pond plants

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.

Salvina Natens

  • Hardiness: Zones 7-11
  • Height: ½” high on surface of water. Flotation is made possible by pouches of air within the leaves.  
  • Flower:      None
  • Foliage: The stem is floating, filamentous and branched. Sets of 3 leaves form on a stem: 2 small green hairy ones above water and one that serves as the root structure below the water. These small units reproduce rapidly.
  • Comments: Salvina blocks sunlight from reaching very far underwater and removes nutrients, which also prevents Algae from developing. 

Fairy moss (Azolla caroliniana)

  • Hardiness: Zones 5-11
  • Height: Less than 1″
  • Flower: Not showy
  • Foliage: Lacy bright green fronds that turn reddish in full sun, forming multilayer free-floating mats 4 cm thick
  • Comments: Leaves normally not eaten by fish; overwinter indoors; naturalized in shallow ponds, ditches and sluggish streams. The sporophyte of Azolla caroliniana commonly survives throughout the year in temperate areas (with hard frosts and prolonged ice cover). It is the best adapted of all species for subsistence on mud.

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