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Plants for wildflide pond

I think I posted about this a while ago, but I can't remember how to find old posts.

I made my small pond in the Autumn  - it's only 5-6 metres around the perimeter - and now I need to start thinking about putting some plants in and around it.

It's supposed to be a wildlife pond, so any suggestions of native UK pond plants that I should buy for it - including how many plants of each variety I would need for a small pond? I'm referring to plants that will be planted in the water.

Then there's the plants to go around the edge. As some of the pond lining is exposed, I need some plants that will hang over the side and won't mind dipping into the water. But I also want other plants for planting around the pond to provide cover and habitat for wildlife and visitors to the pond. Due to the overlap of the pond liner being buried under the soil around the edge of the pond, I don't think any of the plants, except the ones actually planted in the water, will be able to access any water from the pond. So, I'm wondering if it's pointless buying pond plants for around the edge as they won't get any extra water from the pond?

Aesthetically, it would be nice to have some reeds around the edge, and would also provide cover for wildlife, but I'm worried it will just die from lack of water. I don't want to plant anything around the edge which I will end up having to water myself in order to keep it alive.

And will I need to buy aquatic soil to plant plants in the water or can I just use garden soil?





  • An as an add-on to that post... I don't think any of my neighbours have ponds, so are things like newts ever likely to find my pond? I read that you shouldn't introduce creatures or frogspawn from other ponds because it can spread diseases.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,255

    I've bumped your earlier thread up for you image

    And yes, the newts and frogs will find your pond ... when we were in an inner city terrace in the middle of Student Land, frogs found the tiny pond we made, within a few weeks image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,869

    Reeds won't grow outside the liner so substitute with a grass or  other plant with reed-like leaves

    Have you got a planting shelf within the pond for marginals?  They will overlap the edge by the end of the season. You can grow reed like plants here but avoid phragmites and anything else invasive, they may be in pots but that won't stop them.

    Amphibians will just turn up if they're in the area. If you import spawn at this stage there's nothing for it to spread disease to.

    I'd recommend visiting a few gardens to see what others have done. You've got plenty of time, water plants can be added through the summer

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,315

    Don't forget Hostas. image

    As if you would. 

  • Hi. We've got water mint, forget me nots and hardy rushes in our pond. The rushes are sited in the pond but right up against the edge. Look for the British flag on the plants you buy from the garden centre as they seem to cope well with the winter.  My rushes are up all winter but anything flowering isn't. An Iris is also nice to add, it also dies back in the winter/returns in the summer. And a water lily.

    For wildlife you need a mix of trailing plants (like the mint which the bees like or the lily) for cover and tall things for the pond life to climb up (for the damsel and dragon flies). Plus ways to get in or out (slopes or shallow bits). 

    A fountain seems to particularly attract the damsel and dragonflies. It took us a couple of years to get newts in. 

    Around the edge, like you I have no bog garden so I added some pheasants tail grasses - you might want to do one side only so you can see the pond as they'll grow to around half a metre high. I've hardly watered them as they seem to cope with drought! We also added a few bamboo (non rhizomes type to reduce spread) and logs leading to the hedge to allow wildlife cover and shady spots when they come out.

    Aquatic compost is best topped with gravel to keep it in, regular compost has too many nutrients and will result in it enriching the pond and encouraging more unwanted growth of weeds (Blanket weed and duckweed etc). 

  • K 9K 9 Posts: 10

    A helpful website is puddleplants 

  • There's a photo of my (empty) pond on another thread that I posted - for some reason I can't upload photos at the moment: 

    In case it's not obvious from the photo, it's one pond with the small end being shallow, the large end at 60cm, and middle bit that connects them being very very shallow with a gentle slope to allow access.

    I don't think there will be enough soil on the slopes of pond for any plants to grow into it or out of it, so I'll have to settle for planting things in the water and around the side. Having side that, if I put a lot of aquatic soil and grit in the middle section I could build up the level of the soil - perhaps I should do that? It would be very shallow water indeed then, but perhaps much more appealing for wildlife as an entrance/exit area.

    I have a seed mix of native grass and flowers that I can put around the sides, but there are couple of side areas where I'd like something lower than grass. Would heather be any good as cover along with other plants? Will try to get some logs and rocks too...

  • WateryWatery Posts: 388

    You can skip the aquatic soil and plant straight into grit (washed first.)  That's what Monty does.   Your plants will initially get enough nutrients from the water and silt will build up no matter what you do.   I think generally planting baskets are recommended to keep things where you want them.  You can get some kidney shaped ones to have things around the edge. 

  • Thanks!

    So, my next question is, how specific do I need to be about the type of grit? If the answer is very specific, please recommend one!

    I was wondering if I could just gather small stones from my garden as the soil is quite stoney? i also have some bags of stones which are about the size of almonds, but I guess they're far too big? 




  • WateryWatery Posts: 388

    I think the size of almonds would be fine.   I think as long as you have enough to root the plants.   When you buy the plants the roots will probably be in a small amount of aquatic soil.   I would think as long as the stones are regular enough to not have large gaps between them they would be fine.    I used some small pebbles and some flint gravel that we had covering our beds when we moved in. Everything has taken off.   

    A cheap first plant to get you started would be watercress. If you buy some from the supermarket, a few leaves in a dish of water will start to grow roots.   I have a massive amount from that.   I just have a tiny pond though.  It's in a bathtub sunk into the ground so my planting baskets are important as "beaches" although I also have a large boulder in there and branch ramps.   I have had frogs for 2 years but never any spawn.  It must be a bachelor pad pond only.image  I also know we have newts in the garden but again, never see any spawn.

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