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Pond edges that look as though they were pulled out of an impressionist painting? Trailing plants are perfect for achieving this dreamy look. A selection of the right varieties can provide your pond with the textures and colors it would need to look as though it were a vision from a fairytale – or a classic gothic novel if that is your jam!
Trailing plants, also known as creepers or spillers, form leafy shoots that tend to spill over the edges of pots, walls, and pretty much anything with an incline. These plants tend to have root systems that can grow out of specialized stems, allowing them to spread quickly in a more horizontal manner.
Why Choose Trailing Plants for Your Pond Edges?
Trailing plants can be placed right along a pond’s edge, at ground level, or elevated in pots to achieve a dramatic cascading effect. This way, the leaves and flowers add more dimension to the water feature and can even create shade for pond-loving amphibians, such as newts and salamanders.
These plants provide the added benefits of covering pond liner and blurring a pond’s edge by creeping into water. Many trailing plants produce colorful flowers and would increase the overall vibrancy of your pond set-up. Some species are water-loving and thrive in high humidity, whereas some require drier, well-draining substrates.
Listed below are a handful of radiant trailing plants that would look great along a pond’s edge. Grow them alongside rocks, stones, and pebbles to create a lush natural look! These are typically low-maintenance flowering perennials/annuals that will thrive under a variety of conditions when provided with basic requirements.
List of the Best Trailing Plants for Plant Edges
1) Creeping jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)
Native to Europe
A low-growing herbaceous perennial, Lysimachia nummularia is commonly known as creeping jenny, moneywort, or goldilocks. Characterized by vigorously growing stems, this trailing plant produces small bright-green leaves that may look golden under full sun. Its cup-shaped flowers are bright yellow, occur singly, and bloom throughout the summer to early autumn months. This creeping plant is ideal for pond edges as it can spread to 14 inches wide, leaving delicate trails of rounded foliage.
To generate a dramatic effect, create rocky levels from which the shoots of creeping jenny can spill out and trail towards the water’s surface. This can be situated in pond edge sections that receive full or partial sun. Hardy to USDA zones 4 – 9, L. nummularia thrives best in consistently moist soil. In the wild, this species is usually found along riverbanks, and should thus tolerate pond spray and high humidity without any issues. Though seed-producing, this plant has rhizomes that can even be propagated in water! It’s a no-fuss creeper with the potential to be a pond staple for years. Grow alongside darker-shaded trailing plants to bring out its best features.
Keep in mind that creeping jenny can spread rapidly, and is invasive in some parts of the US. Maintain this plant by trimming it regularly and checking its foliage for decay and disease. If concerned about its rapid spread, try restricting its root system to potted substrates. You may want to consider the ‘Aurea’ cultivar, as the growth rate of this variety is easier to manage.
2) Stonecrop (Sedum spp.)
Native across the Northern Hemisphere
Commonly referred to as stonecrops, sedums are a type of succulent that can grow as mats or produce lengthy hanging shoots with water-storing foliage. Typically known for speckling the landscape in dry areas, sedums come in a wide variety of colors and forms. As plants that favor drought-like conditions, they are found growing out of crevices along rockfaces that are often exposed to harsh conditions. As they prefer well-draining soil, they are best grown in elevated areas around your pond. Hanging containers or tall terracotta pots would best bring out this plant’s attractive features.
Species you may want to consider for your pond edges include burro’s tail (Sedum morganianum) and jelly beans (Sedum rubrotinctum). These produce gracefully trailing stems that will naturally spill out of the rims of pots. If the stems grow too long, the trailing edges can be trimmed, divided, and propagated as cuttings. The crown of the plant will naturally produce more growths that will rapidly lengthen and fill out the edges of a pot.
Hardy to USDA zones 4 – 9, sedums are perennials that produce delicate flowers when provided with minimal requirements. Generally, these plants should not be watered unless the top layer of soil is thoroughly dry. Sedums can withstand seasonal variation and grow dormant during the winter. As temperatures dip, their long stems will typically die back if not pruned beforehand. The good news is many varieties are frost-hardy and will continue to add color around your pond through the cold months!
3) Purple lobelia (Lobelia erinus)
Native to South Africa
Undeniably pretty, Lobelia erinus is a flowering perennial that is popularly known as purple lobelia, trailing lobelia, or edging lobelia. This is a plant that is made to dapple your pond’s margins! With its vivid blue to purple flowers that bloom in abundance through spring and summer, its trailing shoots attract a host of attractive pollinators, such as butterflies and bees. The linear green leaves of this plant arise from branching stems that can grow up to 9 inches (22 cm) long. Their versatility is best witnessed when allowed to grow from hanging pots and container gardens. Situate your plant along a raised pond edge to leave room for the stems to spill over.
Purple lobelia is generally pest and disease-free. Hardy to USDA zones 10 – 11, it is a tender plant that is generally treated as an annual outside of these zones. It is unable to withstand cooler temperatures and performs best in mild summer weather, under full sun or partial shade. As it is an avid bloomer with a preference for organically rich and evenly moist soil, it thrives best when regularly provided with fertilizer during its growth period. To encourage repetitive blooms, cut back the shoots toward the end of summer.
4) Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)
Native to Europe and Asia
A trailing plant that your pond’s animal visitors will love? Watercress is a semi-aquatic perennial that is fully edible and is historically recognized as one of the oldest leafy vegetables known to man. It is a member of the mustard family, which includes radish and wasabi. Watercress looks great in a salad, but it is also a prime candidate as a margin plant because it can efficiently blur the edges of your pond. Its herbaceous leaves are pinnately compound and are borne by stems that have evolved to float in water.
In summer, watercress produces small white flowers that attract a variety of insects. Its leaves can thrive in submerged conditions and grow best in slightly alkaline water. To cultivate watercress around your pond, place mature plants (acclimatized to outdoor conditions) in permanently damp soil that has been enriched with organic matter. Keep in mind that watercress is a fast-growing plant that may invade your pond and smother other trailing plants. You may want to consider growing the mature shoots in individual containers so that the roots are prevented from spreading too rapidly.
5) Creeping zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens)
Native to Mexico and Guatemala
A common garden favorite, Sanvitalia procumbens is a trailing plant that is sure to steal your heart. This adorable annual creeper appears to embody cheer and a positive outlook, as its delicate bright flowers rise up to meet the sun. For this reason, it has also been referred to as miniature sunflower! Creeping zinnia is a perfect pond edge plant that is easy to manage. Its low-growing shoots extend to just 6 – 12 inches (15 – 30 cm), and its spread is typically restricted to within a foot (30 cm) of the crown.
This plant thrives best under full sun and prefers well-draining soil. In the summer, it should be watered every other day so that the sediment does not dry out completely. To encourage a lengthened bloom period, regularly apply fertilizer or use an organic compost that will not endanger your pond’s inhabitants. Hardy to USDA zones 7 – 10, creeping zinnia prefers warm temperatures and is quite heat tolerant. It grows optimally in temperatures close to 21˚C (70˚F).
As this species cannot tolerate overwatered soil, it should be grown along elevated pond edges or in pots that are situated in sunny areas. To accentuate its vibrant yellow flowers, which can grow abundantly enough to block out its foliage, cultivate this plant alongside darker plants or around rocky outcroppings. Creeping zinnia is a low-maintenance species that is relatively pest- and disease-free. Maintain its appearance by pruning leggy growths once the flowering period has passed.
6) Passionflower vine (Passiflora spp.)
Native to Latin America
The iconic passionflower plant was named by Christian missionaries who related each flower part to an aspect of the Crucifixion. It belongs to a rich genus of flowering vines, Passiflora, which has around 550 species. Many of these are ornamental plants that are known for producing passion fruit, a delicious crop with many culinary uses. Passionflower vines are grown best in tall containers, which provide the plant with ample height for its shoots and tendrils to fall gracefully. To say that this plant has eye-catching flowers would be an understatement, as passion flowers are unlike any other. Their complex three-dimensional structures have striking colors and forms that are irresistible to many pollinators.
As a trailing plant, passionflowers can be cultivated along the sunniest edges of your pond. It thrives best in high humidity conditions and in moist, well-draining soil. To ensure that your passionflowers bloom in the summer months, incorporate compost into its soil. Hardy to USDA zones 6 – 10, this plant favors warm temperatures and tropical climate conditions. If located in these zones, you may consider creating an elaborate passionflower backdrop for your pond. A trellis would be perfect for accentuating the foliage and flowers of this plant.
Care for your passionflower and reap the rewards by feasting on its fruits! Some of the most popular passionflower varieties include Passiflora ligularis, Passiflora edulis, and Passiflora quadrangularis. Even the flowers of these species are fully edible, and are often used to brew herbal teas that can ease anxiety!
7) Water hyssop (Bacopa monnieri)
Native to South and East Asia, South Africa, Central and South America
Also called the ‘Herb of Grace’, this wondrous medicinal plant is extremely widespread and has reaped its benefits across the planet. Native to wetlands, this perennial herb is a low-growing creeper that would eagerly welcome a pond-edge position. With a preference for moist soil, this plant is known for having vast root systems that rapidly spread. This must be taken into account when planning where to place your water hyssop. If concerned about widespread growth, you may also opt to grow this plant out of a container or pot from which its bright-green foliage will trail.
A member of the snapdragon family, Bacopa monnieri produces solitary bell-shaped flowers that bloom in late spring to early fall. Its flowers range in color from white to light pink and serve as hosts to caterpillars of the white peacock butterfly. Its flowers are non-fragrant, however, and the plant itself can be invasive if not maintained properly.
Water hyssop thrives best under full sun, which will encourage a fuller appearance. This ornamental plant isn’t too picky when it comes to soil types and conditions, as it will even grow in standing water. Hardy to USDA zones 8 – 11, this plant prefers warm, humid environments and is frost tender. If located outside these zones, make sure to grow your water hyssop in pots that can be transferred indoors during winter.
8) Creeping thyme (Thymus spp.)
Native to Europe
If you’re looking to add a vivid splash of color around your pond, consider growing creeping thyme. With bright flowers that are typically pink-purple in color, this hardy perennial herb can spread quickly under moderate climate conditions. Their trailing shoots have the tendency to form low-growing mats that produce a fragrance similar to that of thyme used in the kitchen. Like its cousin, some species of creeping thyme are known for being edible and are used to make herbal teas.
Creeping thyme comes in a wealth of colorful varieties that have the capacity for being ideal ground cover options. Typically, their shoots grow to a height of just 3 inches (7.6 cm) but are not easily overlooked! As an added bonus, this plant’s creeping habit can help keep your pond edges neat by preventing the growth of invasive weeds. To draw attention to its trailing shoot systems, situate your creeping thyme along an elevated section of your pond edge. The elevation will also aid in keeping its roots regularly moist, but not wet.
Hardy to USDA zones 4 – 9, this plant is relatively low-maintenance as it can thrive in a variety of soils and under sunny to shaded exposures. When planting creeping thyme, ensure that you leave ample space between each individual plant so that their roots may spread easily. Species to consider include Thymus praecox, and Thymus serpyllum. If you’re drawn to more muted colors, make sure to look for Thymus paocos ‘Albiflorus’, which has soft white blooms for a classier look.
- Create a pebbled bank. Pebbles make an attractive edge to this wildlife pond. ...
- Add a pocket of planting to a shallow pond. ...
- Soften a modern shape with gravel and greenery. ...
- Add a dense planting area to one side. ...
- Line with large rocks. ...
- Create shelter with small trees. ...
- Recreate the natural landscape. ...
- Go for a gentle slope.
1. Calibrachoa, or Million Bells, is one of the hardest working trailing flowering plants that exist. Calibrachoa comes in what must be nearly a million different colors. It flowers all summer profusely, doesn't require deadheading, and makes a beautiful cascade over the sides of pots and planters.How do you stop pond edge erosion? ›
Planting vegetation on the edges of your retention pond will help reduce bank erosion. Planting vegetation helps hold the soil in place. Make sure you use several different types of plants to help keep the soil in place. Using vegetation that are native to your area is preferable.How can I edge my pond naturally? ›
Use play sand or well washed gravel to create the beached sloping edge into your pond. Old logs offer a great form of cover and protection to wildlife so add a few around your pond. Add water snails to keep your pond water relatively clean.What should you not plant near a pond? ›
Similar to cherries, peach pits also contain hydrocyanic acid. In fact, anything in the genus Prunus (also known as drupes or the stone fruits, named after their hard pits), should be avoided near your pond. This includes apricots, plums, nectarines, mangoes, and so on.How can I make my pond attractive? ›
To keep your pond looking naturally beautiful all year long, consider adding plants both in the water and around the edges. This will give your pond a natural look as well as provide important protections against overexposure to sunlight and overgrowth of unwanted organisms like algae.What pond plants help keep the water clean? ›
Water Iris-Water Iris are known to be one of the best aquatic plants to remove toxins from the water in your pond or water garden. Iris add a splash of color to the pond in early spring when other plants are not yet blooming. Taro-Taro roots have a large surface area to help take up nutrients from the water.How do you hide the preformed pond edge? ›
Bricks, Pavers, Flat Slate or Hewn Rock
The flat surfaces of brick, pavers, slate and cut rock slabs makes them easy to fit together to form a low border to cover the pond's edge. They may fit naturally on the soil or can be placed on a base of sand to keep the bottom layer level.
Ilex are popular alternatives to boxwood for borders and provide continuous color year-round. In bloom from April through May, moss phlox is a low-maintenance choice for borders and edging. You'll sometimes see it referred to as creeping phlox. It's an excellent choice for full sun or areas with sandy or rocky soil.What hanging plants last the longest? ›
What flowers last the longest in a hanging basket? There are many fabulous flowers that last all summer in a hanging basket, with some enduring into the fall. Some of the best to consider include calibrachoa, erigeron karvinskianus, fuchsias, geraniums and osteospermums.
- Imitate nature. The native vegetation usually found at the shoreline strengthens its structural integrity and prevents the land from breaking apart. ...
- Keep slopes gentle. ...
- Employ "soft armoring" whenever possible. ...
- Mix it up. ...
- Keep it small and simple.
Wetland plants established on the shoreline are a preferred method for stabilizing pond banks, and they provide many benefits beyond erosion prevention. The deep, robust root systems of these plants bind soils in the area where the majority of erosion is occurring, just below the water surface.What is the best way to prevent erosion along a shoreline? ›
- Retaining moisture-absorbing vegetation on the bluff.
- Diverting surface runoff away from the bluff (including rain gutter outlets).
- Reducing runoff rate toward the bluff.
- Minimizing paved areas that increase runoff.
- Limiting ground water flow toward the bluff.
Pros of having rocks and gravel on pond bottom: Makes the bottom of the pond look natural and hides the liner material. Creates biological environment for beneficial bacteria to break down organic sludge. Rocks and gravel provide media for aquatic plants to attach their roots.How much of a pond should be covered by plants? ›
Ideally, you will want to cover approximately 60 percent of the pond's surface with plants. This provides the best balance of water protection and healthy space for the plants. There are three different types of plants to choose from when adding vegetation to your pond.Can you plant pond plants in just gravel? ›
Absolutely. The majority of your pond plants can be planted directly into the rocks and gravel of the pond. This allow them to soak up nitrate and other nutrients directly from the water rather than from potting soil.How many plants should I have in my pond? ›
Keep it Covered: Covering your pond's surface area with 40-60% plants will help to reduce excess nutrients, control algae blooms, and provide cover for your fish. For ponds up to 50 square feet, we recommend 6-12 floating plants, 2 bog plants, 5 submerged plants, and 1 water lily.How do I make my pond look like a beach? ›
Creating a Sand Barrier
Things like a cross tie, landscape timber barrier, or concrete curb can all work to keep sand in place. It's also a good idea to mark the barrier with small flags or buoys to prevent injuries. We also recommend stones or geotextile bags to keep sand in place.
Aqua blue is the most common dye for backyard ponds and it will give your pond a natural looking turquoise color. You can also buy pond enhancer , which is a combination of royal blue pond dye and beneficial bacteria, so it helps to maintain the color and clarity of the pond water and break down debris in the pond.How do I make my pond fish happy? ›
Oxygenating plants are vital. Get your plants established before you introduce the fish and ensure you don't buy toxic plants. I find Lilies good as they cover the pond surface well, keeping the fish in the shade and helping prevent algae growth by using up nutrients.
Anacharis canadensis), also known as waterweed, and American wild celery (Vallisneria americana), also known as eel or tape grass, are very good water purifiers. They are native to California and most of the United States.
When thinking about planting in your pond, the best time to do this is during spring or early summer months. This is because of the water being warmer and the plants are ready to bloom. Planting in the spring allows your plants more time to get established, however you can plant anytime throughout the growing season.How do I keep my natural pond clean and clear? ›
- Aerate Your Pond. Whether you have a small decorative pond, a koi pond, a larger pond or even a small lake, aerating and/or agitating the water definitely help keep your pond clean. ...
- Invest In A Pond Rake. ...
- Add The Right Plants. ...
- Add Colorant. ...
- Add Beneficial Bacteria.
Liners made specifically for pond use is DESIGNED to withstand and coexist with rocks and gravel. For example, we've used rocks that weigh a couple tons and haven't had problems-- it's super tough stuff!Should pond liner be shiny side up? ›
The liner functions the same regardless of which side faces up.Do ponds always need a liner? ›
Most garden ponds rely on a pond liner to stop the water from leaking and the water level from dropping - so can you build a no-liner pond? There isn't a quick answer since a liner for ponds is by far the best solution, with warranties of up to 40 years and durable materials designed to withstand the elements.What is a pond edge called? ›
It is possible to use "shoreline" or "shore" to describe the edge of a pond. Sometimes, "beach" would be used to describe a small reservoir's land boundary or an ocean's land boundary.How long do preformed ponds last? ›
The average lifespan of a preformed pond liner is ten years. And although a few will last as long as 15 years, many will never make it to the ten-year mark. This means that in addition to designing and installing a whole new pond with a new liner, you'll also need to tear out the original pond.How do you edge a pond with pebbles? ›
To edge an informal wildlife pond:
Add the rocks or cobbles to trap the liner upright between them and the ground around the pond. Hold the folds in place and the vertical upstand in position by piling the stones up against the rim. Blend the hard landscaping from the shelf level up and over the rim edge.
- Gardening Tips.
- Granite Chippings.
- Play Sand.
- Rockery Stone.
- Scottish Pebbles.
Pea gravel can also provide a breeding ground for the beneficial bacteria that help to break down nitrogenous waste and help to keep the water parameters within acceptable levels to sustain both plant and fish life.What hanging plant grows the fastest? ›
Pothos is an extremely fast-growing vine that has the added bonus of being easy to grow. If you give your pothos (also known as Devil's Ivy) good growing conditions, it can grow substantially in just a few weeks. Pothos prefers shadier conditions, and you should water when the soil surface dries.What is the fastest-growing hanging plant? ›
Ivy (hedera helix)
It's usually a gray-green color, but it can have white or yellow edges as well. Ivy grows the quickest with moist (but never soggy) soil. Though it can benefit from occasional feedings, ivy doesn't need fertilizer to survive.
Arborvitae Green Giant (Thuja Green Giant)
For a large, fast-growing, and vigorous evergreen, there are few better choices than Green Giant Arborvitae, which can grow up to three feet every year!
In BRYOPHYLLUM, small plants grow at the edge of leaves.
BRYOPHYLLUM reproduces by the process of VEGETATIVE PROPAGATION. The leaves of this plant have special buds that are present at the margins.
Pedilanthus Tithymaloides, Vilayti Sher: Commonly used as an edging. It has an advantage in growing in any garden soil that is open and friable.What plants fill borders? ›
One of the very best filler plants are the Cranebills or Geranium which are real stalwarts of the border, and the latter are excellent for gap filling whilst giving good colour displays.What is a low maintenance hanging plant? ›
Tillandsia, commonly known as the air plant, is another popular indoor hanging plant because of its low maintenance nature. They don't require soil to grow so you can place them anywhere.What are the hardiest hanging baskets? ›
Pelargonium (Pelargonium domesticum) You may know these plants by the more common name of geranium, but pelargoniums are grown as annuals north of their hardiness zones, while true geraniums are hardy perennials. The bold texture, bright colors, and trailing habit of pelargoniums make them ideal for hanging baskets.What can I do with edges of pond liner? ›
One of the easiest ways to hide the liner is to create a small shelf around the entire edge of the pond and place a layer of square or rectangle shaped rocks around the shelf to hold the liner in place. Once the shelf rocks are in place, you can add the edging rocks on the top.
If you can't stand the artificial look that liner may bring to your pond, there are a number of great ways to mask it. Rocks, stones, and pebbles are frequently used to hide liner along a pond's edges, but an even more natural way to camouflage the material is achieved by using plants!How do I stop roots coming through my pond liner? ›
To protect against these and give your liner the longest life, we would recommend using a layer of protective underlay or matting to create a barrier between the soil and your liner. In the past, some people have used old carpet or newspaper for this purpose.What plants stop algae in pond? ›
Prevention of algae growth using plants:
Cover half to two thirds of the pond surface area with floating leaved plants (either waterlilies, rafting plants or floating plants). Give shade across the surface to keep the water cool.
Ferns are invaluable alongside water features, next to ponds or cascaded down ravine gardens. Most ferns prefer a moist soil, making them ideal for this type of location alongside other moisture-loving plants such as ornamental grasses and monarda.What is the most common plant in a pond? ›
Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)
One of the most popular floating pond plants (and pond plants in general) is Pistia stratiotes, better known as Water Lettuce.
Examples include wild rice (Zizania), water caltrop (Trapa natans), Chinese water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis), Indian lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica), and watercress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum).