Best Floating Pond Plants For Clear Water And Shade

When selecting plants for a pond, floating aquatic plants are always the first choice of the pond owners. There are a couple of good reasons behind that. They help to clear the water, supplies natural food and so on.

In this article, I will talk about some of the best floating pond plants that you can add in your pond.

Best Floating Plants For Pond

Azolla (Azolla caroliniana)

A Bush Of Azolla

Also called as mosquito fern, duckweed fern, fairy moss, water fern. Actually, it is a genus of 7 aquatic ferns.

It grows from 3/8 inch to 1 inch. This bright green color plant will turn red in the spring and fall. During summer the growth of Azolla is astonishing.

A single Azolla plant

It is a free floating pond plant that increases natural filtration also gives the pond shade. They can be a good source of natural food for koi and goldfish. It is enriched with vitamin and protein.

Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)

Water Hyacinth

Water Hyacinth is one of the fastest-growing pond plants. You add a couple of these in your pond they will cover your pond within a couple of moths.

Do You Know: Water Hyacinth is native to Amazon River Basin

The best thing about Water Hyacinth is that they keep the pond water crystal clear. I have never seen a brown or murky pond that has Water Hyacinth in it. It also helps to prevent algae growth in the pond by giving shade. And finally, the flower is very appealing.

Water Hyacinth Flower

Water hyacinth is a great hiding place for the small fish due to its long roots that hang into the water from the body. Many fish species also spawn in these roots.

If you are from the USA there is a piece of sad news for you. In several states water hyacinth is illegal because it is and invasive floating pond plant. These states include AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, ID, LA, MS, NE, SC, TX, WI and Chicago City.

Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)

Water Lettuce

Also called water Cabbage, Water Lettuce, Nile cabbage, and Shellflower. It is native to tropical and subtropical lakes. The endurance temperature is between 15-degree Celcius to 35-degree Celcius. That means it will die in the winter if left in the outdoor pond.

Water lettuce is a great source of supplementary food for the pond fish as it is enriched with nutrition. Carps like KOI and Grasscarp loves to eat them. Their root system is ideal for zooplankton growth. Hence fishkeepers keep their baby fish in water lettuce pond for growth.

Fact: Jurassic Lettuce can grow up to 10 inches wide.

Frog on Water Lettuce

It grows very rapidly in the pond if the water is enriched with nutrition. It can cover up the whole pond in a matter of months. You should never let the water lettuce out in the wild. It is illegal in the AL, CA, FL, LA, MS, PR, SC, TX, and WI of USA.

Salvinia (Salvinia minima)

Salvinia Biloba

Salvinia or Spangles are amazing water filters. It is native to South America and grows well in still water. This small green pond plant grows in a small cluster. It grows well both indoor and outdoor.

The leaves of Salvinia is about 0.25 inches in diameter. If you have Turtle, Koi or Goldfish in the pond then it can be great food for them due to its small size and nutrition.

Salvinia Minima

The temperature tolerance is about 18 – 32°C. therefore, in the winter, you have to bring it indoor if your pond freezes in the winter or the temperature is below the tolerable limit.

Mosaic (Ludwigia sedioides)

Mosaic Plant with flower

With green and red pattern the mosaic is one of the most beautiful floating pond plants. A cluster of the mosaic plant is 3″ in diameter and a whole plant will spread up to 24 inches in one year. They also produce beautiful small flower.

Mosaic Plant

But it is a tropical plant and not hardy. The temperature of the pond water should be above 72 degrees Fahrenheit for this plant. That means you can only have this plant in your pond if the climate is warm. But if you have an indoor pond, the temperature won’t be any problem. Also, you have to maintain the pH level strictly bellow 8. It also requires 12+ hours of sunlight.

Duckweed (Lemna minor)

Duckweed in pond

Duckweed also called as water lenses are a hardy floating pond plant. It is named after duck as ducks love to eat it. The best thing about duckweed is they don’t require special care. All they need is still to slow-moving water and nutrition in the pond water.

Fact: Do you know Duckweed contains 15 to 25% protein of its dry weight.

Koi and goldfish like to eat them. It can be a cheap ut dependable source of natural nutrition for your fish. It also gives shade to the pond and clears pond water to some degree.

Duckweed Close View

Duckweed grows rapidly and can cover up the whole pond within a couple of months if it is not controlled by duckweed eating fish or manually.

Benefits of Floating Pond Plants

Works As Natural Filter

Floating aquatic plants are best for natural filtration of pond water. They absorb toxins from water. Some floating plants also remove excess nutrients from the water. This helps to prevent excessive algae growth in the pond.

Plants like water lettuce and water hyacinth can absorb sediments with their roots. Therefore, they are very much effective to clean the pond water.

Gives Shade To the Pond

Floating plants that grow in colonies or has large leaves give shade to the pond. They block sunlight to some extent from reaching the pond bottom. As a result, there will be fewer algae growth in the pond.

It also helps in keeping the water temperature cool in the summer. If you have a shallow pond, having these plants is necessary to keep the temperature in a tolerable limit.

A Good Hiding Place

These plants can be a great hiding place for fish. If you are facing heron attack in your pond, adding these plants can be helpful.

Also juvenile fish takes shelter in the long roots of some floating plants. If you breed fish like guppies in your pond, then you must add free floating pond plants in it. Fish fry takes shelter withing these roots which help them survive in this vulnerable stage.

Although these plants are good for many reasons, they are not good oxygenators.

Supplies Natural Food

Directly or indirectly, floating plants can be a great supply of natural food. They are enriched with protein and mineral. Fish like Koi and goldfish love to eat small floating plants.

These plants also facilitate the growth of zooplankton particularly in their root system. Zooplankton is a great source of natural food for good health and growth of fish.

How To Add Floating Plants In Your Pond

If you buy your plants from any reputed store then you can directly add them to your pond.

But if you collect them from wild sources, they should be quarantined before you add them in your pond because they are the bearer of parasites, algae, and other diseases. If you collect these plants from a pond owner, make sure there is no disease attack in that pond.

After receiving these pond plants, you should add them to your pond as soon as possible because most of them can’t take stress due to lack of water.

3 thoughts on “Best Floating Pond Plants For Clear Water And Shade”

  1. Currently I don’t have any floating plants in my garden pond but planning to add in the coming weeks, thanks for ideas shared here!

    1. Hey Derek, Make sure you quarantine the plants properly before you add them to your pond. As winter is coming, add winter-hardy plants in your pond.

  2. I live in Philippines, and built a “big” pond (4x5x2 meters) to have some spare waters for the garden and farm animals during the dry season. I grow azzola in it, as rabbits and poultry love to feed on it. So, not only I have freshwater for my gardens and animals, but I even have quite a lot of food to feed them too 🙂

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