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Water plant information taken from the BBC web site.

Water plants are a must when you have a pond. As well as looking beautiful, they will help your pond to blend in with the rest of the garden. They also provide breeding places for water wildlife, such as dragonflies and fish. By shading the water they help to control the temperature. Their roots absorb nutrients that might otherwise foul the water, and submerged oxygenating plants are the ponds very own ‘air conditioners’.

Types of water plant

    * Submerged aquatics live completely under water. They are the oxygenating plants you often see releasing streams of air bubbles in sunlight. Some types are more efficient oxygenators than others.

    * Deep-water aquatics have their roots in water that is 45cm (18in) or more in depth. Their leaves stand out above the water or float on the surface.

    * Marginal plants grow in the shallow water around the edge of a pond in planting baskets standing submerged in water.

    * Free-floating plants drift about on the surface of the pond with their roots dangling in the water.

Top ten water plants

Choose a mixture of plants for seasonal flowers and structural shapes, which also benefit the pond ecosystem.

Latin name: Nymphaea ‘Marliacea Chromatella’

Common name: Water lily

Type of plant: Deep water aquatic

Planting depth: Crown must be under 22cm to 30cm (9in-12in) of water

Hardiness: Hardy

Flower colour: Golden yellow

Height and spread: Spreads to 1.2m (4ft)

Description: Attractively marbled leaves

Tips: Needs at least six hours of sun a day to flower well. The leaves create shade in the water and help control temperature. They also hide fish from predators. The roots remove excess nutrients from water. This plant doesn’t like moving water so don't grow it near a fountain or waterfall.           Nymphaea ‘Marliacea Chromatella’, Water lily

Latin name: Cotula coronopifolia

Common name: Golden buttons

Type of plant: Annual marginal pond plant

Planting depth: Up to 15cm (6in) of water over top of planting basket

Hardiness: Killed by frost

Flower colour: Yellow

Height and spread:15cm (6in) high x 30cm (12in) spread

Description: South African plant with daisy-like button flowers for most of the summer.

Tips: Good for creating a colourful pond edge all summer, self-seeds for a natural effect.     Cotula coronopifolia

Latin name: Aponoge distachysos

Common name: Water hawthorn

Type of plant: Deep water aquatic

Planting depth: 30cm (12in)

Hardiness: Fairly hardy

Flower colour: White

Height and spread:1.2m x 1.2m (4ft x 4ft)

Description: Elongated, floating leaves, with white boat-shaped flowers all summer and autumn.

Tips: Use as an alternative to water lilies in a small pond or moving water, such as by a waterfall or fountain.    Aponogeton distachyos

Latin name: Lagarosiphon major

Common name: Pondweed

Type of plant: Submerged oxygenating plant

Planting depth: 25cm (10in) to 75cm (30in)

Hardiness: Hardy

Flower colour: No flowers

Height and spread: 2m to 3m (6ft to 9.8ft) widespreading strands outlined with short, curly leaves

Tips: Plant one bunch for about every square metre of surface area to ensure good water oxygenation. Thin out excess growth regularly in the summer to prevent it swamping the pond. Brilliant oxygenator, and being evergreen it also works in winter. The stems hide baby fish from predators.     Lagarosiphon major, Pondweed

Latin name: Stratiotes aloides

Common name: Water soldier

Type of plant: Free-floating aquatic

Hardiness: Hardy

Flower colour: White but rarely flowers

Height and spread: 30cm x 30cm (1ft x 1ft)

Description: Spiky, pineapple-shaped plant bobbing about in the water. Makes a good contrast to saucer-shaped water lilies, the linear stems of irises and other marginal plants.

Tips: Be prepared to thin out excess growth to prevent it swamping the pond. Removes excess nutrients from pond water.           Stratiotes aloides


Latin name: Caltha palustris

Common name: Kingcup or marsh marigold

Type of plant: Marginal and bog plant

Hardiness: Hardy

Flower colour: Yellow

Height and spread: 25cm x 45cm (10in x 18in)

Description: Chunky British native plant with giant buttercup-like flowers.

Tips: Cut foliage down in summer if it looks scruffy, to encourage a neat new batch to set off summer-flowering marginals.

Latin name: Iris laevigata

Common name: Water iris

Type of plant: Marginal

Hardiness: Hardy

Flower colour: Purple

Height and spread: 80cm x 30cm (32in x 1ft)

Description: Architectural plants with fan-like foliage and spectacular, large, typical iris-shaped flowers produced in early summer.

Tips: Use where the foliage contrasts with bushier waterside plants as the flowering season is short.

Latin name: Lobelia 'Queen Victoria'

Common name: Lobelia

Type of plant: Short-lived marginal

Hardiness: Half hardy

Flower colour: Red

Height and spread: 90cm x 30cm (3ft x 1ft)

Description: Unlike bedding lobelias, it is a tall, upright perennial with purple-red leaves and red flowers.

Tips: A real eye-catcher deserving pride of place in your planting scheme, where its bold colours are set off by plenty of green foliage.

Latin name: Typha minima

Common name: Bulrush

Type of plant: Marginal

Hardiness: Hardy

Flower colour: Brown

Height and spread: 75cm x 45cm (30in x 18in)

Description: Miniature bulrush, with narrow reed-like foliage and short, stumpy brown heads in summer.

Tips: Leave plants standing as late as possible in autumn and winter for the shapes and bulrush seed-heads.

Latin name: Zantedeschia aethiopica 'Crowborough'

Common name: Arum lily

Type of plant: Marginal

Hardiness: Half hardy

Flower colour: White

Height and spread: 90cm x 60cm (3ft x 2ft)

Description: Architectural plants with large, arrow-shaped foliage and big white arum flowers in mid-summer.

Tips: Stand pots in deeper water than is usual for marginal plants. The layer of water insulates the roots in winter, protecting them from cold.