How to choose Pond plants in your garden ponds landscaping
Pond plants As well as enhancing the look of a pond, pond plants help to maintain water
quality, providing a healthy environment for the fish.The choice of
plants will partly depend on the style of pond—a naturalistic pond
looks best when heavily planted around the edges so that it blends
seamlessly into its environment, while a contemporary look may be
best achieved with more minimalist planting.
A well-balanced, healthy koi pond must contain two types of
plant: oxygenators (see pp.370–1), which release oxygen into
the water, and floating plants (see pp.372–3), which provide
shelter from sunlight.Without these, or an efficient filtration
system, the water in the koi pond can become overgrown with
algae, which not only turns the water green, but can also
affect the health of some fish species, such as Sterlets (see
p.359). Plants in the body of the pond also absorb nitrate—
the product of the breakdown of fish waste—which
lessens the burden on the filtration system.
Incorporating plants into a koi pond is not
Incorporating plants into a koi pond is not straightforward,
partly because of the depth of water, and also because koi
have a habit of digging up plants and browsing on the growing
shoots. Most koi ponds, therefore, simply incorporate a few
tall marginals, and perhaps some water lilies, whose leaves
help to protect the fish from sunburn in the clear water.
In a new pond, wait several days after filling before putting
the plants in place, to allow the water temperature to rise
to that of the environment. Pot plants as necessary (see
opposite), having first inspected them closely for any signs
of disease or pests. In temperate areas, spring is the best time
to introduce new pond plants into an existing pond, because aquatic
plants start to grow rapidly at this time. If the pond is large,
you may need waders to put plants in place, and special
pond gloves should always be worn.These reach up to
your shoulders and provide protection against waterborne
diseases, such as Weil’s disease (see p.323)—a potentially
serious condition, spread by rodents, which causes jaundice.
TYPES OF POND PLANTS
Plants for the pond can be
divided into four categories, based
on their growing habits and where
in the pond they are to be found.
Oxygenating pond plants, water lilies,
and floating pond plants are truly
aquatic, growing in or under
the water. Marginal plants are
a useful addition to the pond,
not only as a decorative element,
but also to provide an excellent
habitat for insects.
The plants in and around a pond have a great effect on the overall
impression created. Traditional, formal ponds often incorporate lowgrowing
plants, such as water lilies, which do not mask the crisp, neat
edges of the pond. Small ponds often benefit from the inclusion of
taller, more architectural plants, such as reeds and grasses, which lift
the eye, making the pond appear larger.
Three varieties of water lily (Nymphaea ‘Escarboucle’, ‘William Falconer’, and
‘Marliacea Albida’) adorn this large, formal pond, which is bordered by the tall,
elegant spikes of Iris laevigata ‘Variegata’, Canna flaccida, and Schoenoplectus
lacustris. Myriophyllum verticillatum covers one corner of the pond.
The vertical emphasis of the planting in this courtyard pond, achieved
through the use of tall marginals, such as irises and rushes, enhances the
geometric lines of this modern style, while a single water lily (Nymphaea
‘Gladstoneana’) softens the look and provides cover for the fish.
Edging around a pond strengthens its perimeter and helps to
disguise the edge of the pond liner. It can also prolong the life
of the liner by shielding it from sunlight. Hard construction
materials, such as paving slabs or bricks, laid around the edge
of a pond give a more formal look, while natural stone or sod
are ideal for a more informal pond. Another possibility is a
wooden deck raised above water level, but the wood must
first be treated with a nontoxic preservative to keep it from
warping or rotting.
Consider the access to the pond: if this is across a lawn,
regular foot traffic can quickly result in an unsightly muddy
trail. If you do not want to construct a path, set paving slabs
into the grass as an informal solution.
The planting and landscaping around the pond can be used
to disguise pond equipment. An external filter, for example,
can be hidden in vegetation in a flowerbed, although it must
still be easily accessible for routine maintenance and servicing.
A fountain is an attractive addition to any pond, and also
creates a healthier environment for the fish by improving
the water’s oxygen content.Water lilies
prefer calm water, however, and will not
thrive under the jet of a fountain, so
they need to be located at the opposite
end of the pond.Water currents created
by the fountain can waft floating plants
to one side of the pond; before adding
plants, test the flow by floating a light
plastic ball on the surface of the water
while the koi pond fountain is operating. If the
ball drifts away from where you want
the plants to be, adjust the positioning
of the fountain.
Oriental-style koi ponds often incorporate bridges and decorative
features of Japanese life, such as bonsai trees and this popular style
of bamboo water fountain (left). Japanese maples create a striking
backdrop to the pond, and can be grown in pots or in the ground.
Reference from Encyclopedia of Aquarium and Pond Fish D Aldeton DK 2008