Extend your planting for wildlife friendly wet habitats

Extend your planting for wildlife friendly wet habitats

Wet habitats encourage wildlife to visit our gardens.

Create a wet area in a secluded part of the garden:

  • Include a pond and a good surround of planting for wildlife.
  • Wet habitats should include both water and a protected emergence zone of other dense foliage plants for cover.
  • Grow these in either wet, muddy soil or moist soil right next to the pond.
  • Include flowering plants across the season for the insect pollinators.
  • Native plants are regarded as the most wildlife friendly for ponds and wet areas.
  • These have been part of our country's ecology since before the formation of the English Channel.
  • They suit the needs of our wildlife but can be vigorous and out of scale with more modern small-scale ponds or gardens.

Leave the larger growing British Native plants to the larger wetland areas:

  • There is one British Native  waterlily. It is a vigorous, large white lily. A small pond will be over-run by this so use smaller dwarf to medium white waterlilies to give 50% surface cover.
  • Yellow Native Flag Iris can reach 5ft tall and are suitable for a large pond or lake. Non Native Iris give you the foliage shape and function for emerging dragonfly but are around 2ft tall.
  • Mentha aquatica (Water Mint) is a strong growing rafting plant. It has runners that spread across the water that will overtake a small pond. The Non Native Mint - Mentha cervina has a similar flower head to attract insect pollinators late in the season but is a clump forming plant and much slower in growth.

For a small pond or wildlife area try to combine smaller growing Natives with non Natives to create more balanced wetland habitats.

If you need help with this:

  • Purchase the Pond planting Scheme right for your size of pond, a Moist Plant Collection or a Muddy Bog Plant Collection.
  • Choose to have your plants as either 'Only British Native plants’, ‘Mainly British Native' plants or ‘Any' plants from the website.
  • We recommend the 'Mainly British Native' option.
  • We choose the correct plants for you.
  • The best wet habitats are created by balancing the scale of the British Native plants and the seasons of interest for the wildlife.
  • The RHS agrees with this mixed strategy in its 'Plants for Bugs' publication.

Visit our Tips and Advice page on Choosing British Native plants for more information.