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There are four major groups of aquatic plants that are typically used in water gardens. You should consider adding plants from all four categories to create a healthy and vibrant pond.
Bog plants work well around the edges and borders of a pond. They give your water garden a lush, healthy appearance.
Lily & Lotus
Lily and Lotus plants, valued aesthetically for their vibrant blooms, are water garden musts for more than looks. Their broad leaves act as insulators which help control the pond's internal temperature. They also help keep algae from taking over, by using up the water's nutrients that algae would normally feed upon.
Submerged plants provide sources of food for wildlife, and they also work as water filters.
Floating plants help with water maintenance and support the water garden's ecosystems. They have long roots that extend downward, providing areas for fish to hide and spawn. Their roots also keep the water oxygenated. Floating plants keep algae from growing rampantly by taking the water's nutrients for themselves.
As you can see, all four groups of plants are important not only for aesthetic reasons but to keep your pond's ecosystem healthy.
Source: 2005 annual issue of Ponds USA and Water Gardens