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What are waterside plants?

They are the marginal plants that grow around the edges of ponds, waterways, lakes and wetlands.

At Oz Watergardens we classify these plants as our Zone 2™ and Zone 3™ pond plants and they prefer water levels from the waterline down to about 20cm deep. See Zone Map page.


In more natural pond designs, the waterside plants help to stabilise pond edges and create a smoother blend between the pond and the surrounding landscape. They are of particular importance in improving water quality through their feeder roots, as well as improving the habitat by attracting wildlife.


How do I select waterside plants?


Waterside plants offer the greatest range in form and colour in almost any pond design.


When selecting waterside plants, it helps to understand the purpose that they serve.


Protecting fish.

Trailing or creeping plants that grow out over the water surface, can create a mat effect at the pond edge. This means that the clear pond water is further away and often deeper, so making it more difficult for predators such as cats to scoop at the fish.

Hide ugly plumbing and wiring.

Creeping plants can serve to help us with some of our design problems. You can use them to hide or camouflage ugly wiring and plumbing from pond pumps, filters and lighting.

Protect pond edges.

Waterside plants naturalise pond edges and help with erosion control. Pond edges and liners can also be damaged by other wildlife, particularly the claws of cats and birds. Clumping rushes and sedges can prevent some animals from coming too close, while other waterside plants that grow into dense mats, can blanket the pond edges.

Soften the landscape.

The water feature or pond is often the focal point in the garden. Good pond design looks not only at the pond, but also how it blends with the surrounding landscape. Choosing waterside plants that match the style of your garden helps to make the whole garden experience all the more enjoyable.


All ponds attract wildlife, from birds that come to splash, to frogs that come to stay awhile. Some waterside plants, like rushes and sedges (eg. Common Spike Rush, Eleocharis acuta), provide nesting materials, some food and others shelter.

Size and scale.

Larger leafed water plants look better in a landscape that is in keeping with their size. For example, if you have a waterfall and pond with large rocks and boulders, then a small fine leafed plant will often be over looked, you may wish to use a Water Iris or an Egyptian Papyrus to balance the scale. Waterbowls for a table top display create interest with the use of smaller or more delicate plants such as Miniature Papyrus or Corkscrew Rush.

Specimen or feature plants.

Many waterside plants are clumping plants that make them ideal to use in large urns.

Umbrella grass, Colocasias or Taros can be great accent plants in shady gardens. You don't always need a lot of space to have a pond. Even a small courtyard containing decorative urns and waterbowls can still have a water garden.



  1. To view and select varieties of waterside plants, refer to our Zone Map
  2. For information on plant care and maintenance, go to our Tips & Hints page.


Please use our store locator to contact your nearest garden centre, to place an order.

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