Submerged Plants

What are submerged water plants?

Submerged water plants can be divided into two main types.

  • Underwater plants that grow with their foliage totally submerged underwater, such as Eel grass (Vallisneria).
  • Emergent water plants with foliage both under the water and also on or above the water surface, such as Water Milfoil (Myriophyllum species).

The foliage of the two types is very distinct, with the underwater foliage often thinner and more delicate. This foliage tends to break more easily and for some of the underwater plants, allows them to drift and regrow in other parts of the pond. Care should be taken when selecting some varieties. Some varieties of submerged water plants, that have been popular in aquarium’s, have become troublesome weeds in natural waterways. Check out our aquatic weeds page and enquire with your local or state departments for further information.

Emergent foliage is often the decorative component that we select for our ponds. Many producing attractive leaves and flowers and can cover large surface areas.

Why do I need submerged water plants?

Green water algae control.

Submerged water plants compete for the same nutrients, minerals and salts as algae. Most are heavy feeders and absorb through their leaves and roots thereby effectively starving out the algae. The emergent foliage also reduces sunlight penetrating the pond water and so shades out the algae.

Providing oxygen to the pond water.

Underwater plants are often referred to as oxygenating plants, providing oxygen to the water during the day.

Shelter and protection.

Submerged water plants, particularly the emergent types, provide shelter and protection for aquatic life, creating areas for the fish to lay their eggs and spawn. Smaller fish also have a better chance of survival as they provide excellent place to hide from the larger fish.

Filtration and pond health.

Submerged water plants play a vital role in improving water quality and clarity. The leaves and roots act as nutrient sponges, removing potentially toxic elements. Submerged water plants help to create a healthy balance with animals, happily sharing the same resources in a confined pond environment.


  1. If you wish to guarantee pristine water clarity you need to incorporate a biological filtration system into your pond design. Click on the following link for information on biological filters.
  2. Click on the following link for information on fish ponds.
  3. Some varieties produce trailing runners that grow into new plants that can root themselves elsewhere in the pond. Care should be taken particularly with earth filled ponds as they could be overrun by the more vigorous varieties.

Ready to contact your nearest garden center?

Submerged Plants collection

Bacopa caroliniana

Bacopa monniera

Egeria densa

Ludwigia pallustris

Lysimachia nummalaria

Lysimachia nummularia Aurea

Myriophyllum crispatum

Myriophyllum varifolium

Myriophyllum papillosum

Ranunculus lingua

Cycnogeton procerum (syn Triglochin)

Vallisneria americana

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