The few varieties that are evergreen are reeds such as horse-tails and reeds, and all Louisiana irises. Reeds are an important aquatic plant, providing texture, color and interest. They also provide a backdrop for flowering aquatic plants. Some reeds are evergreen, generating interest during the winter months.
Swamp marigolds are useful for toads and newts. Brooklime is also useful, as it is usually present throughout the year. The cardinal flower has beautiful red flowers that stand out in any garden. They are attractive to the eye and to several pollinators, including hummingbirds.
Highly sought after for its unique perennial foliage, horsetail has bamboo-like stems with a distinctive cylindrical shape. Horsetail is also available in miniature form (Equisetum scirpioides) that only grows to about 6 inches tall, as well as in a giant form (Equisetum hyemale 'Robustum') that can reach heights of up to 6 feet. Waxy and shiny, marsh marigolds are some of the first pond plants to bloom in early spring. Sunny golden-yellow flowers glow on mounds of round green foliage.
This well-educated grass plant is compact and particularly suitable for streams. The yellow-green leaves of the Dwarf Golden Sweet Flag are semi-evergreen. Blue Flag Iris is a staple in many water gardens. This reliable bloomer grows well in full sun or moderate shade and is softer and more club-inhabited than most irises.
The purplish blue flowers have a touch of yellow inside each petal. Cardinal Flower's red flowers rise on high peaks and stay open for weeks, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. This eye-catcher is also available in a pink variety (Lobelia x speciosa 'Pink') and is closely related to the burgundy stemmed Queen Victoria (Lobelia fulgens 'Queen Victoria'). Water Forget-Me-Nots are our favorite for diving into streams and waterfalls.
This lush plant creates a beautiful carpet of green foliage dotted with blue flowers that bloom in spring and stay strong in summer. Water Hawthorne is an excellent alternative to water lilies in shaded ponds. Although the delicate white flowers are much smaller than those of a water lily, the oval green leaves float beautifully above the pond, creating shade for the fish. Hawthorne water blooms most when the water temperature is above freezing point but below 55 degrees.
What Arrow Arum lacks in flowers provides in stature. This leafy plant has impressive waxy green foliage that can grow up to 2 feet long and sprouts a spadix (a group of tiny flowers) instead of normal flowers. Umbrella Palm features a tropical-looking green leaf star on a bare stem. It is also available in a dwarf variety (Cyperus alternifolius' Gracilis') that has thinner leaves and only grows 2 to 3 feet tall.
The horsetail rod provides a striking architectural presence in your pond with its segmented rods, which grow up to 24″ tall, while the dwarf version grows to eight inches. Resistant to Zone 4, it's a quick spreader and you'll want to thin out the plant in summer. In autumn, cut the plant to the ground to prevent the spores from spreading. There are several varieties of taro available for your pond and they work well in full sun or in part.
This is a tropical plant suitable for zones 8-11, but cooler climates can bring the plant indoors during the winter months. Place it near a sunny window and then transfer the taro to your pond when summer comes. This stunning leafy water lover grows to approximately 48″ and always makes an eye-catching look in the water garden. Flowers range from just two inches in diameter to some flowers that measure 12″ or larger.
Its leaves usually float unless crowded, and are more or less round, ranging from 2″ wide to more than 6 feet for giant Victoria. Water lilies are available in resistant and tropical varieties. My wildlife pond looked very bare in early spring and had too few plants to spawn frogs, newts, etc., because most of them were deciduous. Each color, type and size of plant you add consumes a different type of nitrate, so the more (and more variety) of plants you have, the less likely that cut algae will run rampant in your pond.
Sarracenia grows on the edges of ponds and streams, where the crown of the plant may be above the waterline. Available in blue, white and pink lavender spiked flowers, the pickerel is an excellent choice for ponds with its bright green heart-shaped foliage. Water hyacinth is a resistant and highly adaptable free-floating plant that is very suitable for both cold climates and those near the equator. Cattails are also important aquatic plants that provide vertical texture and winter interest to any pond.
Pond Informer is a growing community of 26% pond professionals, environmentalists and science writers, passionate about everything related to ponds, wetlands and sustainable conservation. Everyone has their favorite collection of pond plants, but there may be some varieties that you haven't added to your water garden yet. With thick rhizomes that can survive in the substrate all winter and sprout new irises the following year, hardy water lilies are floating plants that are an excellent choice for cold-climate ponds. It's also a great infill plant for more rocky water sources, or looks just as good on the edge of your pond.
Regardless of why you went into water gardening, adding aquatic plants to the pond is an important part of the water garden. Plants put the “garden” in your water garden and are a great way to add color and soften the rocky edges of your pond. Its interesting purple, pink or white flowers sit on tall, sturdy but thin stems, adding height and character to the edge of the ponds. If you don't want to add one yet, we have 13 reasons to install a pond or water fountain.