A quick chart to help Minnesota pond owner's figure out how many plants to use in their water ponds.
Mini Ponds (bath tub size)
1 small lily or lotus
3-5 shallow water plants
3-6 Floating plants
Small Ponds (~8ft x 12 ft)
1-2 lilies or lotus
5-8 shallow water plants
5-10 Floating plants
Medium/Large Ponds (~15ft x 20 ft)
3-5 large lilies or lotus
15+ shallow water plants and tropicals
12+ Floating plants
Bogs and natural, or retention ponds will benefit from large amounts of plants. They help filter unwanted nutrients and fertilizers giving you cleaner water.
Minnesota Waterscapes offers pre-selected plants perfect for your own personal pond. Simply submit a photo of your pond (measurements help too!) and a pond plant package will be designed for you!
Plant Tips from the Grower:
Lighting Does your fish pond get a full six hours of sunlight? Flowering pond plants like water lilies bloom more in full sunlight. If your pond is more on the shady side, try using plants with varigated foliage like sweet flag to brighten the area. Early blooming natives like Marsh marigold will flower before tree leaves shade the garden. If your backyard pond is very shady, drop in a floating island planter to give a burst of color all season long with shade loving annuals.
Plant in groups for a more natural, full look. Use fewer varieties but larger groups to get the lush flower power of pickerel rush, cardinal flower, or arrowhead.
Measure your pond This will help answer two questions: How many plants can you actually have in your pond and how many gallons of water does it hold. Water treatments, fish load, and filtration can be accuratly calculated using gallons while size will help you select the correct amount of plants. (Tip: If you want more plant varieties in your pond, try using dwarf varieties.)
Tall versus short Some water plants grow quite large and can be used as a screen to hide unsightly fencing or create mystery. Play with the placement of your pond plants to see what view you enjoy most. To do this, place the potted plants near the pond edge or on a shallow shelf in the pond. Move them around until you find the placement that best suits you, then plant your watery garden! Don't be afraid to try different plants. I enjoy using tall canna lilies near large rocks to accent them. I also enjoy using the mid-sized Cyperus palm to give an exotic look to my backyard pond.
For more tips on planting your pond, click on 7 Tips for Planting Your Pond by Aquascae Inc.
Jeff Chudek has been building ponds and waterfalls professionally since 2005. As a kid, his favorite time of year was spring, because the spring thaw created so much mud and puddles, and all the trees and plants were waking up. He loves figuring out the best way to use something, and fixing things that are broken. He's good at coming up with ideas, and helping choose the best idea for you.