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Pond plants

Hi everyone,

We made a pond in the Autumn and got the majority of the plants in there then. Photo is from November: 


 The current plant list is:

  • Emergent: Flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus)
  • Emergent: Iris Versicolour Rowden Cadenza
  • Marginal: Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
  • Marginal: Lesser spearwort (Ranunculus flammula)
  • Marginal: Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)
  • Marginal/rafting: Water mint (Mentha aquatica)
  • Oxygenator: Spiked water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)
  • Floating: Duckweed (Lemna)


I'm waiting on Frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae) to become available in May for our main floating plant. I was also planning to get Water forget-me-not (Myosotis Palustris) as a marginal/rafting plant that newts can use for their eggs. I believe they also like water mint leaves too.

However at this time of year there is pretty much no plant cover in the pond. The oxygenator has done well and expanded over the winter so there is some cover in the deep part of the pond. I checked out the plants earlier and most of them have got green shoots coming at least - the only plant I couldn't determine was the flowering rush. I have no idea if it's supposed to be doing anything this time of year, but the stems are at the pot level so I don't know if that's right. 

Our pond size is about 4 square metres and up to 60cm deep. I'm wondering if I need to consider adding some other plants that are in action at this time of year, and then die back to allow the others to take over? Being a wildlife pond I know how important it is to provide cover. For example, I know the place I buy the plants from doesn't have frogbit available until May because that's when it starts to take off. Should I be considering another floating plant to provide cover over Spring? Or is it just because the plants are in the first year and need to establish further?

In place of the forget-me-not I'm quite tempted by the sound of Brooklime (Veronica beccabunga) but seem to be finding conflicting guidelines as to whether it can be planted in the water or not. It seems these are very popular with newts and I think I prefer the look of that to the forget-me-not.

Should I be trying to plant something, or position a rafting plant near the beach area as well?

Thanks for any help and advice,

Lucid image


  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,293

    I don't think it will be necessary to have another floater. In a pond that size the water will soon be invisible under the duckweedimage Most water plants are thugs, you willl soon findimage My calthas seed themselves around in my very damp garden and that water mint will soon be turning up all around the pond, even away from the water.  Don't ever let yourself be tempted by Iris pseudacorus. It is beautiful in flower but it is the thuggiest thug imaginable and a ****** to get out!

    Why not have a small waterlily? Surely you can enjoy the pond yourself too, and it will still give the newts cover and shelter when they are most active.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,118

    I'd agree with B'cupdays about mint - it'll be all over the surrounds if you don't keep on top of it.

    Plenty of planting round the pond in the ground will soon make a difference Lucid. It maybe looks a bit 'empty' because you haven't yet got that other planting in place yet. Most ponds look like that at this time of year. There's a bit of limbo until everything starts to grow  image

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

  • LucidLucid Posts: 385

    Thanks Buttercupdays and Fairygirl. I hadn't quite appreciated that about the water mint so will make sure I keep an eye out. I had already decided against the yellow flag Iris - I know it's always recommended for a wildlife pond but I didn't like the look of it so much. 

    I'm now wondering if I should be tempted by a Nymphaea 'Pygmaea Rubra' as they only spread to 30cm apparently and can be in a fairly shallow planting depth, so one of the shelves. The flower is a nice pink. This would be in addition to frogbit though so I don't know if that's going to be too much for the pond? I guess technically water lily isn't a floater. I think I'd definitely still like brooklime too. I don't want to overfill it.

    Lucid image

  • JerryBoneJerryBone Posts: 91

    I only have a couple of varieties of pond plants in my pond and my pond is roughly 3 times the size of yours, The water mint spreads to around 1m across every year and I have to cut it back throughout the year to tame it. I have water cress that I had grown from seed, I wouldn't recommend this plant as it is just so invasive! I am constantly pulling it out of the pond and it just comes back with vengeance! the other plant I have if the yellow flag iris which I just love, it doesn't spread too fast either so its completely controllable. it also gives nice height to my pond.

    I think you have more than enough plants for that sized pond, and soon enough you will be ripping plants out like they're pests!

  • LucidLucid Posts: 385

    Thanks JerryBone. Ok so you've convinced me to forget the miniature lily and brooklime. I'll just get the frogbit in May. Do you know if newts definitely make use of the water mint for their eggs? That was why I was considering the brooklime. I don't think any of the other plants I've got are useful for them for that purpose.

    Lucid image

  • JerryBoneJerryBone Posts: 91

    Everybody has different experiences with pond plants, mine grow like wildfire however you may find yours grow slower etc and you may be able to add more. once they start growing more when summer comes you will learn what works for you. Oh I haven't heard that water mint is beneficial for newts but now that you mention it I do get a lot of newts in my pond and theyre always near the water mint! ill have a look into this. thanks! but id definitely recommend water mint, the bees absolutely love it too!

  • LucidLucid Posts: 385

    Thanks JerryBone. I think I remember getting water mint because it's also useful to bees and other insects. We found several newts before our garden was dug over so I wanted the pond to be newt friendly. I believe they use the leaves of the water mint to wrap the egg in. They also use water forget-me-not and brooklime apparently. 

    I'll stick with the water mint for now, and just add the frogbit in May. I just need to finalise what I'm getting to plant up the pond edges now.

    Lucid image

  • Kay8Kay8 Posts: 216
    Lucid, I've just made a little wildlife pond and I ordered frogbit a few says ago from Ebay. It's arrived and looks fantastic in my small pond. They're small bits at the moment but they will spread. I got them from a seller on ebay... I'd definitely recommend xx
  • LucidLucid Posts: 385
    Hi Kay8,

    Thanks very much for the recommendation but it seems that it's a different type of Frogbit. I'm after Frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae) which I believe is our native one and is pretty much dormant at this time of year. The one they're selling seems to be Limnobium laevigatum which originates from South America.

    I hope your new pond establishes itself well and that you soon find the wildlife visiting.

    Lucid image
  • Kay8Kay8 Posts: 216
    Ahhh I see!! I had no idea there were different types lol! It's lovely though. Looks really nice. I hope you get yours soon image xx
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