Plant FAQs

Plant FAQs

Q: Are plants really necessary for your pond?

A: In order to easily maintain a natural biological balance in your pond, then YES, plants are necessary. Our goal is to try to imitate nature’s fundamental process in order to obtain a well-balanced ecosystem. Plants play a vital role in the biology of the pond, called the Nitrogen Cycle. There are 3 main factors contributing to the Nitrogen cycle: fish waste, plants & good bacteria. In short, the fish, decaying plants & uneaten food create waste, which is ammonia. Ammonia & nitrites- other toxic bacterias- are broken down by beneficial bacterias to make nitrates. The plants then absorb the nitrates as food. Fish eat plants & other food creating waste, which starts the Nitrogen Cycle all over again. If you happen to eliminate one of these 3 factors in a closed aquatic system such as a kio pond, keeping a well-balanced ecosystem will be more challenging.

Q: What types of aquatic plants are available?

A: In addition their contributions biologically, water-loving plants can easily enhance the beauty of your waterscape, both inside the pond and out.

The most common of aquatic plants can be classified into 3 categories: marginal, submerged, & floating plants. Your water garden will benefit most, aesthetically & biologically, when utilizing plants from each category.


The largest of the plant categories, marginal’s grow in shallow water, along the ponds edge. They serve as a natural bog, which helps to filter the water while helping beneficial bacteria to thrive.

Marginal plants prefer 2-4” of water over their crown. Taller ones such as umbrella palms and rushes & other “giant” varieties can be 6-8” over their crown. Many of these marginal plants also grow quite well outside the pond, along its perimeter.

Popular marginal plants include: Umbrella Palms, Taro, Pickeral, Cannas, Papyrus, Iris, Bluebell, Horsetail Rush, Corkscrew Rush, Spider Lily, Arrowhead

Submerged floating-leaved plants:

This group involves the pondkeeper’s favorite plant, the water lily. They are typically planted at greater depths, and send shoots with leaves to the surface of the water. These plants provide excellent shade & shelter for fish. Not only do they provide shade, but in turn they help to combat algae by reducing the amount of sunlight that enters the pond. For optimal bloom time, full sun is recommended.

Popular submerged floating-leaved plants include: water lilies, lotus


The natural filtering ability of this specific class of aquatic plants makes it an important addition to the pond. Floating plants do not require soil & therefore can be easily tossed into any pond or container garden. Not only do they provide shade, but in turn they help to combat algae by reducing the amount of sunlight that enters the pond.

Popular floating plants include: Parrot’s Feather, Water Hyacinth, Water Lettuce, Frogbit

**Beware, certain aquatic plants that have been labeled as “invasive” & are considered prohibited to possess. Laws vary by state. Example: Water Hyacinth (aka water lettuce) is prohibited in Texas.

Q: What will happen to my plants in the winter?

A: Most hardy aquatic plants are capable of surviving the winter months, dependent upon your location. They may die back & go dormant during the coldest months; however you should notice new, green growth once the weather begins to warm. Other tropical varieties should be treated as annuals, relocating them indoors.

Q: What is the recommended amount of plants to put in my pond?

A: Ideally, your pond should contain 40%-60% plant coverage. Plants are multi-functional, and play a vital role in the Nitrogen Cycle, creating a naturally balanced ecosystem. Not only do they service to oxygenate the water naturally increasing your beneficial bacteria load, but plants also provide shelter for your fish. Furthermore, plants offer shade for your pond, thus resulting in less algae blooms.

Q: Why are my water lilies not growing?

A: New additions to your pond can spark a newfound interest in your fishy friends. If you have fish, they have been known to nibble on plants not only out of hunger but also out of sheer curiosity or boredom. If you do not have fish, the lilies may be lacking adequate nutrients in order to thrive. Whatever your scenario may be, we recommend fertilizing your water lilies and other aquatic plants annually. Aquatic fertilizer tablets are available and are completely safe for all aquatic life.

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