A garden pond is extremely decorative, helps to relax in the garden even more, is fun, can be used for splashing around or to wet the sandpit – the pond brings its own benefits to every member of the family. But pond plants? They must be comfortable in a pond with fish, although some future pond owners are not quite sure whether they want to add gardening under water to their gardening above ground. Read here why garden pond plants are definitely an asset for your garden and that the care of these pond plants will not escalate into unreasonable work if you choose the right one.

Design pond or ecosystem natural pond

Which pond plants you settle in your garden pond initially depends on the type of pond you have decided on. A naturally formed garden pond, which should form its own biotope, must be filled with a wide variety of garden pond plants, each of which fulfills specific functions. The pond plants for the different pond zones will be introduced to you. A formal garden pond, on the other hand, can be stocked with pond plants that do little more than look pretty and, best of all, regenerate with almost no human intervention. Such aquatic plants are also presented below:

The most striking plants are on the shore

Because it is of course the plants on the bank that catch the eye first, because they optically take up the greatest heights. Theoretically, you can design a pond edge as you like, with all sorts of cultivated plants, including herbs or vegetables that are not usually found near water in nature.

This can look very nice in a natural garden that is deliberately planned to be a little “wild”. There are already certain traditions for “unrelated” planting of riparian zones, such as e.g. B. In the Japanese garden, the Japanese Norway maple likes to find its place at the edge of the Koi pond or artificial stream. However, if you want to create a pondside zone worthy of the name, you will use plants typically found on pondsides. Here is a list of “typical shore plants”:

  • Brown sedge (Carex nigra): Sourgrass species that grows on wet banks.
  • Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria): Rose plant that grows on nutrient-rich moist soil.
  • Buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata): Beautiful flowers, bee pasture, prevents rot with its high tannin content.
  • Cabbage Thistle (Cirsium oleraceum): Non-stinging species of thistle, of great value as a source of nectar and pollen.
  • Cuckoo campion (Lychnis flos-cuculi): Moisture-loving carnation plant with bright red flowers.
  • Sheath Cotton Grass (Eriophorum vaginatum): Does not form runners, but grows clump-like.
  • Snake knotweed (Bistorta officinalis): The variety of the well-known “architect’s consolation” that likes to dig in the damp.
  • Narrow-leaved Cotton Grass (Eriophorum angustifolium): Self-expanding, forms white tuft of wool that looks like a cotton ball.
  • Marsh Bloodeye (Potentilla palustris): An endangered, moist soil-loving rose of unique beauty.
  • Marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris): Also in cultivars with double or white flowers.
  • Marsh irises (Iris pseudacorus): Popular ornamental plant for the edge of the pond, also in cultivated varieties with variegated leaves or double flowers
  • Marsh violet (Viola palustris): Tender and rare plants for the riparian zone of the garden pond, with medicinal benefits.
  • Marsh Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis scorpioides): Enchanting, flowers from May to September, easy to grow at the wet edge of the pond.
  • Black alder (Alnus glutinosa): The tree for the edge of the pond.

The most important pond plants

The most important pond plants are the underwater plants, parts of which you may be able to see on the water surface. However, their main effect is limited to giving the pond a rich underground play of colors that only shimmers through to the water surface.

From a biological point of view, however, they are very important for the pond in several respects. They process excess nutrients from the water and soil. In doing so, they compete with the algae, which prevents them from multiplying excessively and clouding the water. They release oxygen to the water, even at depth, near the bottom. This is an important basis for animals to be able to live in the pond.

Occasionally they also save the life of the animals in the pond. Insect larvae, newts, tadpoles and small fish need dense vegetation in the pond to hide from predators (larger fish, birds, cats). Known oxygen plants for the pond are:

  • Glossy Pondweed or Reflecting Pondweed (Potamogeton lucens): Grows flooding, but roots under water, persistent and very decorative.
  • Spring moss (Fontinalis antipyretica): Willing to grow, forms underwater carpets, brings oxygen into the pond and prevents excessive algae growth.
  • Dense-leaved waterweed (Egeria densa or Elodea densa): ensures good water quality and oxygen, slows down algae, very attractive.

Pond plants for the different zones

The deep-water plants are placed in the deepest pond zone, e.g. B. the yellow water lily ( Nuphar lutea), the sea jug (Nymphoides peltata), water pen (Hottonia palustris), crab claw (Stratiotes aloides), water chestnut (Trapa natans) and floating pondweed (Potamogeton natans). These plants form at the same time the rooting types of floating plants.

Plants that like to stand in water, but stretch their leaves and flowers out of the water, grow in the marshy zone of the pond.

  • Frogspoon (Alisma)
  • Buttercup family such as Burning buttercup (Ranunculus flammula), water buttercup (Ranunculus aquatilis) and tongue buttercup (Ranunculus lingua)
  • Herzlöffel (Caldesia)
  • Hedgehog (Baldellia)
  • Kalmus (Acorus)
  • Pfeilkräuter (Sagittaria)
  • Tannenwedel (Hippuris vulgaris)
  • Trollblumen (Trollius)
  • Swan Flowers (Butomus)
  • Mock Callas (Lysichiton)

Incidentally, caution is advised with cattails (Typha) and the various types of reed. They only belong in really large ponds because they spread unintentionally with their far-reaching, strong root system, even through pond liners and plant containers.

Then there are the floating plants. The plants with floating leaves, some of which have roots in the ground and some simply float on the surface of the pond. Their leaves shade the water, provide hiding places and cover from above for animals in the pond, and platforms for animals outside the pond to rest, drink or lay their eggs. Some rooting species have just been listed under deep-water plants, floating freely, e.g. B. frog bite (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae), horn leaf (Ceratophyllum), water hyacinth (Eichhornia), duckweed (Lemna, Spirodela, Wolffia) and water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes).

Planting and caring for pond plants

When planting a pond, there is a certain logical order.

First, the rooting pond plants are brought in. Directly in the bottom of the pond or in plant baskets that you can put in the pond and easily move or remove. Before planting, the aquatic plant baskets are filled with ready-made substrate or self-mixed soil (sand, peat substitute, garden soil that is not too nutrient-rich, loam). The pond floor is prepared for planting with several layers. At least 10 cm of drainage layer and at least 25 cm of soil covered with river gravel after planting.

The best time to plant pond plants is spring, and you can still plant into early summer (beginning of July). You must not start too early. Most pond plants are quite sensitive to cold.

Start at the deepest part of the pond with the largest plants. Then the remaining plants are used all around. Measure the planting depth specified for the individual plants by determining the distance from the water surface to the surface of the plant container or the bottom of the pond. Planting distances are also indicated on the labels. You should also take note of these. The different zones are gradually planted. Only the deep water zone below 40 cm. Then the shallow water zone between 10 and 40 cm. Then the swamp zone from 10 cm deep to the shore and finally the wet shore zone. Pauses are always appropriate. The underwater plants and floating plants only come into the pond when the rooting pond plants have acclimatized well.

When the pond is planted, gradually let the water in. In the first step, just enough to just cover the new plantings. Then every day a little more refilled. In this way, the plants do not get a cold shock and any hardness of the tap water is quickly broken down, the water becomes more compatible with the plants. If you want to insert newly planted baskets into the already filled pond, insert them in a similarly careful and gradual manner. First to just under the water surface (put stones underneath), then a little deeper every day until you are in the intended place. In this case, too, the plants should slowly get used to the new environment.

This considered and gradual planting was actually the most important care that you have to give your pond plants. Ongoing care essentially consists of removing dead plant matter from time to time and making sure that the water level in the pond does not drop too much, in which case water has to be refilled.

Most pond plants are not fertilized. With the few exceptions, you will receive precise information upon purchase.

Pond plants are not actually pruned either. Anything that grows too luxuriantly can be trimmed with scissors in the spring. If you have an excess of floating plants, you can simply fish off a few. Simply tear out rampant underwater plants.

Pond plants overwinter

The usual pond plants are hardy with us, you will be informed about the exceptions when you buy them, water hyacinths overwinter e.g. B. best in shallow bowls. Some pond plants, such as waterweed, form winter buds in autumn, from which they sprout again in spring. In mild winters, however, the whole plant sometimes hibernates. Some of the free-floating plants, such as crab claws, sink to the bottom in autumn and also form winter buds. They reappear on their own in the spring. Because of these winter buds, you should no longer transplant pond plants after August. They are now already in the middle of producing winter buds and would no longer take root.

If pond plants such as water chestnuts have not survived the winter, it is probably because you have purchased an Asian import that does not always prove to be hardy. Tropical species of some pond plants are also sold, which will then also hardly survive the winter in the pond.

Shaping element in the garden

If you decide to create a garden pond, this pond becomes part of your landscaped garden. It should blend in harmoniously with the rest of the design. As a rule, this means that some plants can be found in this garden pond. The romantic, overgrown garden pond becomes the epitome and center of your romantic garden thanks to the water lilies floating on the water. The varied children’s discovery garden naturally surprises with a fountain. And the garden, which strives for ecological naturalness, naturally comes up with a pond in which a few fish cavort between the reed plants.

The garden pond brings a whole new scope for design. When the pond plants have been selected and created, you can start creating water features or a fountain. If the “work above ground” is more than enough for you, you also have the option of selecting your garden pond plants in such a way that they actually “care for themselves”.

You will notice how important a pond with a variety of pond plants is because a beautiful garden pond actually always develops into a focal point of the garden. It is better to set up the seating group with a view of the pond, otherwise it will not be long before the table and garden chairs leave their previous location and move closer to the garden pond.

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