Pond Flowers

A garden pond provides hours of pleasure as showy aquatic flowers bloom throughout the spring, summer and autumn. Emergent or marginal plants naturally grow in heavy dirt along the shallow edges of a pond with their origins underwater and their stems above the water. Although pond plants generally grow best in full sun, a few marginal plants, known as bog plants, tolerate partial shade. Garden pond flowers grow in containers which sit underwater and stop the plants in aggressively spreading. The plants can overwinter indoors in areas using sub-freezing winter temperatures.

Tropical Water Lilies

Tropical water lilies (Nymphaea species) are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11, and grow as annuals in cooler areas. These marginal plants, which thrive in 12 inches of water, eventually become inactive in water temperatures under 70 degrees Fahrenheit and will not survive a frost. The flowers can measure over 12 inches round and blossom 6 to 12 inches above the pond surface, notes the Maryland Cooperative Extension. “Colorata” has 4-inch blue flowers and curved floating leaves, and also spreads up to 6 square foot. “Missouri” can spread over 12 square feet and produces fragrant, 14-inch night-blooming white flowers.

Hardy Water Lilies

Hardy water lilies are marginal plants which thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 11. They tolerate water as trendy as 50 degrees F and grow best in 18 inches of water. The circular leaves float on the water surface. “Colorado” produces 10-inch wide burgundy to light green leaves and 6-inch fragrant, peach-colored flowers. “Hermine” tolerates partial shade and has 5-inch creamy white, tulip-shaped flowers and 6-inch heart-shaped leaves. These cultivars are acceptable for small ponds or bathtubs and can spread up to 6 feet.


Hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9, lotus rise in water that’s at least 50 degrees F and 4 to 6 inches deep. The stems and circular leaves grow 3 to 5 feet above the pond surface. Native to North America, American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) has 10-inch yellow flowers and 24-inch leaves. Egyptian lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) originated in India, and its cultivars produce red, white or pink flowers up to 12 inches wide. “Ben Gibson” has 6-inch pink double flowers, and “Tulip” rises up to only 18 inches tall and has white, tulip-shaped flowers.

Other Pond Flowers

Other flowering plants can decorate a pond. By way of example, alligator leaf (Nymphoides crenata) produces yellow flowers with inch-long fringed petals. Canna “Tropicana” is a stunning 5-foot tall canna lily using 5-inch orange-red flowers and variegated purplish, cream and green leaves. Both plants are hardy to USDA zone 8. Hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9, “Black Gamecock” iris (Iris louisiana “Black Gamecock”) grows up to 3 feet tall and produces 6-inch velvety, purplish black flowers. All these flowers are bog plants which grow best in wet soil or 4 to 6 inches of water.


The china mark moth lays eggs on the undersides of their water lily and lotus leaves. The larvae severely hurt plants as they make sandwich-like covers from bits of leaves. To control china mark moth, spray the leaves using the bacterial pesticide Bacillis thuringiensis (Bt), that does not harm people or animals. Control aphids, which feed on the leaves and stems, by removing those tiny bugs by hand. Totally spray heavily infested leaves with insecticidal soap or a mixture of 2 parts vegetable oil and 8 parts water, recommends Pond Trade. Bt spray controls leaf mining midges, which produce wavy lines in lily leaves.

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