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Choosing Koi Pond Plants

Choosing Koi Pond Plants

You’ve installed the pond, acclimated your koi, and everything’s set. But an empty koi pond can leave your serene setting a little barren. Luckily, pond plants are an easy way to add some greenery to your backyard pond! But creating a pond environment where koi fish and pond plants coexist can be tricky. Koi will gnaw on plant roots found in the pond, sometimes destroying the plant. Read ahead for some strategies and ideas on koi pond plants!

 

 A water lily is a classic pond plant that can benefit your pond in many ways.

A water lily is a classic pond plant that can benefit your pond in many ways.

PLANT BENEFITS

Despite a koi’s tendency to snack on pond plants, they can be very beneficial to the wellbeing of the pond environment. Pond plants help the fight against algae growth by limiting algae photosynthesis via a plant’s own photosynthesis, which decreases the amount of nitrites in the water, defending the pond against excessive algae.

Pond plants also make shade in the water and koi like to hang out in the greenery. Shade helps alleviate high temperature in strong sunlight. And all of the waste koi fish produce nourish pond plants. Koi fish will eat mosquito larvae on pond plants, eliminating great numbers of these pests in your back yard. And pond plants naturally help filter pond water.

 

 Parrot feather is an oxygenating pond plant.

Parrot feather is an oxygenating pond plant.

TYPES OF PLANTS

Oxygenating pond plants add oxygen to pond water. Oxygen in the water helps the fight against algae. Oxygenating plants feed off fish waste and dead leaves and can help keep your pond water’s oxygen at a healthy level. Some examples of oxygenating plants are water lettuce, parrot’s feather, and cabomba.

Another type of pond plant is a marginal pond plant. These are plants that are potted and then submerged a few inches into the water. Because these plants protrude from the water, they bring a lot of greenery to the pond. These too help filter pond water, though they require a shelf to be placed on.

 Water lettuce is an inexpensive oxygenating pond plant that provides plenty of shade, reduces algae, and helps balance oxygen levels in the water.

Water lettuce is an inexpensive oxygenating pond plant that provides plenty of shade, reduces algae, and helps balance oxygen levels in the water.

Floating plants are plants that emerge at the surface. A common example is the water lily. The pad floats on the surface while the stem and roots extend down. These can be grown in a 5 or 6 foot deep pond and are a classic look. Water hyacinth and azilla are also floating plants.

PLANTING STRATEGIES

To avoid having your pond plants nibbled to death, there are a few different options for staging the plants. One idea is to build a shelf into the edge of the pond. This can be as simple as cinderblocks and a board. Place a potted plant (well-developed) on the submerge board to give an appearance of a natural pond plant. Place stones over the soil for protection against rooting koi. However, you’ll still need to create a barrier  between the plant and the koi. Consider stacking stones or rust-proof wire around the pot.

 A pond plant of the floating variety called Floating Hearts.

A pond plant of the floating variety called Floating Hearts.

Smaller and lighter plants can be floated by simply placing a flotation ring around the pot. But for plants with long, extending roots, such as water lilies, consider encircling the stems in wire meshing for protection against hungry koi.

 

Have you had success with your koi pond plants? Leave a comment or let us know via the contact form!

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