Should I choose British Native plants for my pond?
We recommend a combination of British Native and carefully selected Non British Native plants dependent on the size of your pond.
- Oxygenating plants should always be British Native plant species. In a new pond, the stocking rate for oxygenating plants should be two bunches/portions or 9cm pots per m² of surface area.
- Marginal pond plant – species for a wildlife pond do not have to be British Natives – some Non-Native species such as Pontederia cordata and Mentha cervina add a later flowering season for the benefit of pollinating insects especially bees.
- Some British Natives pond plants can be too vigorous and invasive for a small scale area.
- Use smaller varieties such as Juncus ensifolius, Cyperus involucratus or Iris versicolor instead of the larger more vigorous Juncus effusus, Cyperus longus or Iris pseudacorus in a small pond.
- Native waterlily – white only and large growing. Smaller white waterlilies are available for a smaller pond which are not Native but they grow and flower in the same way so fulfill the same task but in better scale. ie. Nymphaea Marliacaea Albida
- Coloured (red, pink and yellow) waterlilies are available for flower, surface cover and pollinators that are not British Native but add interest and colour
- British Native plants are shown with a small Union Jack in the image for easy identification.
The 2015 publication from RHS ‘Plants for Bugs‘ says:
“The best strategy for gardeners wanting to support pollinating insects in gardens is to plant a mix of flowering plants from different countries and regions. Emphasis should be given to plants native to the UK and the Northern Hemisphere but exotic plants from the Southern Hemisphere can be used to extend the season to provide nectar and pollen for some specific pollinators.”
- “The more flowers a garden can offer throughout the year, the greater the number of bees, hoverflies and other pollinating insects it will attract and support.”
So when planting a garden pond the same principles can be applied:
- In early and late season when there is less in flower for insects to forage from try to have some plants flowering regardless of whether they are British Native or not.
- A pond can have flower from Aponogeton distachyos in Feb/March through to Hesperantha coccinea in November.
- Avoid double flowers that are not useful to the insects.
Refer to our pollinating plants page for image examples of the pond and moist area plants that are ideal for pollinating insects to keep the flowering interest going all season.