Aquatic plants usually become established in a pond without special effort, but some plants are less likely to become a nuisance for anglers or other pond uses. Introducing a variety of these plants can help you meet your pond management goals more quickly. A new pond is like a newly tilled field or garden, something will grow there with nutrients, light and seed. Shoreline species that grow above the water surface suggested for ponds include: arrowhead, pickerel weed, spike rush, sweet flag and water iris. Floating-leaved lilies can be a nice addition to ponds without extensive shallow areas. (Don’t confuse the preferred lily with lotus, which spreads aggressively and would not be a good choice for a pond.) Wild celery and water stargrass can add to the diversity of plants that grow completely under the water. Largeleaf and longleaf pondweed have both underwater and floating leaves. Avoid introducing milfoil (could be the invasive Eurasian milfoil), naiad (invasive brittle naiad), curly-leaf pondweed (invasive), cabomba (invasive submersed plant common in water gardens) and coontail (will colonize on its own).
|Spike Rush (E)
|Sweet Flag (E)
|Longleaf Pondweed (F+S)
||*Curlyleaf Pondweed (S)
|Largeleaf Pondweed (F+S)
|Wild Celery (S)
|Water Stargrass (S)
Growth form: Emergent (E), floating-leaved (F), submersed (S)
* Is itself an invasive species or closely related
Purchase aquatic plants from a local nursery or one in a climate zone similar to your pond’s location. A pond plant identification guide can help you identify the plants growing in your pond so you can properly manage them.
Introducing plants in new ponds is a little easier than in existing ponds that already have established plants. Remove the aquatic plants from an existing pond that are growing in the area where you will introduce new plants (see mechanical or chemical removal below). Protect your plantings behind a small, protective fence/cage until they become established to prevent them from being eaten by grass carp or common carp, muskrats, turtles, waterfowl or deer.
Plant 5-20 plants per area to increase plant establishment success. Shoreline plants do best when planted at the water’s edge or in very shallow water. These can be moved using small plugs from patches found growing within the pond. Floating-leaved and underwater species can be planted in water from 6 inches to 2-3 feet deep. There is no need to plant deeper than you can easily reach.