The peaceful waters of a backyard pond represent an assortment of water-loving plants. Carefully selected from a variety of native and non-native rhizomes, annuals and perennials, the plants surrounding ponds are referred to as bog or marginal plants. Planted along the pond muddy borders or in shallow water, these semi-aquatic plants are usually hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, based on the range.
Layered groupings of rhizomes, rising from the shortest to the tallest, frame the perimeter of the pond. Plant the water-tolerant rhizomes, like laevigata iris (Iris laevigata) and pickerel weed (Pontedaria cordata), in flowerpots sunk into a few inches of water. In the moist ground surrounding the pond, plant Siberian iris (Iris sibirica), purple blue flag iris (Iris missouriensis) near the front and taller rhizomes like cannas (Canna ssp.) and clumping bamboos (Fargesia ssp.) In the background.
While most garden plants prefer a drier place, a few perennials enjoy the wet soil around a pond. The typical yellow monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus), cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) and Wilson’s ligularia (Ligularia wilsoniana) are one of the perennials recommended by the California Invasive Plant Council.
Reeds and Rushes
Reeds and rushes provide a natural look to your backyard pond. The grass-like cape thatching reed (Chondropetalum tectorum) supplies foliage and flowers in the background. Meanwhile, dwarf papyrus (Cyperus prolifer) evokes images of the ancient Nile without overwhelming a little pond. The native common rush (Juncus effusus) thrives in both shallow water and along the edges of pond.
To fill in bare spots, sprinkle indigenous wildflower seeds amid the perennials and rhizomes around the pond’s perimeter. While most annuals favor drier locations, California poppies (Eschscholzia californica), native clovers (Trifolium clover) and salt marsh sand spurry (Spergularia marina) prosper in many different growing conditions.
Avoid Invasive Plants
While a number of bog and aquatic plants have been sold in nurseries and on the internet, many aren’t suggested for use — even at a secluded backyard pond. The vigorous development of these plants take over whole waterways, crowding out native plants. The state of California has spent millions of dollars attempting to eradicate invasive plants like parrot’s feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum), periwinkle (Vinca ssp.) , purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) and water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes).