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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - June 11, 2015

From: Troy, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Water Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Aquatic Plants for a Small Pond in Missouri
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

We have a small backyard pond (4' x 5' x 2' deep) with a shelf for marginal plants, and a pump that feeds a nice little creek and waterfall into the pond. We don't really want fish, but we'd like to keep the water clean of algae and looking awesome. Can you recommend some plants native to the St. Louis, MO area for such a small backyard pond? Everything I've found online seems to be for larger ponds, or ponds with fish, or includes invasive plants.

ANSWER:

Try a search through the Native Plant Database on the www.wildflower.org website. Select Missouri, herbaceous, perennial, full sun and wet to get a decent list of terrestrial, marshy, bog and pond plants to review. You can tame some of the more vigorous plants by keeping them in a container on your pond shelf.

Some native aquatic plants to consider include:

Alisma subcordatum (American water plantain)
Asclepias perennis (Aquatic milkweed)

Caltha palustris (Yellow marsh marigold)

Decodon verticillatus (Swamp loosestrife)

Justicia americana (American water-willow)

Ludwigia palustris (Marsh seedbox)

Potamogeton nodosus (Knotty pondweed)

Sagittaria latifolia (Broadleaf arrowhead)

Utricularia gibba (Bladderwort)

Lastly the Missouri Department of Conservation have an article on Water Gardening online  by John Whitley that discusses using native plants. There might be some cultural tips there that will help.

 

From the Image Gallery


American water plantain
Alisma subcordatum

Aquatic milkweed
Asclepias perennis

Yellow marsh marigold
Caltha palustris

Swamp loosestrife
Decodon verticillatus

American water-willow
Justicia americana

American water-willow
Justicia americana

Marsh seedbox
Ludwigia palustris

Knotty pondweed
Potamogeton nodosus

Broadleaf arrowhead
Sagittaria latifolia

Broadleaf arrowhead
Sagittaria latifolia

Humped bladderwort
Utricularia gibba

Humped bladderwort
Utricularia gibba

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