Native plants for the wildlife pond

You need three different types of plant in any pool:

Submerged and floating plants to serve as oxygenators

Essential to a healthy pond because they supply the oxygen that pond animals need and use up dissolved nutrients.

Submerged plants with floating leaves

You should have enough to cover about half the surface of the pond, to avoid problems with excessive algal growth. Water lilies come in a wide range of colours and sizes and are valuable for this purpose as well as being decorative. Native species are too vigorous for any but large ponds. The table lists other suitable native plants.

Marginal plants, in shallow water at the pond edge

They contribute shade and cover for animals and make up much of pond's visual appeal. They are also used by creatures such as dragonfly nymphs to crawl up out of the water to pupate.

Depth (cm) Height (cm) Flower time Flower colour
Shallow-water marginal plants
Sweet flag Acorus calamus 5-10 60 -
Flowering rush Butomus umbellatus 7-20 75 6-7 pink
Bog arum Calla palustris 5-15 15 6-7 white
Marsh marigold Caltha palustris 5-15 45 3-4 yellow
*Bog bean Menyanthes trifoliata 5-30 30 4-5 pink
*Lesser spearwort Ranunculus flammula 5-20 25 6-9 yellow
*Brooklime Veronica beccabunga 0-15 25 6-8 blue
Submerged plants
*Water violet Hottonia palustris 90 15 5-6 lilac
Fringed water-lily Nymphoides peltata 25-50 - 6-8 yellow
Floating pondweed Potamogeton natans 5-8 green
* These are vigorous plants: use with care in a small pond!
Floating plants/oxygenators
Water starwort Callitriche autumnalis
Hornwort Ceratophyllum demersum
Frogbit Hydrocharis morsus-ranae
Water milfoil Myriophyllum spicatum
Curly pondweed Potamogeton crispus
Native plants to avoid unless you enjoy clearing the pond!
Water plantain Alisma plantago
Sweet grass Glyceria spp
Yellow flag Iris pseudacorus
Duckweed Lemna minor
Water mint Mentha aquatica
Water forget-me-not Myosotis scorpioides
Water crowfoot Ranunculus aquatilis
Greater spearwort Ranunculus lingua
Arrowhead Sagittaria sagittifolia
Branched burr-reed Sparganium erectum
Reedmace Typha angustifolia/latifolia