If you have a water feature such as a pond or lake in your backyard, or if you’re thinking about creating one, you’ll need to add some personality and life by adding some water plants. Plants transform any water feature into a true water garden, inviting wildlife and insects to interact with the mini ecosystem that you’ve created. Here are three types of plants that you should consider adding to your own private water garden.
- Floating Plants
New ponds always benefit from the addition of floating plants. They provide quick access to shade and cover for fish during the time that the more permanent plantings need to establish themselves. Floating plants require no soil or planting so dangling roots will immediately compete with algae for nutrients, taking all the nutrients they require directly from the water, but you should remember to install a proper system for lake aeration for additional algae protection. As an added bonus, fish love to graze on the roots of these plants, searching through them for delicious insects.
- Marginal Plants
Marginal plants, like plants from the Colocasia and Cyperus groups, provide shape and texture to any backyard lake or pond. They are plants that you should install along the edges, or margins, of your water garden. Even though they don’t produce colorful flowers, they add the dimension of height. They are shallow-rooted and prefer wide containers in order to healthily grow, but you could also plant this group directly on the bottom of your water feature. Like floating plants, these marginal plants also remove elements that promote the growth of algae, and they serve as cover for the wildlife that you’ve placed into the water.
- Creeping Plants
Creeping plants and ground cover make a good base for growing more upright plants. They’re also good for planting in the crevices of rocks. Creeping plants can disguise containers and create a natural-looking environment around the edges of your water garden. A great example is the giant water-sensitive fern Aeschynomenefluitans. Its foliage is sensitive, but adds greenery, texture and visual interest to your water garden.
Since your backyard water features forms its own ecosystem, it’s important to choose the right plants that will keep everything properly balanced. Do your research before you place plants in your water feature and you’ll ensure that your pond remains healthy and vibrant, providing you with relaxing beauty for years to come.