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Oxygenating Pond Plants

Care tips for oxygenating pond plants.

By the Editors of Ponds USA & Water Gardens

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General Oxygenator Care Tips and Info

  • Monitor the pond’s pH at different times of the day to make sure that oxygenating plants do not drastically change the pH throughout the day
  • Goldfish and koi may eat some of these plants, but fast growth can compete with hungry fish.
  • Crop back excess plants during spring and summer
  • Remove dead stems in autumn
  • Dispose of waste material correctly, as oxygenators may be invasive
  • Make sure these plants are legal in your area

Species-Specific Care Tips

Canadian pondweed (Elodea canadensis)

  • Tolerates cold, but it does not do well with mild winters and little change between seasons
  • Can be grown rooted in pots or as a floating plant at the surface
  • Needs bright light
  • Fast growth in spring and summer
  • Can grow to 4 feet long
  • Can be invasive

Other Elodea species

  • E. callitrichoides and E. nuttallii are two most popular species
  • Elodea species are similar to Canadian pondweed in appearance and care
  • Does not grow as fast as Canadian pondweed

South African curly pondweed (Lagarosiphon major)

  • Doesn’t grow as quickly as Canadian pondweed
  • Often sold under the Latin name Elodea crispa
  • Care is similar to Canadian pondweed

Brazilian pondweed (Egeria densa)

  • Also called Anacharis or Anacharis densa
  • Also an aquarium plant
  • Robust, bushy-looking plant
  • Care similar to Canadian pondweed, but less tolerant of long, hard winters
  • Can become invasive in temperate zones

Hornworts

  • Floating plant that looks feathery, having a spiny, crispy texture
  • The coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum) is the most popular hornwort species
  • Will do well in any properly maintained ponds
  • Flowers are small, produce quarter-inch fruit with spines
  • Will die back during winter and will grow from the fruit when the weather warms

Water Milfoils

  • Feathery-leaved
  • Grow it rooted
  • Needs good light
  • Has whorls of white flowers that rise above the water
  • Popular species include alternate-flower milfoil (Myriophyllum alterniflorum), European milfoil (M. spicatum) and whorled water milfoil (M. verticillatum)
  • Tolerant of hot summers and cold winters

Curly pondweed (Potamogeton crispus)

  • Not common
  • Pink stems and large leaves (3 to 4 inches long)
  • Grows rooted and can grow canopies that float just below the water surface
  • Does not grow as quickly as Canadian pondweed
  • Good for smaller ponds

Fanwort (Cabomba carolina)

  • Feathery green or reddish-purple leaves
  • Won’t survive freezing temperatures
  • Soft and acidic water with not too much water flow
  • Silty water ruins these plants

Water violet (Hottonia inflata and H. palustris)

  • Don’t often do well in ponds
  • Tolerant of cold winters
  • White or purple flowers
  • Plant in pots and put in bright spots

Willow mosses (Fontinalis spp.)

  • Aquatic moss
  • Fontinalis antipyretica most popular species
  • Does well in ponds grown on rockwork or in gravelbeds with good water flow
  • Grows slowly
  • Good for small ponds
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