Pond plants are a true dual purpose addition to anyone’s pond or water garden. Most people recognize pond plants as being strictly ornamental and do not understand the significant ecological benefit that plants can have on a pond.
Pond plants like lilies and lotus, with their expansive green leaves that float on the pond surface and bright colorful blooms that rest a top those leaves, are the most popular type of pond plant. Most are commonly purchased for their aesthetic benefit, but lilies and lotus are major players in the fight against algae. They are the best plant to select for providing protection against sunlight. It is recommended that between 40% and 60% of the ponds surface be covered by pond plants. Plus they are also excellent at absorbing nutrients.
Essentially, pond plants are natures filter. Many pond owners tout the significance of a good working biofilter, which is an indisputable must, but the ponds that are the clearest and healthiest are ponds that also incorporate a variety of pond plants.
Plants provide filtration in two ways: filtration of sunlight and filtration of excess nutrients (waste). Both parts are equally significant and are key players in water quality and in the fight against problematic algae.
For pure filtration of nutrients like nitrate and phosphate, marginal plants and submerged grasses are the best choices. Both plants have voracious appetites and will consume excess nutrients from the water faster than algae can. Both plants are often times used together to create a bog filter, which is basically a small pond or stream area that water is pumped into and passed through prior to being discharged back into the main pond. Marginals, like lilies and lotus, do have aesthetic value also. That plus the enormous varieties of marginals, makes them a popular plant.
So, if your goal is to have the clearest and healthiest pond possible, and to naturally control algae without the use of chemicals, you would be remiss if you did not look into adding some type of pond plants into your pond. They are easy to add and are relatively low maintenance, not to mention the fact that they are an inexpensive addition.