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The Best Plants for Water Gardens

flowers for water gardens
Water gardens are not just limited to plants that grow well when rooted underwater. You can also use floating flower pots to grow land varieties in your water feature.

A water garden can add a beautiful, tranquil element to your landscape. When you choose plants for any garden, you need to consider which USDA hardiness zone you’ll be planting it in. This holds true for water gardens. Whether you just have a tiny fountain water feature, or a full-size fish pond, the right plants will make it even more enjoyable.

It’s also important to check each plant you’re interested in to see if it is an invasive species, and what local restrictions there are on planting them. Never plant water plants in an uncontained pond or water feature.

There is a wide variety of ways to plant your water garden. These range from planting in the soil around the edge of a pond to planting land plants in floating pots. Water gardens can really be anything the gardener wants.

Container plants for water gardens

You can plant nearly all land plants in floating containers to give your water garden variety. You can use whatever plants you like in your water garden, although using natural submerged and floating plants will give your garden a more natural, exotic look.

Submerged and floating plants for water gardens

Submerged plants

Submerged plants are planted on the pond floor, but grow up over the surface of the water.

Cattail – Known for their tall, slender look and distinct brown, sausage-shaped blooms, cattails grow up to six feet tall. They grow well in full sun. The cattail is versatile–it can grow submerged or pond-side.

Parrot’s Feather  Parrot’s feather looks similar to evergreen branches from afar. It has yellow viney stems, and small, green, needle-like leaves. Parrot’s feather grows best in full sun and its stems can grow up to 5 feet long.

Floating plants

Floating plants are rooted in the pond floor, but float on the surface of the water.

Water Lily – Water lilies come in a wide variety of colors, but are most commonly bright pink. The water lily make a great focal point for water gardens. Along with the flowers, water lilies give a great cover of lily pads. The water lily requires a lot of fertilization.

Water Hyacinth – With gorgeous lavender flowers that are deep purple at the center and fade to white at the tips, water hyacinth also makes a fine centerpiece for your pond or garden. Water hyacinth grows in a variety of shade conditions, but grows best in full sun. They also require a lot of fertilization.

Lotus – Elegant, exotic, and classic. The lotus comes in many colors, and some types grow up to six feet tall. It grows best in full sun, and does require some fertilization.

Water Lettuce – Water lettuce has broad, green leaves that are great for filling a pond with a basic color. It grows best in full sun.

Pond-side plants for water gardens

There is a wide variety of plants that naturally occur around ponds and lakes that you can use to enhance the natural look of your water garden.

Cardinal Flower – The cardinal flower thrives in partial or full shade and is great for growing pond-side. It has striking deep red flowers and grows up to three feet tall.

Pitcher Plant – Pitcher plants have tube-shaped green leaves with red veins. They also eat insects and can grow up to eighteen inches tall. Pitcher plant grows best in full sunlight. It’s great for pond-side foliage and natural bug removal.

Kingcup Marsh Marigold – This pond-side plant has a bright yellow flower that will add a snap to water gardens and grows best in shade in hot climates. Full sun is ideal for cool climates.

Japanese Iris  Most Japanese irises have large, full, beautiful deep purple flowers accented with bright yellow centers. They grow up to three feet tall and add lovely color around your water garden. Japanese irises grow best in full sun.

For all of your garden supply needs, check out Blain’s Farm & Fleet’s Lawn & Garden Department. We have all the tips and knowledge you need for your water garden.


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