Wildlife Friendly Pond

Best Pond Plants for Wildlife

Want to attract and support wildlife in your pond?  There are hundreds of varieties of plants that can have all manner of benefits for your pond, and the wildlife it supports.  While many plants serve to add beauty to a pond, others serve to help attract and help sustain a whole host of wildlife:

  1. Shelter – Pond plants can provide shelter for fish, frogs and other aquatic wildlife, helping to protect against potential predators and harsh sunlight, sheltering plants can also provide host to breeding grounds.
  2. Natural filter – Aquatic plants are a natural filter for the water – helping gilled members of the pond for instance by oxygenating the water and absorbing nitrates – this serves as an aesthetic alternative to a clunky mechanical water pump.
  3. Food source – They serve as a convenient food source for all sorts of little creatures to nibble on. For example turtles love Water Poppy and Frog Bit.
  4. Algae controller – They limit algal growth by outcompeting any algae for sunlight and energy for growth.


Classes of Pond Plants

There are 3 main categories in which pond plants will four under – each with unique attributes and requirements. The correct knowledge of these will allow for you to construct a perfect balance within your pond.

  • Best submerged plants for wildlife
  • Best marginal plants for wildlife
  • Best floating plants for wildlife


Submerged plants

Located completely underwater and also referred to as oxygenating pond plants, this group plays a major role in filtering the pond water through producing oxygen for aquatic animals such as fish and water boatmen via photosynthesis. These plants also help to keep algae under control, maintaining healthy life that can be clearly seen and appreciated through clear water.


Spiked Water Milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)

Myriophyllum spicatum Spiked water milfoil

This plant can grow at great depths and produces attractive, feathery leaves complemented by tiny reddish flowers that blossom during the early summertime. It is a fantastic choice as they can easily just be dropped into the pond as a weighted bunch.

However, caution must be taken when choosing the amount to plant as too much could result in dense mats which could negatively impact the ecology of the body of water rather than the intended positive effect on wildlife levels it would normally provide.

Plant Details

  • Water Depth – 30cm to 450cm
  • Foliage – Deciduous
  • Position – Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Growth – Fast
  • Flowers – May to Jun
  • UK Native

Buy Spiked Water Milfoil Online


Willow Moss (Fontinalis antipyretica)

Fontinalis antipyretica Willow moss Bunch pf 5

A great addition to a wildlife pond with many useful properties. Despite providing the stated benefits of submerged pond plants for wildlife, this species is able to absorb minerals, tolerate lower temperatures as well as having low light requirements.

It possesses a pleasing mossy look and requires minimal caretaking – making it a wonderful plant to have regardless of expertise levels.

Plant Details

  • Water Depth – 30cm to 90cm
  • Position – Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Growth – Fast
  • Flowers – Evergreen
  • UK Native

Buy Willow Moss online


Marginal Plants

These pond plants live with their roots underwater but the rest of the plant shows above the surface level, happily growing around the edge of the water.  Marginal plants add depth and character to the border of your wildlife pond.

Apart from providing oxygen to the atmosphere and water, native flowers of marginal plants are good for attracting flying insects and providing protective spaces for creatures to lay their eggs.


Bog Pimpernel – (Anagallis Tenella)

Forming a dense carpet of fine pink leaves with stunning tiny rose-pink flowers, bog pimpernel makes a great addition to the margins of any pond and can also be used in a bog garden or very shallow water.

Plant Details:

  • Water Depth – 0cm to 1cm
  • Height – 5cm to 10cm
  • Position – Full Sun
  • Growth – Medium
  • Flowers – Jun to Sep
  • Foliage – Evergreen
  • UK Native

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Apache Beads – (Anemopsis californicum)

Anemopsis californicum Apache beads 9 cm

This scented, hardy marginal plant grows beautiful white flowers supported by broad dark green stem and leaves. Dragonflies in particular are attracted to apache beads.

A noticeable benefit is that these flowers work well dried for potpourri.

Plant Details

  • Water Depth – 0cm to 15cm
  • Height – 15cm to 40cm
  • Position – Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Growth – Medium
  • Flowers – Jun to Aug
  • Foliage – Deciduous

Buy Apache Beads online


Floating Plants

A very special group that takes all of their nutrients from the water by passing on any requirement for roots. These plants supply a protected space for fish spawning and the eggs of pond snails, dragonflies and newts.


They give the area a novel look and require the least effort out of the three types. In fact, in terms of maintenance, the main focus is actually making sure they don’t get too out of control due to their little requirements and fast growth rate. This is usually solved with an annual thinning.


Frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus ranae)

Limnobium laevigatum Smooth frogbit

This charming little plant produces small kidney-shaped leaves and miniature white flowers and is able to tolerate dense shade which makes it an even less carefree option.

Plant details

  • Spread – 2cm to 7cm
  • Position – Full Sun/Part Shade/Shade
  • Flowers – Jul to Aug
  • Native

Buy Frogbit online


Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)

Pistia stratiotes Water lettuce

Implied by the name, this species looks like a small lettuce that casually floats on the surface of the water. However, they are not as hardy as the Frogbit so it is best to keep them in sheltered spots.

Plant Details

  • Normally Available from – Early May
  • Spread – 10-20cm
  • Position – Full Sun to Part Shade

Buy Watter Lettuce online


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