Ponds and Streams - The Best Plants to Grow in your Garden
Plants are vital in establishing and maintaining a healthy, balanced ecosystem within ponds and streams. They contribute to water quality, provide habitat for aquatic life, and enhance the visual appeal of your water feature. Here are some tips for selecting and caring for plants suited for ponds and streams:
- Consider plant types: Aquatic plants can be categorized into four main groups: submerged, floating, marginal, and bog plants. Each group serves specific functions within the water feature, and a mix of these plants will help create a diverse, balanced ecosystem.
- Submerged plants: These plants grow entirely underwater, helping to oxygenate the water and remove excess nutrients. Examples include hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) and anacharis (Elodea canadensis).
- Floating plants: Floating plants, such as water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) and duckweed (Lemna spp.), provide shade and shelter for aquatic life while reducing algae growth by competing for nutrients and blocking sunlight.
- Marginal plants: Marginal plants grow in shallow water or along the pond/stream edges, providing structure, habitat, and visual interest. Examples include cattails (Typha spp.), pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata), and water iris (Iris spp.).
- Bog plants: Bog plants thrive in wet, marshy areas around ponds and streams, helping to filter runoff and prevent erosion. Examples include cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and marsh marigold (Caltha palustris).
- Choose native species: Select native aquatic plants that are well-adapted to your region’s climate and water conditions. Native plants generally require less maintenance and support local biodiversity.