Water Gardening

The Best Pond Plants For Small Ponds – Our favourite picks

Last updated on March 9th, 2022

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If you have a pond in your garden there are plenty of pond plants that you can grow right along the marshy perimeter to add vibrancy, structure, and varying heights. With each of these water-loving pond plants, you can mix and match accordingly to find what works best for you throughout the season.

Check out our article where we share some of our favourite floating pond plants here.

1. Nymphaea ‘Pygmaea Helvola’

These plants are easily grown in wet soil and small ponds and are actually miniature water lilies. They do best with full sun but will still produce showy yellow blooms if they only get a few hours of sunlight each day. The rhizomes for the plant are emerged and can be overwintered quite easily. Known for their spectacular flowers, these aquatic perennials are best known for their stunning water lily blooms. You can feed them over summer with a proprietary aquatic fertiliser to promote the best flowers.

2. Orontium aquaticum

At its full maturity, it will reach a height and spread just shy of one meter so it doesn't get too big and can be the perfect addition to any smaller but deeper ponds you might have but will do equally well in a larger pond.

As an emersed perennial pond plant, it is slightly larger, and a medium-sized plant. It grows out of rhizomes in shallow ponds up to 2ft deep and it is ideal as a margin plant and flowers between spring and summer. These flowers are small and grow on the top of a club-shaped stalk, however, they are short-lived and should be pruned once they fade. The leaves grow outside of the surface and float and are dark green and velvety. 

3. Ranunculus flammula

This pond perennial loves partial shade or sun and is a nitrate removing plant ideal for ponds and streams. It goes well in ponds or along shorelines. The plant won’t get higher than 10cm on average. During July and September, you can enjoy pretty yellow flowers. The blooms are solitary, yellow flowers that come out of each stalk and have yellow petals and stamens. Eventually, you will see hairless seeds too. The leaves themselves are upright and form in clusters. This is a good choice for attracting amphibians as well as bees and birds.

Read next: Best raised ponds for pond plants

4. Eichhornia crassipes – Water Hyacinth

This particular plant will grow in dense colonies and eventually block out sunlight. A common floating water plant, it is ornamental and great for adding texture and enjoyment to your pond life. 

5. Pistia stratiotes – Water Lettuce

The Water Lettuce forms floating mats, with long submerged roots. It grows well in ponds and lakes, taking on wedged and oval shapes it flowers from June to September. It will reach about 15cm in length. It is known to take over ponds and cover the entire surface in tropical countries so some control may be needed in warmer parts of the UK. However, in most parts of the UK because of the colder temperatures, this is usually not an issue. If it does spread out of control it can cause oxygen deprivation, so if you have fish in your pond, be mindful of this and control the Water Lettuce and its spread. 

6. Juncus spiralis – Corkscrew Rush

The Corkscrew Rush loves full sun or partial sun, with no more than up to 4 hours of full shade. It flowers during the spring and summer. At its full maturity, it spans a height and spread of about 30cm. When you grow this plant you can enjoy white flowers that compliment the dark green, spiralled foliage. Being a water plant, you don’t have to deadhead the flowers, which is an added bonus. Instead, you can sit back and watch the heat-tolerant plant fulfil its mounded shape. It prefers moist soil which is why it can be grown as a marginal pond plant in shallow water.

Now that you have reviewed all of our favourite options you know that there are plenty of pond plants to choose from for the small pond you have in your garden. Requiring very little maintenance, these water-loving plants will add extra beauty to your garden.

Looking for deepwater pond plants? – See our top recommended plants

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