Not only do plants add beauty to any setting, they are essential in helping create and maintain a healthy contained ecosystem in your backyard. Pond plants are extremely beneficial, as they:
Choosing the right variety of plants
Pond plants are categorized as submerged plants, marginal or bog plants, floating plants, and deep water emergent plants. Before selecting pond plants, research your desired varieties to determine their needs, growth habits, and ultimate size:
Submerged plants, such as Anacharis and Cabomba, grow completely underwater. They provide a great place for your fish to hide from predators. These plants are often referred to as "oxygenating" plants as they are very efficient at pulling carbon dioxide from the water and then releasing beneficial oxygen after photosynthesis. These oxygenating plants do not require fertilizing; they use the excess nutrients already present in your pond water.
Marginal or bog plants
These colorful, lush plants, which include Cattails and Irises, grow in the shallow water or saturated soil around the rim or margins of a pond. Bog plants tend to be heavy root feeders that search for nutrients primarily from soil or potting media. While they rely minimally on pond water for nutrients, bog plants improve water quality by extracting excess detrimental nutrients from the pond environment before they can accumulate.
Deep water emergent plants
Some of the most well-known and recognizable pond plants come from this group, which includes Water Lilies and Lotus. Deep water emergent plant roots grow deep underwater in planters on the pond bottom. Leaves and flowers emerge and spread upon the surface, providing fish and other inhabitants with shade and cover from predators.
Floating plants like Water Hyacinths and Water Lettuce simply sit on your pond's surface. Roots drift below and act as filters. These easy-care plants provide surface cover, shade, and hiding places for fish. Many floating plants also produce flowers that can cleverly - and beautifully - disguise filtration or other elements. Floating plants use nutrients from the water, competing with algae and improving water clarity. Rapid growth and the ability to remove excess nutrients from water make floating plants extremely important in keeping a healthy water garden.
Plants, whether full or sparse, flowering or pure foliage - offer a simple, natural solution to boosting pond health and enhancing beauty.