Ponds In The Shade – How To Select Shade-Tolerant Water Plants

By: , Credentialed Garden Writer
Large Overhanging Tree Branches Over An Algae Covered Pond
Image by Stefanie Keller

A shady pond is a serene spot where you can relax and escape from the stresses of the day, and an ideal way to provide a haven for birds and wildlife. If your pond needs more greenery or a touch of color, consider a few shade-tolerant pond plants.

Choosing Shade-Tolerant Water Plants

Fortunately, there is no shortage of plants for growing in low-light ponds. Many water lilies, for instance, make suitable shade plants for ponds. Here is a sampling of some other popular shade-tolerant water plants that work well too:

Black Magic Taro (Colocasia esculenta): This lovely elephant ear plant produces dark foliage with a mature height up to 6 feet (2 m.). Zones 9-11

Umbrella Palm (Cyperus alternifolius): Also known as umbrella palm or umbrella sedge, this grassy plant reaches heights of up to 5 feet (1.5 m.). Zones 8-11

Yellow Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris): Producing bright yellow blooms, the marsh marigold plant, also known as kingcup, thrives in marshy conditions or clay. Zones 3-7

Golden Club (Orontium aquaticum): This small plant produces waxy, velvety foliage and spiky yellow blooms in spring. It is also known as never wet plant. Zones 5-10

Watermint (Mentha aquatica): Also known as marsh mint, watermint produces lavender blooms and a mature height up to 12 inches (31 cm.). Zones 6-11

Bog Bean (Menyanthes trifoliata): White blooms and mature heights of 12 to 24 inches (31-61 cm.) are the main highlights of the attractive bog bean plant. Zones 3-10

Lizard’s Tail (Saururus cernuus): A showy, fragrant plant reaching heights of 12 to 24 inches (31-61 cm.), lizard’s tail makes an exceptional addition to shadier spots of pond edges. Zones 3-9

Water Pennywort (Hydrocotyle verticillata): The water pennywort is a creeping plant with unusual, whorled leaves, also known as whorled pennywort or whorled marsh pennywort. It reaches mature heights of up to 12 inches (31 cm.). Zones 5-11

Fairy Moss (Azolla caroliniana): Also known as mosquito fern, water velvet, or Carolina azolla, this is a native, free-floating plant with colorful, attractive leaves. Zones 8-11

Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes): This floating plant displays rosettes of fleshy, lettuce-like leaves, hence the name. Although water lettuce does produce blooms, the tiny flowers are relatively insignificant. Zones 9-11

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