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Landscape Design

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Aquatic Plants
The hardest part of building your pond is now over. The next step is to naturalize your new water garden into your landscape by adding color and movement with aquatic plants and fish.

Water lilies provide beautiful blooms for most of the summer season while providing shade for your fish. Marginals soften the water’s edge, blending the pond in with a new or existing landscape. Submerged plants provide oxygen and remove excess nutrients from the water to help prevent algae.

The gentle splish-splash of swimming fish will bring hours of enjoyment and help balance your pond by cleaning and adding fertilizer. They add sparkle and movement to a water pond like nothing else.

Plants and fish are the crowning touches of your water garden. The sounds, colors, motions and textures will please all the senses.


Choosing Your Plants
  • The healthiest water gardens with the cleanest water contain a mix of floaters, submerged (oxygenating) plants, marginal and bog plants and deep water plants.


  • Floaters, just like their name, float in the water, their leaves and blossoms on the surface, their roots dangling loose beneath. This group includes water lettuce, water hyacinth and duckweed. These provide shade and food for fish. In fact, foliage of floaters and other deep water plants should cover about half the pond surface to shade the water. But, if they cover more than 2/3 of the pond, they trap carbon dioxide and other gases fish need to survive.
  • Floaters: Water Hyacinth, Duckweed & Water Lettuce

Submerged, Oxygenating Plants

  • These plants slow algae growth, replace lost oxygen and provide shelter and a good breeding ground for the fish. They grow in pots at the bottom of the pond, but their foliage grows primarily underwater.
  • Many oxygenators are very aggressive and can easily take over a pond if not controlled. These plants can be thinned and the cuttings shared with friends. To thin them, just take a garden rake forcefully through the underwater vegetation.
  • Submerged Plants: Water Milfol, Hornwort & Parrot’s Feather

Marginal Plants

  • The function of a marginal is to add color and height and help the water garden blend visually into the rest of the landscape. They are, for the most part, simply aesthetic. Though, roots which escape the pot may help remove unwanted nutrients from the water.
  • Marginals thrive in shallow water (2-3 inches) and moist soil found at the edge of a pond. They sit on the ledge of your water pond while gravel on top of the soil keeps it in place. Tuck marginal plants into pots to prevent their aggressive nature from overtaking your pond. These pots also allow you to mix and match plants that require different depths.
  • Tall marginal aquatics should be reduced in height to 9-10" to prevent them from being blown over before the roots have obtained hold.. Most marginal requires slight thinning each year, especially some of the more vigorous varieties. Most spread readily and small pieces can easily be removed and replanted.
Name Picture Appearance Height


Narrow, arrowhead-shaped leaves.  White flowers. 18-24"
Canna varieties


Large red or green leaves.   Varying bloom color. 32-60"
Iris varieties


Varying bloom color. 36-60"
Ragwort no picture available Clumped foliage topped by bright yellow flowers. 60-72"


Bold, glossy leaves.  Flowers appear when most marginals ahve stopped blooming. 24-48"
Dwarf Horsetail


Mounds of evergreen on upright stems 6-10"
Zebra Rush


Long tubular leaves with green & white horizontal stripes. 34-48"

Water Lilies & Lotus
  • A water garden's beauty can be highlighted with hardy or tropical water lilies.
  • Hardy water lilies are perennials bearing flowers in shades of red, pink and yellow (some changing color).  Their flowers open in early morning and close by mid to late afternoon. 
  • Tropical water lilies are tuberous, cold-sensitive perennials, bearing flowers in shades of white, rose, yellow, blue and purple.  The flowers, borne above the water surface, open during the day or night and emit a delightful fragrance.
  • Lotus species are noted for their exotic leaves and colorful, fragrant flowers.  Growing from early spring until late summer, lotus develop from tubers or rhizomes and are aggressive growers.
  • Plant hardy water lilies and lotus early in spring, but wait until water temperature is at least 70F before adding tropical water lilies.


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Dayton Nurseries, Inc.
3459 Cleveland-Massillon Rd.  Norton, OH 44203



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