Last updated on March 9th, 2022
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If you have a pond in your garden you, of course, want it to remain clean and healthy, the perfect environment for whatever else you want to be cultivated therein. It is also beneficial and provides a safe habitat for fish, frogs newts and insects. Thankfully there are some excellent oxygenating plants for small wildlife ponds that will keep your water oxygenated and clean.
Below you will find a list of the best pond plants for oxygenating, so you can choose from a handful of different varieties in order to find one of the best compliments that you have already.
1. Ceratophyllum demersum – Hornwort
A winter-hardy plant, this helps to protect fish in your pond and starves algae concurrently. It releases a hormone responsible for inhibiting algae growth and adds oxygen. With full sunlight, it will grow best, although it can thrive in shade as well. When planted underwater, this form of oxygenating grass will clarify the water, provide a sanctuary for your fish, and grow quickly with long, branching stems.
2. Fontinalis antipyretica – Water Moss
Part of the moss family, this underwater plant will attach itself to things in your pond like logs or rocks. Dark green in colour, the leaves take on a pointed, overlapping arrangement up the entire stem. At full maturity, the stems get between 20cm and 60cm in length. There are no flowers or fruit, but the rootlets will attach to whatever is present in your pond and slowly improve oxygen conditions and provide cover for small fish.
3. Isolepis cernua – Slender Club Rush
This is an evergreen plant known for its dramatic foliage that can be planted as a marginal pond plant in shallow water or bog gardens. It can also be found in the form of a short-lived perennial herb. In addition to the showy foliage are the small, cream-white floral displays that dot the foliage, which helps to oxygenate the pond water. At full maturity, it will span about 30cm in height and 20cm spread. It grows best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade as well. You can prune and tidy it in the autumn but avoid cutting back the foliage completely over winter.
4. Myriophyllum spicatum – Spiked Milfoil
The Spiked Milfoil is an aquatic plant that thrives in a submerged pond with around 3ft of water. It can take over the surface of the pond so it is important to keep its growth in check, ideally to less than 30% of the volume of the pond, then you can simply thin out older stems. As a perennial pond plant, the leafy shoots span between 50cm and 250cm but end up naked underneath the surface of the pond as a result of older leaf decay. Flowers grow in whorls, emerging slightly above the surface.
5. Potamogeton crispus – Curled Pondweed
The curled pondweed is a productive pond plant that will grow primarily below the surface. Not only will it add oxygen to your pond but it will thrive throughout the year, even in the colder weather, making it perfect for the UK climate. It establishes itself early in spring, dies back at the start of summer, and lies dormant until temperatures improve. As it dies back in summer it starts to decay some organic material, which releases more nutrients into the pond water and stimulates algal blooms, eventually helping to control the oxygen in your pond. It grows no more than 1m in full length with dark green leaves and tiny four-petaled flowers that give way to small, single-seeded fruit.
6. Ranunculus aquatilis – Water Crowfoot
This species of aquatic plants grow in mats and you will find it along the surface of your pond. The underwater leaves branch out like threads and at the surface grow in toothed floaters. You can enjoy white and yellow flowers, with white petals and yellow in the centre. These grow about 1-2cm above the surface of the pond, supported by the floater leaves.
7. Rorippa Nasturtium-Aquaticum – Water Cress
This aquatic plant is a perennial herb that grows very quickly and will grow in full sun to shade and flowers from May to August. It floats or grows prostate in the mud in shallow water. The stems are hollow and succulent and they will branch prolifically. You get flowers in the spring to add to the beauty of your oxygenating plants. These flowers grow in terminal clusters of white. They are small and from them are fruits that curve upwards. At its full maturity, it spans upwards of 50-200cm in width so it should be controlled to the place you allocate for it. Also perfect for attracting bees, butterflies, hoverflies and of course amphibians such as frogs.
With any of these great additions to your wildlife pond, you will be able to add oxygen to your water and keep it clean and healthy for those who stop by for a drink. Remember that you can mix and match these different plants as you see fit or rotate them out every few seasons after one another if you want to play around with the different options before you.