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With the extensive range of pond plants available in nurseries and garden centres, selecting the right plants can be daunting. The vigour of the plants and avoidance of unwanted invasive types as well as the suitability in varying depths needs to be taken into consideration.

When choosing plantings for ponds or water features, there are number of things to bear in mind;

  • Decide whether you would like your plants to be native water plants or exotics. Freshwater Habitats Trust (was Pond Conservation) has produced a leaflet ‘Planting-up Ponds’ with suggestions for native species that will attract wildlife
  • Consider not planting up a pond and allowing plants to colonise naturally. Most gardeners, however, are keen to get going with planting up from the start
  • Choose the right plants for the depth of water. There are waterlilies, for example suitable for all depths, from 10cm deep to 1.2m and deeper
  • Some water plants and marginals are vigorous, spreading via roots or by self-seeding such as in the case of sweet flag (Acorus calamus ‘Argenteostriatus’). This can be useful in larger water gardens, but if you have a small pond, consider the potential inhabitants carefully
  • It is good practice to quarantine purchases for a few weeks before introducing them. Many potentially invasive species, such as Crassula helmsii, are introduced into ponds unknowingly as contaminants on newly-acquired water plants
  • In recent years a growing problem has been posed by a number of introduced aquatic plants. These can be very invasive and can have seriously detrimental effects on gardens and the wider landscape.

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