Different Types of Plants for a Water Garden

Different Types of Plants for a Water Garden

Three different types of plants for a water garden. The three that are most common in ponds and water gardens.  Overview of the different groups.

1.) Free Floating Plants

Free floating plants are the most common addition to ponds and water gardens. The plants provide surface cover shade for a pond that provides a place for fish to escape the midday sun

They are used to enhance the look of the surface of the pond.   The plants should cover no more than 40%-50% of the surface of the water. 

Free floating and do not need to be anchored in soil, they absorb everything they need to live off directly from the water. Floaters are sometimes prolific multipliers, so they may need to be thinned out on occasion.

If you are interested in looking into some free floating plants research parrots feather, frogbit , water lettuce, red stemmed parrots feather, water hyacinth , shell flower and sensitive plant.

Marginal Plants

Marginal plants typically float above the water, but their roots are usually anchored in heavy clay loam. Plants are planted in fabric pond pots or plastic, no hole containers.

Some choices you might want to look into are lotus, water plantain, variegated sweet flag, canna, blue pickerel and blog lily.

3.) Submerged Plants

Submerged plants are generally located almost totally underneath the water, and aren’t very visible from the surface.

Underwater plants reduce algae by consuming the nutrients the algae needs to grow. Their main job is as oxygenators, supporting fish and other animals.

Plants can be potted in gravel, because they don’t use their roots to collect nutrients.

The type of plants you choose will depend on what you want your pond to look like. Excellent plants to research are cabomba, hornwart, jungle val, and red ludwegia


This gives you a basic overview of where to start looking for your plants. Knowing that there are three groups of plants to choose from free floating plants, marginal and submerged plants will give you a starting point to aid you in your search.  If you want additional information, you can read my article titled introduction to water gardening.

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