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Choosing Plants for Creating Cover on your Garden Pond.

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Having some water lilies or floating pond plants are great to help create a balanced ecosystem in your garden pond. Below we have listed some of the options that you can choose from.

Floating Pond Plants

From the end of March through to the end of the summer there are various plants to choose from to create cover on your garden pond. Some varieties are slower growing but some can be vigorous, it is important to choose the right plants for the size of your pond.












Water Lily

Water Lily are probably the most popular plants to give surface cover on your pond. There are lots of colours and varieties to choose from. White are generally the largest and most vigorous growing. You can choose from Pink, Yellow and Red with various colours in between. They are suitable for deep water as they get more established, planting depths vary for individual varieties. Generally start shallower, and move to deeper water as they mature.

If you only have a small pond there are smaller and pygmy lily varieties to choose from including Pygmaea Rubra, Helvola and Alba. These are very small lily but well suited to small ponds. Usually the best specimens are available for sale from the end of April.


Deep water plants

There are other deep water plants available that will help with surface cover for your pond. Aponogeton distachyos - Water Hawthorn is a popular choice. This has the more unusual oval shaped leaves and white flowers. Generally available from mid March right through to end of September. Maximum planting depth approx 1m.

Nuphar lutea - Brandy Bottle. Similar shaped leaves to a water lily, but normally quite a bit smaller. A British wild native plant with 2 to 4 cm round yellow blooms. Excellent surface cover. Suitable for ponds and lakes and slow flowing rivers in partial shade.

Nymphoides peltata - Fringed Water Lily, UK native deep water plant. Again this plant has similar shaped leaves to the water lily, but much smaller. Yellow buttercup like flower, with bright green foliage


Floating Plants

Of course you could choose from various traditional floating plants. These do not need planting and live on the surface of the pond. There are also lots of varieties available including Water Lettuce, Frog bit, Water Soldier, Water Chestnut and Salvinia. Floating plants can often be difficult to over winter in the UK, due to our weather. Water Soldier are clever plants and will pull themselves under the water surface to save themselves through the winter. Most other varieties will struggle with frosts. It is occasionally possible to save some in an green house or conservatory over winter.


Floating Plant Baskets

As a completely different option you could try floating plant baskets. These come in various sizes and you can add a selection of marginal plants of your choice. To create beautiful displays like floating plant islands, a mixture of trailing plants and grasses will look good together. These floating plant baskets are also good for ponds that do not have many marginal shelves. Also the fish cannot get into the pots and dig the plants out. We have some ready planted ones available or you can easily do your own.

Whatever you choose will be of great benefit to your pond and your fish. They improve the environment, help to reduce algae growth and give shelter to your fish.


We are always happy to help you with choosing the correct plants for your pond.


Call 01283 712924

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