi and the marsh marigold are especially suitable for growing in the bog garden. The bog garden can merge with the rest of the garden, linking the water garden with the land garden, with ferns and other moisture-loving plants making the transition. 

Aconitum napellus (monks-hood), divided leaves, purple-blue flowers in early summer, reaching 3 feet or more; ‘Bressingham Spire’ is an especially good variety; Carda-mine pratense (lady’s smock, cuckoo flower), pretty lilac or pale violet flowers spring to summer, to 18 inches; variety ‘Flore Pleno’ has double flowers. 

Gentiana pneumonantlie (bog gentian), flowers blue with bands of greenish speckles, 6 inches. Gunnera manicata, giant rhubarb-like leaves which may reach 8 feet across; only for the large bog garden ! 

Helonia bullata (swamp pink, stud flower), rosettes of short, swordlike leaves, rich pink spikes in spring, 1 foot. Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife): there are several cultivated varieties of this beautiful flower with purple to rose-like florescences in July; Orchis maderensis, long leaves, tall purple flower spikes in summer, 1 foot to 18 inches. 

Osmunda regalis (royal fern), the fronds can reach well over 4 feet long; conspicuous fertile fronds; russet autumn leaves. 

Parnassia palustris (grass of Parnassus), 6 inches, white flowers, summer. 

Pinguicula vulgaris (bog violet), violet flowers, 6 inches, summer. Primula beesiana, rosy-purple dowel’s with yellow eye, May, 2 feet or more. 

Primula bullyana, flowers buff-orange, April-May, 18 inches or more. 

Primula helodoxa (the glory of the marsh), yellow flowers, early summer, 2 feel or more. 

Primula rosea, rose to carmine flowers, April, 6 inches.

07. September 2011 by admin
Categories: Water Features, Water Garden Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Recommended Water Plants for the Garden Pond


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