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Plants For Natural Earth Bottom Ponds/Lakes

What Plants Do Well In Earth Bottom Ponds/Lakes?

 Plants for Earth Bottom Ponds and Lakes

Plants for natural earth bottom ponds and lakes are many and varied. You can create a complete and harmonious ecosystem in an earth bottom pond. The plants listed below are perfect selections for your earth bottom pond. They help take up extra nutrients in the water and help prevent algae blooms. They attract dragonflies, damselflies, birds, butterflies and give shelter to other wildlife in your earth bottom pond, helping you to create a perfect ecosystem. These plants can also be grown in lakes and on lake, stream or pond banks. 

Louisiana Iris (Colorific, Black Gamecock, Acadian Miss and Handmaiden) are water tolerant and grow best with water over their crown throughout the year. Beautiful blooms adorn the green, sword-like foliage in late spring to early summer. Spread by rhizome and grow best in full sun. Great for growing along the banks of your pond to deter soil erosion and also great as a focal point, the leaves are upright and attractive and the six petaled flowers are magnificent!

Colorific Iris flowers have an exquisite combination of violet-purple and lavender-pink petals with purple veining. Colorific is very easy to grow in moist soil or shallow water, in full sun. Great for earth bottom ponds! Grows to 32" tall with a 2' spread.

Black Gamecock Iris is very exotic looking and adds drama and excitement to an earth bottom pond. Intense, purple-black blooms are striking atop the attractive, green, sword-like foliage! Grows 2-3' tall in full sun to part shade.

Acadian Miss is a delicate looking, white, iris with chartreuse signals. Grows 2-3' tall in full sun to part shade. Lovely in an earth bottom pond!

Handmaiden is a heavenly iris specimen with lavender flowers with a breath of red-brown coloration washed over the petals and sunny-yellow centers. Very dreamy! Attractive, green, sword-like foliage makes a perfect complement for this Louisiana Iris. Grows to 2' tall in up to 3" of water and prefers at least 6 hours of sunlight. Perfect for an earth bottom pond!


Pickerel Rush (White or Blue) (Pickerel Cordata)Is a tremendous plant, not only for its beauty,  but for its amazing filtration abilities as well. Considered a mainstay in garden ponds, Pickerel Rush has shiny green leaves and blooms that resemble a bottle brush, in shades of blue or white. The plant attracts dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies and hummingbirds. Birds eat seeds from Pickerel Rush and pickerel fish, frogs and amphibians use the plants for cover when grown in deeper water.The plant has a compact habitat and grows from a rhizome that sits near the surface of the water. Grows in sun to part shade in moist soil or up to 10" of water. Grows 2-3' tall with a 1-2' spread.

Thalia Dealbata has stunning, tropical looking foliage and purple flowers in late summer.  Grows well in moist soil or up to 6" of water. Grow in part sun to part shade and reach a height of 2-6' with a 1' spread.

Sweet Flag Acorus Calamus (Variegated) has lovely, variegated, sword shaped leaves that are green and creamy- white. Leaves resemble those of an iris. Can be planted in wet, boggy soil or up to 6" of water above the crown of the plant, and grows 2-3' tall. Grows in part sun to part shade. ( Much better than cattails as cattails can become invasive!) 

Water Plantain is a wetland plant that grow well in still waters, marshes, bogs or in the shallow edge of a natural bottom pond. Leaves are broad and flowers are pink or white. Bloom time varies from May to September.  Plant can be floating or submerged. Water Plantain multiplies quickly.

Arrowhead (Sagittaria) Many varieties of Arrowhead exist and most are adaptable in an earth bottom pond. The beautiful, ornamental plant has green, arrow shaped leaves and small white flowers, and look lovely in an earth bottom pond. Cold tolerant and easy to grow, Arrowhead can grow to a height of 2-3' in sun to part shade.

Baumea Rubiginosa Variegata (Variegated Striped Rush) has beautiful, dark green foliage with golden-yellow vertical stripes. It has a running habit and grows 1-2' tall. Blooms in the fall with flowers that look like small, brown tassels.  Prefers moist soil or up to 2" of water over the crown of the plant.  Keep the roots below the freeze line in the winter months. Grows in sun to part shade.

Marsh Marigold (Caltha Palustris)) Bright, cheerful, yellow, early spring flowers with toothed, dark- green, glossy foliage. Prefers cooler weather and grows well in moist, boggy soil on pond, lake or creek banks. Grows from spring to fall.

Golden Club has beautiful, olive green foliage that grows 5-12" long. Late in the spring, white, fleshy flower spikes with golden club-like flowers appear on the plant. Plant forms tight clumps and grows best in part sun to full shade in moist soil or up to 6" of water. Grows 6-10" tall with a 12-18" spread. Golden Club overwinters well, even when frozen in the pond. 

Hibiscus Coccineus (Lord Baltimore) An exquisite hybrid hibiscus with HUGE red flowers on shrub-like plants and does extremely well in an earth bottom pond. Plant in moist soil or up to 4" of water. Grows well in sun to part shade. Dwarf varieties grow to 2' tall with an 18-24" spread. Other varieties range in color from whites to reds to pinks! 

Mares Tail is a very pretty plant that grows to 12" with an upright habitat. Grows in full sun to part shade in moist soil or up to 1-3" of water. A lovely green plant to soften the edges and add vertical interest and texture to your earth bottom pond.

Lobelia Cardinalis has brilliant-red flower spikes on this columnar plant. Native to North America, this plant tolerates cold well. Grow it in full sun to part shade in moist soil or up to 3" of water. Attracts hummingbirds!


Hornwort is an excellent plant for earth bottom ponds as it helps to take up extra nutrients in the water and help prevent algae blooms, even emitting a hormone to inhibit algae growth. Hornwort has no roots and does not need to be planted, it can "float" beneath the surface of the water easily and absorb nutrients through its foliage. Hornwort is also an excellent oxygenator for an earth bottom pond.  

 Bog Bean has lance shaped, three lobed leaves with marked veining. Blooms form when light-pink buds open to vanilla scented, fringed, white flowers. Flowers are held above the foliage. Grows from a rhizome and does best in 1-3 inches of water in full sun to part shade. 

Cattails grow well in freshwater and provide important habitat for fish, wildlife and birds. Cattails tolerate water over the crown of the plant, overwinter well in cooler water and withstand freezing temperatures. There are many varieties of cattails. Most have narrow foliage on stalks, flowers are catkins that turn brown in the fall and release feathery seeds. (can be invasive)

Chinese Lizard Tail is an attractive plant with white splotches on the green foliage. Beautifully ornamental in bloom or not. Creamy- white spikes of flowers adorn this lovely specimen! Grows well in sun to part shade in moist soil or up to 6" of water. Great for earth bottom ponds!

White Rush is an upright grass with creamy-white stripes on the foliage. Grows well in sun to part shade in moist soil or up to 3" of water. Grows much less dense in deeper water. Grows 4-6' tall with a running spread.



Waterlilies are wonderful additions for earth bottom ponds and help create a harmonious ecosystem. Waterlilies provide shade and shelter for fish and help take up extra nutrients from the pond. You can plant your waterlilies directly into the soil of your earth bottom pond. Planting these varieties directly into the soil of your pond assures you that your waterlilies will grow and bloom beautifully. We have listed several varieties that are well suited for earth bottom ponds:

Clyde Ikins Waterlily-Heavy Blooming/Peach/Perennial/Dependable Bloomer!

Awesome Waterlily-Peach/Perennial/Heavy Petal Count/Full Blooms!

Texas Dawn Waterlily-Heavy Blooming/Yellow/Perennial

Pink Pom Pom Waterlily-Pink/Perennial/Heavy Petal Count/Full Blooms!

Fuschia Pom Pom Waterlily-Pink/Perennial/ Heavy Petal Count/Hot Pink Full Blooms!

Virginalis Waterlily-White/Perennial/Pure White Perfection!

Snowflake Waterlily-White/Perennial/Heavy Petal Count/Full Blooms!

Cranberry Waterlily-Luscious Red Blooms/Perennial/Absolutely Stunning!

Black Princess Waterlily-Dark Red/Perennial/Exotic looking!

Super Red Waterlily-Red/Perennial/Beautiful Red Flowers!

Wanvisa Waterlily-Reds and Yellows combined/Perennial/Very Unusual!

Sunny Pink Waterlily-Pink/Perennial/Exquisite Blooms!

Georgia Peach Waterlily-Heavy Blooming/Peach/Perennial

Sunfire Waterlily-Brilliant Pink and Yellow/Perennial/Standout on the water!

White Hot Waterlily-Pink/Perennial/Radiant Blooms!

Lemon Meringue Waterlily-Yellow/Perennial/Heavy Petal Count

Citrus Twist Waterlily/Changeable/Perennial/Lovely citrus shades of yellow and pink!

Pink Grapefruit Waterlily-Pink/Perennial/Mouthwatering pinks and yellows!

Pink Sensation Waterlily-Pink/Perennial/Exquisite pink petals with silver tips!


Planting Waterlilies


When planting your waterlilies in your earth bottom pond, be careful that you are not planting the waterlilies too deeply into the soil. Press the soil around the tuber of the waterlily and keep the crown exposed. Your plants will adjust to the depth of the water and the leaves and flowers will rise to the surface. If your waterlily should float to the surface after planting, you may place a temporary stone above the roots, (never the crown) and allow the plant to root. Another solution is to cut off a leaf or two, as the leaves of a waterlily are filled with air, pulling it to the surface like a hot air balloon, or plant your waterlily in a more shallow location where the existing leaves will be at the surface of the water. 


Hopefully, you haven't combined Koi in your earth bottom pond. As we have explained in other articles on the site, Koi can be destructive to plants in your pond.  Make sure Koi are not rooting up your newly planted waterlilies!


Always plant your waterlilies in full sun and fertilize every three weeks with fertilizer tabs pushed gently in the mud next to your waterlilies. 

Your waterlilies should grow and bloom the very first year and all summer long!  Enjoy!


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