Go to top

The Vital Role of Plants in Swimming Ponds

Creating a natural swimming pond in your garden is a perfect way to blend luxury with nature. As the UK’s number one swimming pond company, Ponds by Michael Wheat understand the importance of plants in crafting an eco-friendly, aesthetic, and functional swimming environment. Plants are more than just decorative elements; they play crucial roles in water filtration, biodiversity, and even offer some surprising benefits.

Swimming In A Swimming Pond. Natural Swimming Ponds With Crystal Clear Water

The Role of Plants in Natural Swimming Ponds

Water plants aren’t just pretty faces in the aquatic world; they’re essential for maintaining ecological balance. Here’s why:

Oxygen Production

Through photosynthesis, water plants release oxygen into the water, vital for the survival of aquatic life. This process helps maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem, ensuring your pond remains a thriving habitat for all its inhabitants.


Aquatic plants provide shelter and breeding grounds for various aquatic creatures, from tiny invertebrates to fish. These plants create a safe environment for wildlife, encouraging biodiversity and enhancing the natural beauty of your pond.

Water Filtration

Many water plants act as natural filters, absorbing excess nutrients and pollutants, thus improving water quality. By reducing the nutrient load, these plants help prevent algae overgrowth and keep the water clear and clean.

Preventing Erosion

Aquatic vegetation stabilises shorelines, preventing erosion and maintaining the integrity of water bodies. This is particularly important for the long-term sustainability of your swimming pond, ensuring it remains a beautiful and functional feature of your garden.

Types of Plants for Your Swimming Pond

Choosing the right plants is crucial for the success of your natural swimming pond. Here are some categories and specific plants to consider:

1. Submerged Plants

These plants grow entirely underwater and are vital for oxygenating the water and providing habitat for aquatic life.

  • Hornwort: Effective in absorbing excess nutrients and provides cover for pond inhabitants.
  • Waterweed (Elodea): Great for oxygenation and controlling algae growth.

2. Floating Plants

Floating plants help shade the water, reducing algae growth, and offer habitats for insects and amphibians.

  • Water Lilies: Not only beautiful but also provide shade and reduce water temperature.
  • Floating Hearts: Providing extensive coverage and nutrient absorption.

3. Marginal Plants

These plants grow at the edges of the pond and play a significant role in nutrient uptake and erosion control.

  • Yellow Flag Iris: Adds vibrant color and supports wildlife.
  • Alisma Plantago : Attractive flowers and excellent for nutrient absorption.

4. Edible Plants

Adding edible plants can be a unique and practical choice, blending functionality with aesthetics.

  • Watercress: Fast-growing, nutrient-rich, and can be harvested for culinary use.
  • Watermint: A fantastic plant for attracting wildlife and being shelter for emerging aquatic wildlife and when in bloom it is a valuable food source for pollinators.

There’s so many more edible plants out there what you can include click here to view and even at this years Chelsea flower show there was an Edible meadow’ for improved gut health


Additional Benefits of Pond Plants

Beyond their primary roles, pond plants offer several interesting benefits:

Natural Pest Control

Certain plants can help keep unwanted insects and animals at bay. For example, marigolds and catnip deter mosquitoes, while mint can repel rodents.

Wildlife Attraction

Plants like marsh marigold and water forget-me-not attract butterflies and bees, contributing to a thriving garden ecosystem. These plants not only beautify your pond but also support pollinators crucial for your garden’s health.

Seasonal Interest

Choosing a variety of plants ensures that your pond remains visually appealing throughout the year. Evergreen plants like water horsetail provide structure during winter, while flowering species like water iris add bursts of color in spring and summer.

Creating Your Dream Pond: A Step-by-Step Guide

Building a natural swimming pond involves thoughtful planning and professional expertise. Here’s a brief overview of the process:

1. Design and Planning

Our expert team collaborates with you to design a pond that fits your garden’s landscape and your personal preferences. This phase includes selecting the right plants for its surrounding, lifestyle and the filtration system.

2. Excavation and Construction

Once the design is finalised, we proceed with excavation and construction. Our skilled construction team ensure the pond’s structure supports plant growth and water circulation.

3. Planting and Ecosystem Establishment

We carefully plant selected species, creating zones for submerged, floating, and marginal plants. This step is crucial for establishing a self-sustaining ecosystem.

4. Maintenance and Enjoyment

Our ponds require minimal maintenance, allowing you to enjoy the beauty and benefits without the hassle. Regular checks ensure the plants remain healthy and the water stays clear.

Pond Plants 1

Comparison Table: Types of Plants for Swimming Ponds

Plant TypeExamplesBenefitsAesthetic Appeal
Submerged PlantsHornwort, ElodeaOxygenation, nutrient absorptionModerate, underwater beauty
Floating PlantsWater Lilies, Floating HeartsShade, algae control, habitatHigh, colorful and serene
Marginal PlantsYellow Flag Iris, Alisma PlantagoErosion control, nutrient uptakeHigh, vibrant edges
Edible PlantsWatercress, WatermintNutrient-rich, dual-purposeHigh, exotic and functional


Plants are the cornerstone of any successful natural swimming pond. They not only enhance the pond’s beauty but also contribute significantly to its ecological balance and health. Whether you prefer the lush look of water lilies or the practical benefits of edible plants like watercress, incorporating a variety of plant types will transform your pond into a vibrant, self-sustaining ecosystem

Key Takeaways

  • Essential Role: Plants are crucial for water filtration, oxygenation, and supporting biodiversity in swimming ponds.
  • Variety is Key: Incorporate submerged, floating, marginal, and edible plants for a balanced and beautiful pond.
  • Additional Benefits: Some plants offer natural pest control, attract wildlife, and provide seasonal interest.
  • Expert Design: Professional planning and construction ensure your pond thrives with minimal maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the best plants for natural swimming ponds?

The best plants include submerged plants like hornwort, floating plants like water lilies, marginal plants like yellow flag iris, and edible plants like watercress and watermint to act as a deterrent as well as being an edible delight.

2. How do plants help keep the pond water clean?

Plants absorb excess nutrients and impurities, acting as natural filters and preventing algae overgrowth.

3. Can I include fish in my swimming pond?

Yes, fish can coexist with plants in your pond, contributing to the ecosystem’s balance. However, choose species that are compatible with your plant selection. You can view a recent blog here which explains type of plants for different ponds.

4. How often do I need to maintain the plants in my pond?

Regular checks are recommended, but natural swimming ponds require minimal maintenance compared to traditional pools. Ensure plants are healthy and water conditions remain optimal.

5. Are there plants that can be harvested for personal use?

Yes, plants like watercress and Watermint are edible and can be harvested for culinary purposes, adding a unique touch to your pond.