One of the questions we get a lot here at Willow Ridge is: What are the best Aquatic Plants to grow in East Tennessee?

There are a several different types of Aquatic Plants (Pond Plants) that you can put in your Water Garden. I will walk you through the difference in plant types.

  • 1. Marginal Water Plants: Which grow on shallow shelves in the water, and can be upright like Cattails and Iris or creeping like Bacopa and Water Forget-Me-Not.
  • 2. Submersible Water Plants: Varieties of plants which grow from the bottom of the pond to reach the surface of the water. Water Lilies and oxygenators such as Anacharis are good examples.
  • 3. Floating Water Plants: Such as Water Lettuce and Water Hyacinth, which float around the surface of the pond.

Plants serve several functions in a Water Garden. They are aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and are natural filters to help keep the ecosystem balanced. Using a mixture of different plants helps to balance the ecosystem and make the Water Garden look more natural.

Here is a list of the Top Ten Aquatic Plants!

  1. Water Lilies: Place this plant in the bottom of the pond. Its foliage will reach the surface of the pond and grow to shade the water below from the hot afternoon sun. The blooms on this plant are beautiful and come in many colors.
  2. Cattails: This is a great sun loving upright marginal plant. Use in the back of pond to soften up the edges. Also a great natural water filter.
  3. Water Iris: This is another great upright plant to use for texture and color. Water Iris can tolerate some shade, but blooms best in sun.
  4. Pickerel Rush: Pickerel is an upright plant with broad leaves with beautiful cone shaped flowers that bloom all summer long.
  5. Water Forget-Me-Not: This is a low growing plant with tender foliage and a non-stop blooming habit.
  6. Rain Lily: This dainty little plant is a must have! It has thin spikey foliage that can get lost if not placed in the right location, but when it blooms it is absolutely gorgeous.
  7. Sweet Flag: A variegated grass with a lot of texture and class. It happens to be the only evergreen (will not die back in the winter time) on this list.
  8. Black Magic Elephant Ear: This big leaf beauty is sure to please with its dark reddish-brown color and tall stems, it adds something special to the mix.
  9. Water Hyacinth: A very nice annual floating plant that blooms from summer to frost in our area. It adds shade for the aquatic friends below and complements the water lily. This plant can be aggressive but it’s easy to maintain.
  10. Pitcher Plant: This is a colorful little plant that attracts butterflies and pairs very well with the rain lily.

Aquatic Plants are a great addition to any water feature big or small!