These days you can easily find plenty of plants to beautify your garden pond. The variety of shapes and sizes available is ridiculously huge. When buying, try to think about the overall shape and form you wish to create in and around the water. Ideally have tall marginal plants around the back and sides, with perhaps a bog garden area for amphibians and other wildlife.


Small marginal plants look good at the front, with perhaps a lily and some oxygenating plants deeper under the water. Floating pond plants can also be a nice addition, but are generally hard to overwinter and are best treated as annuals.

If you are looking to stock up on koi pond plants, you will have to take a different tack and make allowances for the sheer size these fishes can attain, and their voracious appetites for everything leafy!

Bog Plants

These are the plants that really love soggy damp conditions, but don’t like their feet totally immersed as marginals do. They do best in a purpose built bog garden at the side of the pond. Hostas, Primulas, Gunneras and Lobelias are a good place to start looking.

Always take into account the indicated eventual size on the plants labels, and lay them out in their pots so you can space them pleasingly before planting. They grow very quickly, so though an area may look spartan at first, if you do overcrowd your plants, it will look very messy when grown.

Marginal Plants

The plants that blend and merge a well-crafted pond seamlessly into the garden at large, teamed with some thoughtful planting around a new garden pond. Some well-chosen and placed marginals and other small pond plants can quickly make a new pond look like it’s been there for years. It can look amazingly good!

They are generally planted in plastic crates or pond baskets, lined with hessian, and filled with special loam based pond plant compost. They are then topped off with a good 1” of large pea gravel to stop fish from disturbing the soil.

Place on the marginal shelves around your pond. You can mix and match irises, rushes and grasses at the back and sides, with marsh marigolds and forget-me-nots at the front. So many too choose from!

Oxygenating Plants

Not particularly famed for their beauty or form, but still oxygenating pond plants nevertheless, fill a crucial role in a healthy garden pond and should never be overlooked. Hornwort and Egeria are the most common and hardy, growing vigorously when established.

Best planted in a small crate or basket containing only gravel, soil may rot the stems. Space four bunches around a small basket and slowly immerse so that the top of the plant is visible. If you can’t see the plant, it’s not getting enough light!

You may need to periodically cull them in the summer; a third to half of the pond given to oxygenators is fine.

Water Lilies

Everyone is familiar with the beauty of the water lily. Not always the easiest plant to grow in the past, it is now getting easier due to much more rigorous varieties being produced. There are now very many hardy water lilies to choose from in an array of colors and petal shapes.

Some get huge and some are perfect even for small garden ponds. I strongly advise you check size before you buy! Also I would recommend investing in a good quality pond plant fertilizer, as they are hungry plants and will fade quickly if undernourished.

When transplanting to a larger basket, make sure the tuber is at the same depth to help avoid crown rot.