Aquatic plants are a specialist subject but there is plenty of help at hand at your local aquatic centre, or garden centre so don’t let the hundreds of plant choices put you off.
As well as providing structure and cover, plants perform an essential function of keeping your water in tip-top condition, keeping it clear and oxygenated and providing the idea environment for fish and aquatic life.
Oxygenators are probably the most important plants as they provide oxygen and out compete pond slime. Oxygen is vital for the pond life, whether fish or amphibians. The fact that they can be beautiful is almost a secondary consideration to the benefit they bring to the life of the pond.
Plants such as common water starwort, has small delicate leaves that create ground hugging mats and are excellent for hiding liners and pipes. They are beautifully green and great cleaners.
Water crowfoot, is delicate, with white/yellow floating flowers that look similar to buttercups. For shallow pond areas less than 30cm deep, the needle spikerush is a great plant to create a lush carpet or there’s a dwarf version for shorter fronds.
Add a few waterlilies, and other surface plants (around 30% cover) and you will reduce the risk of algal blooms and provide excellent shade, cover and perhaps spawning areas for fish.
Never be afraid to ask the staff at garden and aquatic centres. They are there to help and have expertise that you can tap into for free!