Native plants for your pond

Pennywort Pond Plant

Plants are vital components of your wildlife pond, providing both habitat and food for a host of animal species. Wildlife ponds should have much of their water surface covered by a good variety of plants. The more complicated the underwater 'architecture' of roots, stems and leaves, the more animal species can co-exist. Very few animals like clear open water, where they are easily spotted and eaten by fish. Although some plants can colonise ponds very quickly, people will want to introduce...

Frequently asked questions about ponds

House Martins Nest

I already have a garden pond - what can I do to make it more wildlife friendly Formal ponds are not designed for wildlife. They tend to have steep sides without extensive shallow areas. Concrete fish ponds can be difficult for animals to escape from and few have extensive vegetation cover. To help wildlife, first ensure that frogs and hedgehogs can leave the pond, using rocks, stones or paving slabs as a ramp. Then, create more shallow habitat. Use sandbags, recycled bricks or building blocks...

Managing your pond plants

Snail Water Plants

Once established, most water plants grow extraordinarily fast unless they are heavily shaded. This means they compete for space in a small pond and need management. Some plants like bogbean send out long runners and can spread two or three metres in a season, but are easily reduced because the brittle stems can be snapped. Others, like the common reed - only suitable for the very largest ponds - form dense, tough, root masses that need a saw to cut them back. Don't over-manage your pond plants....

Designing your pond

Shaded Pond Design

Think carefully where your pond is to be. Once dug, it can't be moved If it's in sight of the living room or kitchen windows, you'll be able to watch birds, bats and other visitors from inside your home. If the pond is away from the house, it may attract more timid species, and you can plan the garden so the pond is a beautiful surprise in a private corner. Mark out the outline with canes and see how it will look before you start digging. Aim to have part of the pond in full sunlight. This...

Where to get plants

It's illegal to uproot any wild plant without permission from the landowner, although you can collect seed. Your best source may be neighbours, friends or a local gardening club, who will usually be able to spare cuttings of their own pond stock, but watch out for aliens Often, your local wildlife trust will be doing management work on a reserve pond, and may be able to provide material. There are some excellent specialist native plant suppliers, many of them listed on Flora Locale's website...