There are three distinct types of pond plants and each provides a set function within your pond ecosystem:
- Bog plants, also known as marginal plants, grow along the swampy edges of ponds or in very shallow water. Aesthetically, bog plants help with the transition from a terrestrial landscape to an aquatic environment. These plants need a damp environment to survive and so they should be place either in the top tier of your pond or in a damp area near the edge.
- You will never see submerged plants but they provide a critical function to any pond you build. Submerged plants are also called oxygenating plants. They remove carbon dioxide from the water and replace it with vital oxygen. High oxygen levels are required for fish to thrive.
- Pond plants in this group float along the surface of your pond and provide shade and shelter. By covering the surface of the water, floating pond plants can provide a myriad of beneficial activities:
- They control the temperature of the water and keep fish comfortable and relaxed.
- Floating plants provide places to hide for aquatic life which lowers their levels of stress.
- They limit the available surface area for algae to grow.
- It is important to note that, while floating plants provide excellent benefits, they should not cover the whole surface area of the pond. If they do, they block sunlight to deeper levels of the pond and can starve biological processes that are essential to a healthy backyard pond.
Bog plants, submerged plants, and floating plants all filter carbon dioxide and other materials out of the water. All pond plants also provide shelter for aquatic life that keeps them relaxed and happy.
Even within these 3 categories there are literally hundreds of species to choose from and different species will thrive in different environments. When choosing the plants that are going in your pond, there are dozens of factors to consider. Optimal growing depth, optimal amount of sunlight, even the alkalinity of your pond can affect how different plants respond. Most plants will list optimal growing conditions on their label but, just to be sure, it is always best to ask an expert.
Care and Maintenance
Just as with the plants in your yard or garden, each pond plant requires proper care to flourish. Trimming off dead or dying parts of the plant, fertilizing, and controlling pests are all important to caring and maintaining your pond plants. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the specific needs of your plants before purchasing. High maintenance plants are never enjoyed by a pond owner who doesn’t want to spend time pruning and fertilizing his new investment, no matter how beautiful they are. Be realistic and purchase plants that you’ll take the time to maintain and care for.