Thinking of adding some plants to your pond? The right pond plants can improve the water quality by removing contaminants, absorbing nutrients, and oxygenating the water. While plants help your pond look more aesthetic, they're actually essential for the ecosystem and make maintenance easier. There are many different pond plants, and some are better at filtering than others. Before you go plant shopping, learn more about the best pond plants that help filter pond water.
How Plants Filter Out Nutrients
Underneath the pond's surface, a lot is going on that many people aren't aware of. It's an entire ecosystem that, when balanced, efficiently breaks down the waste and debris that enter the water. Naturally occurring bacteria take the fish waste, leaves, and other debris that enter the water into nutrients that aquatic plants absorb along with any carbon dioxide in the pond and convert into oxygen.
Before adding plants to your pond, check and see what species are considered invasive and prohibited in your area. Some plants are not allowed because they quickly take over an area, hurting the native plant and animals who have to compete for resources. Always dispose of your aquatic plants properly, and do not relocate them into natural waterways like streams, lakes, or ponds.
Pond Plants that Help Filter Pond Water
Floating plants are quintessential, making a pond look like it belongs in a fairytale. In addition to being decorative, they help absorb nutrients and block sunlight from entering the pond. Algae need sunlight to bloom, and floating plants stop the algae from getting the sun they need. Floating plants help keep the pond water cooler by adding shade. They also help hide fish and other pond life from predators.
Best Floating Plants for Filtration:
- Water Hyacinth
- Water Lettuce
- Fairy Moss
- Floating Fern
Marginal (Emergent) Plants
Marginal plants are called "emergent" because they grow under the water's surface, but their leaves and flowers extend above the waterline. Passing water through the extensive root system of marginal plants absorbs the excess nutrients and nitrates that algae need to bloom. You can plant marginals along the pond's edge or in shallow plant baskets.
Best Marginal Plants for Filtration:
- Water Celery
- Water Iris (avoid invasive varieties)
- Watercress (can be planted in moving water like a watercourse or waterfall)
Submerged plants are great for oxygenating pond water in addition to absorbing nutrients. These plants root at the bottom of the pond and live nearly entirely underwater. Submerged plants absorb nutrients through their leaves rather than their roots, like marginal or floating plants.
Best Submerged Plants for Filtration:
Tip: Use our Plant Basket to make adding aquatic plants a breeze
Plants help a pond look more natural and organic, as if it magically appeared one day instead of being human-made. Aquatic plants play an essential role in keeping a pond's ecosystem balanced. Plants help absorb nutrients in the pond that can lead to water quality issues like algae blooms. Aquatic plants are categorized by how they grow, whether they float on the surface, live entirely underwater, or have flowers and leaves that extend above the water. Some pond plants are better at filtration than others. As you plan out your pond greenery, think about what pond plants will help keep your water clear in addition to being decorative.
Always check your local list of invasive plant species before introducing new plants to your pond.