Oxygenating Plants for Ponds

Oxygenating Plants for Ponds

Oxygen is important for all animal life and is no less important under water than it is above.

Oxygenators are also very good at removing nitrates from the pond helping to reduce algae. However all plants need light to photosynthesise therefore if the water is already green with algae, they will need to be placed in a suitably shallow location to ensure they have sufficient light.

Most oxygenating plants have two leaf forms which are usually very different from each other and could easily be mistaken for different plants. It is only the leaves under the water that generates oxygen in the water while the leaves above the surface will generate oxygen above.

Oxygenating plants are sold in two forms, either in weighted bunches which will be the underwater leaf form (submerse foliage), while container grown plants will have plants with the above water foliage (emerse foliage). Container grown plants with emerse foliage placed under the water will grow soon grow the submerse leaf form. Both types are explained below.

Weighted oxygenating bunches - submerse form

All weighted bunches (with the exception of Ceratophyllum) benefit from the base of the plant being in soil. Ideally plant 2-3 bunches in aquatic soil in an aquatic basket (these baskets have mesh sides to retain the soil while still allowing water to circulate through the soil bringing essential nutrients to the plant). Do not plant too deep to start initially, say a maximum of 1m, the plants will then grow into deeper areas. Alternatively, if placed in an aquatic basket they can slowly be lowered into the deeper areas.

Transport - The delicate submerse foliage is more sensitive to drying out and high temperatures than emerse foliage, therefore they must be kept cool and humid during transport and planted as soon as possible.

Container grown oxygenators - emerse form

These plants are more resilient to transport than weighted bunches as their leaf form is used to being in air. However as they have been grown above the water they are best lowered gradually into deeper areas in the pond. Typically they should be placed not more than 1/3 of the recommended maximum depth initially, see back of label for individual plant details.

Have you got everything you need before you leave?

Marginal plants provide shelter, a breeding ground and remove nitrates
Oxygenating plants provide essential oxygen
Floating plants provide shade, shelter and remove nitrates
Lilies provide shade & shelter
Aquatic baskets and aquatic soil for the above
Snails Ramshorns eat algae on the sides of a pond, Trapdoor snails eat algae on the bottom

Be Plant Wise

Please protect our environment. No plants should be disposed of in the wild as even native ones placed in the wrong location may cause environmental damage. Compost them or take them to your local refuse centre. For more information please see Non Native Species Secretariat