Even in landscapes, small ponds make an ecosystem of their own, sustaining plants and creatures that wouldn’t thrive in the drier conditions of a conventional landscape. Various types of plants thrive in a pond environment and boast features that make them lovely additions to the landscape around a house.
Many types of flowers make their houses in or near ponds. The Santa Cruz water lily (Victoria cruziana), which resides in the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 10, is one of the biggest, with floating lily pads that can reach 8 feet broad and 16-inch flowers that move from white to pink in a single evening. A smaller waterlily is the “Sunny Pink” (Nymphaea “Sunny Pink”), which creates lotus-like flowers in USDA zone 4 through 10 and pads that hit only 12 to 18 inches round. Beside the water, water-friendly plants such as the “Deutschland” astilbe (Astilbe x arendsii “Deutschland”), which grows in USDA zone 4 through 9, thrive from the always moist soil.
Nearby the water, trees provide shade to animals through the hottest part of the day and precious soil stability with their extensive root systems. Trees that live close lakes are adapted to additional wetness and comprise larger species such as the river birch (Betula nigra), which resides in USDA zone 4 through 9 and grows rapidly to 40 feet tall, and many smaller varieties such as the “Kilmarnock” willow (Salix caprea “Kilmarnock”), which resides in USDA zone 4 through 8 and grows only to about 8 feet tall.
When many shrubs favor drier soil conditions, some are adapted to the constant wetness of existence at the banks of a pond. The “Chirimen” marlberry (Ardisia japonica “Chirimen”) thrives in USDA zone 6 through 9 from the shaded areas near a pond, producing deep green leaves and white flowers in the summertime that give way to bright red berries in winter.
Close to the banks and even partly submerged, several species of grass thrive. “Sparkler” sedge (Carex phyllocephala “Sparkler”), which resides in USDA hardiness zone 7 through 10, grows in exploding clumps of cream-rimmed short green blades, while variegated Japanese sedge (Carex morrowii “Aurea-variegata”), which thrives in USDA zone 5 through 9, grows as tall as a foot, with mild green blades that hang lazily close to the water’s edge. Grasses such as the horsetail reed (Equisetum hyemale), which resides in USDA zone 3 through 11, can spend a lot of the time with their foundation under water while their long stalks shoot up to harvest energy from sunlight.