The 5 Types Of Pond Plants And Which Are The Best And Worst

Learn About The Different Types of Aquatic Plants And Which Are Best And Worst For Des Moines
Aquatic plants for ponds in a pond

The 5 types of pond plants are bog, marginal, floating, emergent, and submerged. Lilies, blue flag iris, and sweetflag are a few examples.

Find out more below-

The Finishing Touches

“Alright, so what do you want to crown your baby with?” asks Adam.

Angela lets out a small laugh. “Plants, obviously. I want to make a plant crown for her,” she jokes. Adam smiles back. “Ok, but what kind of plants go in a pond? This is my first time owning one so I have no idea.”

Angela shrugs. “Mine, too. The pond contractor said we could look on his blog to find the types of pond plants and some examples. They’re ones that usually do well in Des Moines, too. I say we look. It worked last time for the types of koi fish.”

Adam pulls out his phone and starts searching online. Angela walks over to help him out.

Here are the types of aquatic plants they find:

The 5 Types Of Pond Plants

Pond with different types of aquatic plants

The types of pond plants are bog, marginal, floating, emergent, and submerged. They all belong in different areas of the pond, from the outer boundary to the bottom. Some examples are pickerelweed, arrowhead plants, pink sensation lilies, and hornwort.

1. Bog Plants

You’ll find bog plants on the outer edges of the pond.

These types of pond plants work best in moist soil. You can build ponds with a bog (aka wetland filter). They help clean the water and give you more area for plants!

Blue flag iris

One example is the Blue Flag Iris.

These plants look elegant and delicate in ponds. They like really wet soil and a lot of sunlight. You’ll usually see them bloom in late spring and early summer. They grow to about 3 feet tall, creating a beautiful backdrop for ponds. This aquatic plant for ponds lives longer and healthier when it’s part of a colony.

2. Marginal Pond Plants

These types of pond plants thrive in up to 6 inches of water. This can include the moist soil that bog plants live in.

Corkscrew rush as one of the more popular pond plants in Des Moines

Corkscrew Rush is a great example. This is one gnarly looking plant and that’s part of what makes it so great for water features.

You could almost guess what this pond plant looks like by the name alone. Corkscrew rush is one of the aquatic plants for ponds that decorate the pond edges nearer the ground. They grow about 1 foot tall and wide. During summer they bloom in small, brownish-green clusters.

3. Floating Aquatic Plants

These types of aquatic plants, well, float on the water’s surface.

Floating plants like these are one of the ways to control pond algae. But, while they can help keep your pond clean and clear, they may not be best for every pond owner.

You’ll want to be careful and do your research on floating plants! Some of them, like water lettuce and hyacinth, can be invasive. They grow easily and quickly. If your state government allows them and you plant them, you’ll need to prune them regularly.

4. Emergent Plants

These types of aquatic plants root in the sides and pond bottom and bloom above the water’s surface.

Pink water lily aquatic plant for pond

Emergent plants are some of the most beautiful. One of the best examples is the Pink Sensation Lily. It’s said to be the most beautiful of all the lilies.

And whoever says that is right! This might even be the most beautiful of the aquatic plants for ponds. Pink Sensation Lilies can bloom on the water’s surface all season long. These floating plants can even change colors as the season goes on. The flowering parts aren’t the entire plant though. Lilies can take up to 5 feet of space.

Purple pickerel weed looking amazing

Pickerelweed is another fine choice. Their violet-blue flowers add a striking look to anywhere they grow. They can grow to be 2-3 feet tall. Fun fact- you can eat their leaves as greens in a salad and roast their seeds for snacks.

Arrowhead pond plant flowers

A third fun choice is the Arrowhead Plant. While it’s mostly green foliage, Arrowhead plants grow small white flowers during summer. They contrast wonderfully with the greens, blues, and pinks of other aquatic plants for ponds. It grows up to 2 feet tall and loves sunny areas. They also help filter your pond water so it stays cleaner and clearer.

5. Submerged Plants

These pond plants are the least flashy, but they provide great cover!

Submerged plants stay entirely under the water. You can use them to make the pond bottom look more natural and to hide your fish from predators. A few examples include hornwort and eelgrass.

The Pond Plants You Don’t Want

Some pond plants can easily take over your pond. This can make it look like more of a swampy looking jungle than a pond. 5 bad plants include Naiad, milfoil, Cabomba, curly-leaf pondweed, and phragmites.

It’s always best to check and make sure the types of pond plants you choose are good ones.

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“Now we just need to choose the plants and find a place to buy them,” says Angela. Adam nods. “Why don’t you go ahead and start looking? I’m going to poke around this blog a bit more.”