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Plants for a small wildlife pond

LastboatLastboat Posts: 61
I know there’s lots of posts on small wildlife ponds but I’ve sent myself in circles trying to read and digest them all so I thought I’d get straight to the point!

I’ve just dug out and created a small wildlife pond in my small garden. Now that it’s a few days later and I can move my achy limbs again, I’m trying to work out what plants to put in. I’ve done lots of reading and basically want everything!!! So I’m hoping that you knowledgeable folk can reign me in and help fine tune my selection. 

Heres the pond:
It’s about 1.3 x 1.5m with a depth ranging from 15-50cm. 

I’ve added Frogbit and have some Hornwort and a small water lily on the way. I also already own a Kaffir Lily, which I will add to the edges. 

Here’s my wish list - which would you recommend? Could I fit them all in?! Which would you leave out? Much gratitude for any advice! 😘:

Pond zonePlant nameLatin nameNotesStatus
SubmergedHornwortCeratophyllum Demersum Ordered
SubmergedWater violetHottonia palustris"don’t plant in summer" 
SubmergedSpiked MilfoilMyriophyllum spicatum  
SubmergedMarestailHippuris vulgaris Recommended
FloatingDwarf water lilyNymohaea 'Paul Hariot' Ordered
FloatingFrogbitHydrocharis morsus-ranae Ordered
FloatingWater hawthornAponogeton distachyos  
FloatingWater soldierStratiotes aloides Recommended
MarginalMarsh marigoldCaltha palustris  
MarginalKaffir lilySchizostylis coccinea Already own
MarginalWater mintMentha aquatica Recommended
MarginalWater forget me not Myosotis scorpioides  
MarginalPickerel weedPontederia  Recommended
MarginalCreeping JennyLysimachia nummularia  
MarginalLesser water plantainBaldellia ranunculoides  
MarginalBrooklimeVeronica beccabunga Recommended
MarginalReed of some sort!   


  • LastboatLastboat Posts: 61
    Argh!! The formatting went awry. Here’s a more palatable list:

    Hornwort, Water violet, Spiked Milfoil, Marestail, Dwarf water lily, Frogbit, Water hawthorn, Water soldier, Marsh marigold, Kaffir lily, Water mint, Water forget me not, Pickerel weed, Creeping Jenny, Lesser water plantain, Brooklime, Small reed of some sort! Thanks...
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,244
    That's a lot of plants for a small pond.
    I started my similar sized wildlife pond 3 years ago.
    I put in 1 brooklime which has spread around most of the pond and is also rooting in the surrounding soil. I have to cut it back regularly as it grows quickly.
    Hornwort is very good and well behaved.
    Water mint also spreads quickly as does water forget-me-not
    I put in 4 fibre-optic plants (scirpus) last year and they're doing well too.
    I also tried water violet last year which started off well, then pigeons ate all of it!
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,429
    edited July 2019
    Quote....."I also already own a Kaffir Lily, which I will add to the edges. "

    Hesperanthera.....Kaffir lily..don't want to be in standing water.

    Too many plants on your list for such a tiny pond.
    But well done for starting it...wildlife will soon find it and love it.

    Do I see a water fountain?...waterlilies hate them.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,027
    I'd agree - too many  :D
    Easy to get carried away when you start, but as with small gardens generally, each plant has to earn it's keep, so go through your list, and see which plants will offer best value in their space.
    My pond is tiny too, and I have a few marginals [white marsh marigold, spiral rush] and a vertical [equisetum] water hawthorn, plus other  assorted planting next to it, including some Ajuga which spreads into the shallow areas. 

    I'd agree with Pete re the mint and forget me not, but marsh marigolds are very useful - they  can be used outside the pond as well as in the marginals, are pretty much evergreen [ and trouble free]  and therefore provide cover for wildlife, and work hard.
    A single vertical would be fine, so maybe choose between the horsetail and the reed. 
    Nothing to stop you having plenty of variety around the outside of the pond though - but you may want to remove another bit of turf to give you scope for extra planting. It all provides great cover and interest.
    Perhaps a few more pots on that paved area too. Lots of plants would be happy there, like grasses or hostas, and they will hang over the pond edges which softens edges and gives interest and cover.  :)

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,244
    I often read that water lilies and water falls don't go together, but I've had both in my koi pond for best part of 30 years - as you can see the lily is thriving along side the waterfall @ around 5000L/hr.

    and here's my little wildlife pond that's in it's 3rd year

    You can see the pot with the remains of the water violet - and it was doing so well until pigeons got a taste for it!
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,429
    Pete 8.
    Waterlilies and waterfalls are fine...helps to aerate the water.
    It is fountains which constantly splash leaves that is a no no for water lilies.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • LastboatLastboat Posts: 61
    edited July 2019
    Hee hee! Thanks for the reality check! I didn’t reeeeeeally intend getting all of the plants... 🙄😂

    Wow @Pete.8 what incredible ponds! Gorgeous planting. Thanks for the photos and advice.

    Actually, I have purchased a selection of the plants from my list (but not all of them!) with the idea of using any “spares” in container ponds elsewhere in the garden. Plus, I have some liner left over, so you never know...

    @Fairygirl I can’t take any more turf up as there is seating close by and the OH wants enough space to get the lawnmower past - see photo below! I agree it’s all a bit of a squash but it’s taken over a year to get OH to agree to me removing this much of his precious lawn! Bit by bit...

    I probably will add a few pots at the back but there is plenty of cover provided by the border at the back, plus there’s a big hole on the fence and tons of dense greenery on the other side. 

    @Silver surfer  The Kaffir Lily was given to me by a friend who grows it in/around her pond and Watersidenursery also recommends it as a marginal plant but I’ll bear the RHS advice in mind - thanks. Oh and I’ll move the solar fountain to one of the container ponds away from the water lily. I read that waterlilies breathe through their leaves so fountains splashing their leaves are the equivalent of having a constantly blocked nose! 

    Anyway, thank you all for your collective wisdom. I’m so excited to see how it develops!! 
  • LastboatLastboat Posts: 61
    Planted the pond up yesterday morning. 

    And then today this happened...

    ...a frog!!! Didn’t expect such an important visitor so soon, and totally thrilled! 😃🐸🥰
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