The 5 Different Types of Pond Plants and The Best Ways to Plant Them

Pond plants are a wonderful way to bring your pond to life. They encourage wildlife, inspire relaxation, and provide a beautiful focal point that all will enjoy.

From oxygenating pond plants that help to maintain your pond’s environment to floating pond plants and plants that decorate pond edges, there’s an array of pond plant types out there.

However, are pond plants necessary? How many pond plants do you need? And, how do you plant them?

At Pond Planet, we’ve put together the ultimate guide on how to plant pond plants. From the different types of pond plants to our top pond planting tips, read on for all you need to know to make the most out of your favourite water feature. 

Table of Contents

  1. Do ponds need plants?
  2. The different types of pond plants
  3. Our top pond planting tips 
  4. Transform your pond at Pond Planet!
Various large green floating pond plants, circular with raised edges

Do ponds need plants?

Pond plants come in various shapes, sizes, and forms. Whilst some are submerged deep within the layers of water, others float steadily along the surface, creating a soft aesthetic look. 

As well as enhancing the natural beauty of your pond, pond plants play an important role in the health and quality of your pond. Below, we’ve covered the top benefits of pond plants and their roles in maintaining your pond.

They prevent the build-up of algae

Not just for aesthetic appearances, pond plants help prevent the build-up of green algae in your pond water. 

Though green algae play an important role in maintaining your pond’s environment, too much algae can reduce the oxygen levels in your pond and can be harmful to your pond’s environment and inhabitants. 

Outdoor pond with a layer of algae, surface plants rising through

They balance and maintain your pond’s health

Pond plants do a lot for your pond: They consume excess nutrients and filter any pollution and sediment living in your pond. 

An excess of nutrients in your pond can cause all kinds of problems, including algae overgrowth and changes in the health of your water. Having additional forms of filtration alongside your pond filter is an easy, and aesthetically pleasing way to keep on top of your pond’s health. 

They provide much-needed shade

Pond plants provide natural shade and shadows, limiting the sunlight available for photosynthesis and other nutrients required for algae blooms to thrive and grow. 

With this in mind, pond plants will improve your water quality, as the plants will use the sunlight for their photosynthesis process and then release oxygen back into the pond.

The different types of pond plants

So, pond plants are important. However, how do you incorporate them into your pond?

Below, we’ve covered the five plant ‘zones’, also referred to as pond areas, to consider when planting your pond plants. Read on for what types of pond plants you should choose and where to plant them!

Zone 1: Bog plants

Bog plants, also known as marsh plants, are a fantastic way to inject colour, texture, and interest into the border of your pond, otherwise known as Zone 1. 

They are not strictly aquatic plants; however, they thrive off moisture, making them an excellent choice for the edges of your pond. 

As well as softening the edges of your pond to create an aesthetically pleasing view, bog plants are also a great way to encourage wildlife. They offer plenty of natural shade and cover, encouraging critters of all shapes and sizes to pay a visit!

Three koi fish rising to surface of pond edge

 As bog plants are not aquatic plants, we recommend planting them at a depth of 0 – 15cm and directly into the soil. This will allow them to soak up water and thrive without subjecting them to too much moisture. 

At Pond Planet, we have a stunning selection of bog and marsh garden plants for you to shop, so whether you’re looking to create beautiful green layers or inject bold pops of colour, we’ve got something for you.

Zone 2: Marginal pond plants

Like bog plants, marginal pond plants can be used to enhance the border of your pool. They add to the depth and shape created by bog plants and help to make the overall appearance of your pond structure more natural.

Also referred to as ’emergent plants’ due to how their flowering parts emerge out and above the water, marginal plants come in various forms, and our range has plenty to choose from. 

Beautiful orange pond plants

Our collection of marginal pond plants is the perfect way to transform your pond. It includes everything from flowering yellow marigolds and rich purple mixed louisianas to gorgeously green creeping jennys.

Marginal pond plants are located in Zone 2 and, as such, are best planted in the shallow waters of your pond. We recommend a planting depth of 0 – 15cm using our selection of small pond baskets.

Zone 3: Deep marginal plants 

Similar to Zone 2 plants, deep marginal plants emerge from the water to stand above the waterline. 

They are suited to various depths of pond water and can tolerate a greater depth of shallow pond water than standard marginal plants, meaning that they can be planted lower into the pond at Zone 3. 

We recommend planting deep marginal plants at a depth of 15 – 40 cm. 

Tall reedlike grass plants, rising above pond surface level

Zone 4: Deepwater and oxygenating pond plants  

Deepwater and oxygenating pond plants are the deepest you can plant in your pond. 

Located in Zone 4, they can either be fully submerged beneath the water or, in some cases, just slightly emerging or floating on the waterline.

Due to their ability to remove excess nutrients and replenish oxygen in your water, oxygenating pond plants are the most important pond plants to ensure a healthy pond. 

With this in mind, you should make sure that you have deep water and oxygenating pond plants in your pond, especially during the summer months, as this is when dissolved oxygen levels are naturally lower.

Deep water plant flowers, rising above pond surface

At Pond Planet, we have a brilliant selection of deep water pond plants and oxygenating plants, so you can ensure your pond has the right components to maintain its quality. They should be planted at depths over 40cm, ensuring that they can perform at their best. 

Zone 5: Floating pond plants

Last but not least, floating pond plants reside on the surface of your pond and require no planting at all. 

As the name suggests, floating pond plants float across the top of your pond’s water with no underwater stem. 

They are a low-maintenance option that effortlessly enhances the pond’s appearance whilst providing much-needed shade for any fish swimming below. They also provide wildlife, like frogs or newts, a place to rest outside the pond water, making them a truly brilliant addition to any wildlife lover’s pond. 

Pink surface pond plants, underneath their stalks lays overlapping lily pads

Our Top Pond Planting Tips

Our collection of floating pond plants has something for everyone, including elegant water poppies and floating water moss. We also stock a truly beautiful collection of pond lilies, which are the perfect way to add a bold pop of elegance and colour to any thriving water feature.  

Alongside zones and plant types, there are various factors to consider to ensure your pond, and as such, your pond plants, do what they’re supposed to. Below, we’ve covered our top pond planting tips to help you.  

When should I plant my pond plants?

Like other plants, aquatic plants tend to thrive best and develop the most throughout the spring and early summer seasons. This is because they benefit from increased sunlight exposure and warmer temperatures.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t plant your pond plants in the autumn or winter months. However, if you do, you should expect them to remain dormant until spring, when the weather is more encouraging. 

Of course, planting your pond plants in the sun is a much more enjoyable experience – however, if you want to pond your plants in winter, we’re not going to stop you!  

Vivid orange pond flowers

Keep On Top of Pond Maintenance

To save yourself from excessive maintenance work, we recommend that you always keep on top of your pond to keep it blooming – and this includes planning ahead.

If you have fish in your pond, they can cause havoc by digging up your freshly planted pond plant. With this in mind, we advise topping the planted pond baskets with gravel or large pebbles to prevent this from happening. This will also help ensure they remain stable and resistant to any damage from fish or other pond inhabitants.

 You should also regularly maintain your established pond plants by trimming excess foliage, which will prevent dead plant materials from adding to organic waste.

Choose the Right Plants and Materials

Of course, one of the most important tips that we can give you is to make sure that you do your research when selecting pond plants and accessories. 

For your pond to thrive, your pond plants need to be suitable for their environment. With this in mind, you should always research your pond’s size and location suitability for the plants you have in mind. 

You should also ensure that your pond plants help to improve the pond’s natural balance – not disturb it. For example, if you have a koi pond, you may want to keep deep and submerged plants to a minimum so that your fish do not damage or dig up your fresh new plants.

Looking to make the most out of your pond plants? It’s also essential to feed your pond plants with premium soils and fertilisers, ensuring that your plants enhance your pond and not diminish its quality. 

Pond frog, covered in algae and pond matter, with his head and back above the green water

Transform your pond at Pond Planet!

Though pond plants are renowned for their ability to enhance your garden’s appearance with colour and texture, their role in the water is so much more than aesthetic.

They come in various forms, from marginal pond plants and floating pond plants to deep water plants and more, and each one plays an important part in maintaining the health of your pond’s water, inhabitants, and ecosystem. 

It’s vital to know how to plant pond plants and where in your pond you should plant them. 

At Pond Planet, we have a fantastic selection of pond plants for you to shop for every zone in your pond, so you can transform your new water feature into a thriving green environment that will encourage wildlife and captivate guests.

Looking for inspiration? Shop our brilliant selection of pond plant collections, which offer ready-made plant organisations to complement your pond and help you create the perfect finishing look in your garden. 

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