Aquatic Plants

Water Snowflake (Nymphoides indicum variegata)

  • Hardiness: Zones 8 – 11
  • Height: 6″
  • Flower: White frilly flowers
  • Foliage: Small circular green or varigated pads float across the surface giving a look of miniature waterlilies
  • Comments:  A great surface marginal plant that spreads quickly


Water Mint (Mentha Aquatica)

  • Hardiness: Zones 4 – 11
  • Height: 8 – 12″
  • Flower: Miniature lavender-pink blooms that attract many butterflies
  • Foliage: Bright green leaves can be used in teas and jellies.
  • Comments: Spreads quickly, Excellent natural filter planted in biofalls. Grows in sun to part shade.


Duck Weed

Duckweed tend to be associated with fertile, even eutrophic conditions. They can be spread by waterfowl and small mammals, transported inadvertently on their feet and bodies as well as by moving water. Duckweed is an important high-protein food source for waterfowl and also is eaten by humans in some parts of the world as it contains more protein than soybeans.The tiny plants provide shelter cover for many aquatic species. The plants are capable of absorbing excess mineral nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphates. Duckweed prefer high-nutrient wetland environments, such as sloughs. Often mistaken for algae on a pond. Scoop up some of the plant and if you see tiny little roots – its duckweed.

String Algae

This plant is only being added as many new pond owners do not know what this is. It grows on rocks and plants, as well as any other surface it can attach itself to. Most pond owners like to eliminate it from their pond, as if it is allowed to grow unchecked, it will envelop plants and fish.

Alisma/Plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica)

  • Hardiness: zones 2 – 11
  • Height: 30–100 cm (12–40 in.).
  • Flower: Pale lilac flowers are borne on wide branches and open between 1pm and 7pm each day. Flowering time: June–September. Blooms profusely, but flowers are short lived.
  • Foliage: Most leaves aerial, floating and submerged leaves fairly common in flowing water. Aerial and floating leaves long-stalked, 8–25 cm (3–10 in.) long. Blade ovate, with rounded or cordate base and entire margins. Submerged leaves may have a strap-shaped blade.
  • Comments: Natural habitat is in shallow water of lakes, rivers, and brackish water bays especially on grazed shores, ditches, ponds. Sometimes referred to as Water Baby Breath.

Arrowhead (Sagittaria Latifolia)

  • Hardiness: Zones 3-11
  • Height: 8″ – 12″
  • Flower: white flowers borne on tall spikes.
  • Foliage: The leaves are tall and arrow-shaped
  • Comments: Tubers tend to form deep in the soil, which results in a late starting plant in the spring. Often discarded in the spring because it doesn’t show any signs of growth right away. Also known as Duck Potatoe, but rarely eaten by ducks as tubers are buried too deep.

Bog Bean (Menyanthus Trifoliata)

  • Hardiness: Zones 2-11
  • Flower: The flowers are white, tinged with pink and are hairy inside. Blooms in early spring
  • Foliage: Cluster of 3 lobed leaves growing on a long vine; leaves hold themselves above the surface of the water
  • Height:      6″ – 8″ high; floating rhizomes which grow out from the bank, sometimes forming a  thick floating mat.
  • Comments: Sun to partial shade; plant in depths to 12″ or in wet soil; vines send out anchor roots that will attach to rocks in pond.

FROG BIT (hydrocharis morsus-ranae)

This plant is on the Prohibited Invasive Species list in Alberta. Hydrocharis morsus-ranae spreads rapidly by way of long, cord-like stolons, easily giving rise to a floating mat of interconnected plants. It is capable of over-wintering by forming vegetative buds, called turions, located at the base of the plant.  Hydrocharis morsus-ranae has rapid vegetative spread and the ability to form dense mats, which can limit light penetration and fill the water column in shallow areas. In doing so it can strongly affect native aquatic life. It can also inhibit boat traffic and limit recreational activities.

Water Clover (Marsilia Mutica)

  • Hardiness: Zones 6-11
  • Height: Leaves float on pond surface, spreads, and will grow in sun or shade
  • Flower: none
  • Foliage: Leaves resemble a four-leaf clover, and have reddish-brown stripes that splits the darker green on the top half of the leaflets and the lighter green of the lower half.
  • Comments: Plant 4 inches to 9 inches below the surface of the water. It also will grow in damp soil. It is cold hardy but will not survive in temperatures below 10 degrees celcius.
  •  If crowded, it sends up aerial growth in addition to surface growth

Pennywort (Hydrocotyl Umbellata)

  • Hardiness: 5-10
  • Height: 6” – 8”
  • Flower: none
  • Foliage: Trailing vine growth; rounded leaves suggestive of pennies. When iron is low, the leaves will turn yellow at the edges. Overall growth will be slower, and leaf size smaller when nutrients are lacking.
  • Comments: Grows well in shade ponds and in waterfalls.
  • Massive root system. Can be free floater.pennywort roots

Floating heart (Nymphoides peltata)

  • Hardiness: Zones 5-10
  • Height: Floating on surface
  • Flower: Short-lived papery, nonfringed, golden yellow flowers
  • Foliage: Round, slightly dentate, glossy leaves
  • Comments: Vigorous; can be aggressive; plant in 1-gallon containers; cover with 12 to 24″ of water; full sun
  • Cultivars/Species: N/A

Parrot feather (Myriophyllum Brasiliensis)

  • Hardiness: 5-11
  • Height: 6″ – 12″
  • Foliage: Small leaves in whorls; aerial foliage have a deeper blue-green color, red stems
  • Comments: Often used in aquariums as an oxygenator; submerged plant but will root and develop aerial foliage in shallow water;
  • obtains nutrients directly from water; soil planting not necessary
  • The larger variety Myriophyllum Aquaticum can become invasive and is being removed from many suppliers availability list.

Water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes)

  • Hardiness: Zones 8-11
  • Height: 6″
  • Flower: Pale blue to lavendar flowers with yellow spots on 6″ spikes
  • Foliage: Balloon-like petioles swollen with spongy tissue; rosette of pale green, shiny, rounded leaves
  • Comments: Requires abundant sunlight and warm temperatures; long feathery dangling roots;
  • Varieties: Dwarf Hyacinth – grows to 6″ – 10″ in height; Florida Native Hyacinth – grows to 12″ – 18″ in height in Alberta 
  • Invasive in warmer climates
  • water hyacinth

Water poppy (Hydrocleys nymphoides)

  • Hardiness: Zones 9-11
  • Height: 2- 2.5″ on water surface
  • Flower: short-lived light yellow flowers with a red and brown center, borne in abundance; flowers stand above the water
  • Foliage: Thick, shiny dark green heart-shaped leaves; 2 to 4″ wide leaves on long, trailing stems
  • Comments: Will survive in water up to 12 to 15″ deep, but prefers shallow conditions (6″); prefers rich topsoil; overwinter indoors in shallow tub but keep moist and provide good light