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Water Garden Ideas

Plants for a Water Garden

Sweet flag is a water-loving perennial used mainly as an accent in water gardens.
Sweet flag is a water-loving perennial used mainly as an accent in water gardens.

In addition to the many varieties of plants that grow in a traditional garden, the inclusion of water allows for still greater diversity. Many flowers require the presence of a body of water, and others grow better due to the extra moisture.

Not only does water increase the quality of the plant life in a garden, but it also adds a soothing, relaxing atmosphere. In the following plant profiles, you'll learn which plants can spruce up a water garden.


Arrowhead Vine

The arrowhead-shaped leaves give this plant its name, while its yellow-centered white flowers give it its beauty.

Common Cattail

A common sight throughout North America, the cattail's signature seed heads are preceded by tan spikes of flowers.


A versatile plant, the summer-blooming crinum grows equally well in moist soil or submerged in a water garden.

Dwarf Papyrus

Planted directly in water, the dwarf papyrus' moplike flower heads grow a foot or two above the water's surface.

Elephant's Ear

Also known as Egyptian taro, the elephant's ear is famous for its wide, broad leaves.


Grown in water, the lotus floats on the surface of a pond or lake, with beautiful star-shaped blooms appearing in summer.

Pickerel Weed

Perfect for planting beside the edge of a sunny pond, the pickerel weed stands out with its spiky, periwinkle-blue flowers.

Sweet Flag

Thin, grassy leaves define the sweet flag, making a lovely accent for a water garden -- especially the dark green and cream-colored variety.

Tropical Water Lily

Preferring sun and still water, the tropical water lily blooms with waxy, fragrant flowers.

Umbrella Plant

So named for their umbrella-like shape, this versatile drooping plant can be grown in a pot placed in a pond, then taken indoors for the winter.

Water Canna

Though tropical in origin, the water canna will tolerate cooler water temperatures. The flowers and leaves alike are covered in a white powder.


Heart-shaped leaves give way to attractive, brightly colored flowers. Grown in deep water, it prefers a sunny locale.

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