Welcome to our gallery of the very best aquatic plants for container water gardens and small ponds. Included below are descriptions, growth habits & requirements. It is important to note exactly what level of water each plant should sit in. For example, some aquatic varieties just like to have their feet wet, as in a bog situation. Other plants need to be fully submerged like lotus and water lilies. Some aquatic plants float on the surface with their roots hanging in water. In a water-filled container, you can achieve the proper level for one or multiple plants by placing bricks, cinder blocks, etc. under the pots the plants come in. Consult your local nursery or retailer for specifics on each plant.
It would be good to have some knowledge of water plant terminology:
- Floaters. These plants float in the water without need of any soil, like water lettuce and water hyacinth. These plants are also great for indoor container water gardens.
- Oxygenating Grasses typically grow at the bottom totally submerged like fanwort. Used mostly in aquariums and indoor container water gardens.
- Marginals also known as "emergent plants", typically grow at the edge of ponds 4-12 inches below the surface.
- Bog Plants normally grow on the shore of a pond with water surface just covering the soil or slightly below the soil.
- Deep Water Plants grow at the bottom of ponds. They will need at least 10 inches of water covering the soil surface and will require a larger container except the dwarf and miniature varieties.
The gallery below has 2 sections: small and large. Some plants will be too large for most containers. They can be placed into a large whiskey barrel, a galvanized stock tank or an actual pond but if you use anything smaller, the plant will likely take over the whole container. It will be noted in the description when plants have dwarf and miniature varieties you may use instead.
The small plant section includes varieties you can use in medium sized containers with room enough for other plants (plus fish, small fountains) if you wish. Plants for indoor container water gardens will all need high light such as a window sill or close to a south-facing window.