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Plants for Koi Ponds

When designing a backyard pond, adding plants and flowers to the environment is a common pursuit. A koi pond can be beautiful and enjoyable, especially when you stock it with a wide array of water plants. Because koi fish need a special environment, you'll need to choose the right aquatic plants that will be beneficial additions to the pond. The placement of the plants is also an important detail to consider.

Benefits of Aquatic Plants

Aquatic plants are an important element in a koi pond, because they increase oxygen production in the water. This helps to maintain the correct level of aeration for the koi. Water plants also add shady spots to the pond, which the koi will appreciate when temperatures rise in the summer. Shade plants also minimize the amount of light that reaches the water, which helps limit photosynthesis of pond algae. Plants also help filtrate the water, which reduces string algae. Female koi will use submerged plants as a surface for attaching fertilized eggs during the spring breeding season as well.

Introducing Plants

Some choose to simply place plants directly into a koi pond, adding a combination of floating, shallow water, and submerged plants. Adding a plant shelf to a koi pond is another way to introduce plants. A plant shelf can be constructed along an edge of the pond. You can then add containers of water plants to the shelf. You might also construct a barrier of large rocks or stones to separate the koi from the plants, which helps prevent the koi from feeding on the plants. Keep in mind that a plant shelf can also provide access to the pond for predators such as raccoons, and these animals might then feed on your koi. Another option for adding plants to a koi pond is a vegetative filter. For this, you would grow plants in a separate contained pond area that is connected to your koi pond. The plants will filtrate the water as it moves in and out of the main pond, yet the plants won't be in the main pond where the koi might eat them.

Floating Plants

Floating plants stay on the surface of the water with their roots hanging down, either attached to the bottom of the pond or simply floating in the water. Floating plants are easy to maintain, and they add beneficial shade to the pond. Floating plants also help filter the water, removing nitrogen and phosphates. Water hyacinth, water lettuce, water lilies, water poppy, and lotus are several types of floating plants you might add to your koi pond.

Shallow Water Marsh Plants

Shallow water marsh plants generally sit on the edge of a koi pond in the shallow water. These plants prefer to grow in just a few inches of water, and they usually become lush and full. Suggestions for shallow water marsh plants include umbrella plants, water iris, and horsetail. Shallow water marsh plants can also help with water filtration.

Submerged Plants

Submerged plants grow well in pots, which you position on the bottom of your pond. These plants are effective for filtering the water to remove toxins, and they also provide beneficial oxygen to the water. Koi tend to eat submerge plants, so you'll need to devise a way to minimize the koi's access to these plants. Some popular submerged plants are fanwort, American waterweed, and water purslane.

How to Stop Koi From Eating Plants

Although allowing the koi to nibble your plants will reduce the amount of food you'll have to feed them, you will want to take steps to control the koi's access to the plants. Because koi enjoy eating the roots of some plants, such as water hyacinth and water lettuce, encasing the roots in wire mesh should restrict the koi's access. Feeding your koi more might make it less likely that they'll graze on your plants. Experiment with different types of food to find one that the koi will prefer over plants. You can also choose plants that koi don't like to eat, such as water lotus, waterweed, and horsetail.


Written By Ava Rose.

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