Bring Your Charlotte, NC, Backyard to Life With Aquatic Pond Plants

Learn how to upgrade your backyard pond or water feature with aquatic plants.

Do you love the outdoors but feel less than impressed with your backyard space at home in the Greater Charlotte area?

Perhaps you have a pond, but it’s bare and green with algae. Transform your joyless outdoor space into a beautiful oasis by adding pond plants. 

Our team at Charlotte Backyard Ponds shares some tips on what you’ll need to know.

Preparing Your Pond for Plants

Pond with waterfall and plants
  1. If you already have a pond with good water quality and circulation, skip down to the categories of pond plants. If not, here are some tips for pond construction:
    • Position: Consider sun exposure, power, and debris when choosing a pond location. On average, pond plants need at least six hours of sunlight per day. You will also need a power source near power pumps, aerators, and other equipment. Lastly, try to avoid a location where a lot of debris tends to settle. Organic waste like fallen leaves encourages algae and sludge growth when left in ponds.
    • Basin or Liner: Seal your pond to keep the water in place. You can seal a pond using impermeable liners, or you can bury pre-made basins to form your pond with ease.
  1. Water quality: If you want to add plants to your pond, the water needs to be natural and free of chemicals that will harm them. Chlorine, for example, is toxic for aquatic plants and animals. If you use your garden hose to fill your pond, you’ll need to treat it with a dechlorination product before adding plants. Alternatively, you can fill your pond from a natural source, even rainwater.
  1. Install a pump: Stagnated pond water is not healthy, balanced water. Find out how many gallons are in your pond, then invest in an appropriately-sized pump to keep the water cycling. Your pond pump should run all the time and cycle all the water in your pond every hour.
  1. Add a waterfall feature or fountain: You may decide to use your pond pump to circulate the water to the top of a waterfall feature or fountain to add a peaceful ambiance to your outdoor space.
  1. Choose pond plants: It may be tempting to fill your pond with only the most colorful flowers, but it will benefit more from various plants.

Categories of Pond Plants

Aquatic plants have five categories based on how much water they need to thrive. Some water plants do best in just a couple of inches of water, while others need to be fully submerged.

  •  Bog plants: Plants in the bog category do best in two to three inches of water, planted along the edges of a pond.
  • Marginal plants: Sometimes called emergent plants, these pond plants thrive in shallow water up to about 6 inches deep.
  • Deep marginal plants: Some marginal plants prefer even deeper water up to 18 inches. Like other marginal plants, these also flower above the water’s surface.
  • Deepwater plants: Also referred to as “submerged,” plants in this category want to be entirely underwater. Place these plants in the deepest part of the pond, more than 18 inches deep.
  • Floating plants: Pond plants in the floating category live on the water’s surface with their roots exposed beneath them. Floating plants provide shade for the pond and any creatures living there.

Specific Pond Plants We Recommend for the Carolina Piedmont

Water Lily

Beautiful Flower In A pond

Water lilies are beautiful examples of deepwater pond plants. You put a water lily into a pot and then set it at the bottom of the pond. Lily pads and flower blooms will rise from the pot on long stems and sit on the surface of the water. Lilies are excellent for small and large ponds to provide shade, oxygenation, and beauty. Hardy water lilies will go dormant during the cold season and return in the spring, but tropical water lilies need warm water year-round

Water Lotus

Water Lotus

Like water lilies, water lotus plants are potted plants. The pots sit in the deepest part of the pond. These pond plants will also send up leaves and flowers on stems. Water lotuses can be fussier than lilies, and they can be larger plants in general, making them better for larger ponds. Like lilies, water lotuses can be hardy and survive cold temperatures.

Corkscrew Rush

Garden Plant

Rushes are great bog plants for planting along the edges of your pond. They provide a sense of architecture, walling in your pond’s ecosystem. One of our favorite examples is the corkscrew rush variety, which grows in curly shapes that bring a lot of personality to the pond. Many rush plants are hardy plants, which means they will go dormant in the winter and return in the spring.

Horsetail Rush

Garden Plant

Another attractive rush is the horsetail rush variety. This bog plant grows in tall, narrow, straight stalks and has a bamboo-like look. It is a hardy plant that will survive the winter. Horsetail rush is known to spread aggressively, so consider planting it in two- to three-inch pots to prevent new growth from taking over.

Water Hyacinth

Pond Flower

These floating pond plants are great for shading fish and adding interest to the surface of your pond. They bloom pretty purple flowers and tolerate a good balance of sun and shade. Some consider water hyacinth invasive because it will spread across the water’s surface, but you can manage it with some occasional maintenance. It won’t survive the cold season.

Northern Blue Flag

Pond Flower

Water iris plants offer an outstanding balance of grass-like vegetation and colorful flowers. The Northern blue flag variety is one of our favorites because of its vibrant purple blooms. You pot these marginal plants and place them in the pond at a level that fully submerges the pot but not the plant itself. Blue flag irises will return after wintertime.


Pond Flower

Anacharis, also called waterweeds, is an excellent example of a deepwater pond plant. It lives in bunches at the bottom of the pond, providing oxygenation and water filtration. It’s also hardy, which means you can leave it in the pond through the cold season.

Building and Beautifying Ponds in Charlotte, North Carolina

At Charlotte Backyard Ponds, our team wants to help you create your backyard oasis, whether you need a pond renovation or a new pond construction. Contact us to get started. We serve the Metro Charlotte area in both North and South Carolina.