If you have  pond or a water garden, choosing your plants is the best, and sometimes most intimidating part of the process! Adding plants gives your pond life, helps it blend into the rest of the garden, and feeds a healthy bio-system within you pond. But let’s face it, most of us want it easy. The last thing we need are a bunch of finicky plants that die when we look at them wrong. Here are the top perfect pond plants from experts who love them for their ease of care, beauty and contribution to the pond ecosystem.

Perfect Pond Plants



There are basically three different types of pond plants that you want to know about before you pick your fav, and they all do different things. Bog plants are water plants with roots that are planted underwater, but near the edges of the pond. Their roots do keep them in place, and they are best planted with larger pots, then placed into the water at the pond edge. Best placement has the roots 2-3 inches below the surface of the water. In nature, these would be the plants whose roots would form the erosion control of the bank of the pond.

Floating plants do just that… they float on the surface of the water, and therefore have no formal root system to hold them in place. Many of them are considered invasive species, and are difficult to control. Water Lettuce is a good example.

Perfect Pond Plants


Pond plants are the kind that are potted underwater, and can be planted at the depth of the pond in any spot. They grow long stems that break the surface of the water to sport their blooms and sometimes leaves. The water lilies and lotus are top favorites.

You want a bit of several types of plants for the most natural looking pond. Check out this short video on the types of water plants. Here are top picks!



Photo below by ‘Mark the Pond Guy

perfect pond plants
Corkscrew Rush – Rush is a perennial hardy down to zone 4, will take some shade, and adds a great texture and interest to the garden. Easy to grow bog plant. Photo by ‘Pond Koi‘.

Perfect Pond Plants


Papyrus – Papyrus has both dwarf and full sized varieties, and is a marshy plant that should be potted for control. Planted directly in the ground, this plant can become aggressive. Gorgeous texture and color.



Sweet Flag – Sweet Flag is an ornamental grass perfect for the pond. Growing to three feet, it prefers to be planted just under the water at the ponds edge. Loves sun, and hardy to zone 3.

Perfect Pond Plants


Water Lily – There are more water lily varieties than can be covered in one post, but generally they are hardy down to zone 4, and prefer full sun, but there are varieties that handle more shade. ‘BHG” has a great tutorial on how to pot up water lilies. They like the pot place 6-18 inches deep into the pond. Hardy water lilies are easier than the tropical varieties to grow.



Lotus – Lotus is the most exotic of our picks, but is not as difficult to grow as their beauty suggests! They need at least 6 hours of sun a day, and they prefer their roots to be no more than 10 inches under water. Fertilize with a fertilizer stick ever 3-4 weeks during the growing season. Lotus are hardy down to zone 5, and can be quite fragrant.


Most nurseries have water garden sections, and can guide you more specifically to plants for your situation.  Try some of our perfect pond plants, and let us know your experiences in comments!


Perfect Pond Plants

Image Credits: Mark The Pond Guy, UC Davis, Aqua Scape, This Old House, PondKoi.com, Bonnies, Aqua Scape, BHG



  1. A January 22, 2017 at 7:20 pm


    1. Kathy Woodard January 24, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      Ask at your local nursery, they will know where in your area to get them!

  2. Kimberly Lain March 20, 2017 at 5:59 am

    What is the best kind of soil to use in your pond?

    1. Kathy Woodard April 17, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      This is the one place that using heavier soil, like from your backyard, is much better than using potting soil, which is often too light and just floats.


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