Pond plant varietiesThere are lots of different types of pond plants and they are often classified by the depth they should be planted. This is called pond zones. For instance, there are some aquatics that thrive in shallow water, such as the marsh arum and pickerelweed. Water lilies, like the Brandy-Bottle and others, like deeper water. Then there are the floating varieties (such as the common frogbit), oxygenating plants (like common mare’s tail) and plants that like it marshy, along the edge of the pond such as hyssop loosestrife.
Clear waterPond plants are crucial for creating or keeping your pond water clear because they prevent algae from forming too quickly – they will save you a lot of work! Algae like it warm and nutritious. By adding a few oxygenating plants to your pond, you make the water less attractive to them. The plants also shade the water from the sun more, so that it doesn't heat up as quickly.
Oxygenating plants to start withFor best results, you need a light, fairly sunny spot for your pond plants. Best time to plant pond plants is May-June. Oxygenating plants such as Common Mare’s Tail is a basic necessity, in any pond to keep pond water clear of algae. You need to ensure that you have placed some oxygenating plants in your pond within 24 hours of filling it. You only need 4 bunches for every 1,000 litres of water. Only after you’ve planted your oxygenators, do you start with any decorative pond plants like a water lily.
Plant your pond plants in basketsIf you have a large, natural pond, your pond plants can just go in the natural pond substrata, whether further in at the deep part, or along the banks. Don’t cover more than a third of your pond bottom, to give things room to grow.
With the smaller garden pond, it’s important that you prevent the plants from taking over too much. If you use little pond baskets, the plants will not only stay where you put them, they will be easier to move when you want to.
Line your basket with a piece of sacking and fill it with special pond substrate (do not use ‘normal’ potting compost as this only invites algae to expand). Remove your pond plant from its nursery pot and plant it carefully in the basket.
Fill up with more pond substrate and fold the extra sacking over the top. Give the whole a layer of gravel/grit and lower the basket into the pond at the required depth (see the plant label for details. If the plant needs to go shallow and you don’t have a marshy edge, just stand the basket on a stack of bricks until the correct depth is achieved.
Marshy, pond edge plantsYou can grow some really lovely pond plants in the marshy soil at the edge of a pond. These are often specifically used to naturally disguise the edge of the pond. The soil next to an artificial pond is not necessarily marshier than anywhere else in the garden but you can have the plants on the inside of the pond, raised up. You could also create your own marshy pond edge with pond sheeting next to the artificial (shaped) pond and then you can use that spot for all the typical marsh loving plants. Try some prolific flowering plants like the bearded (water) iris. There are plants such as loosestrife and euphorbia (spurge) or various other perennials, that will also thrive in periods of drought next to the pond.
Do also check out the following interesting products: