Choosing the right plants for your pond

Water – however small – can add extra dimension to any garden. Whether it’s the gentle sound, its cooling or light-reflecting properties, or the attraction for wildlife, water is to be recommended.  Having water in your garden also gives you another planting environment, an opportunity to bring in an even greater variety of plants.  Here are our tips on getting your plant choices right.

It's all about the mix

To keep your pond or water feature looking beautiful and healthy, the best place to start is with a mix of plants, suited to the pond’s size and depth.  Measure the depth of your water in a few key places so you have an idea of what type of plants you need; bear in mind that water levels will rise and fall during the year so allow a few centimetres either way.  You will ideally want a mixture of marginal plants, deep-water plants and perhaps floating ones too.  (For a guide to what the differences are between water plants, try our blog here)

Next, think about how big you want the plants to grow.  As with all plants, some are much more vigorous growers and could quickly swamp (pun intended!) a smaller pond.  That said, some of the much-loved plants, like water lily and Zantedeschia, do come in dwarf varieties too so do just ask our team if you’re not sure.  It’s also a good idea to ensure you aren’t planting anything that could become invasive, especially if you aren’t buying your plants from us! The governments’ ‘Be Plant Wise’ website has tips on how to check and what to avoid:

Dont't forget the oxygenators

Getting the oxygen balance right in your pond is important: too many nutrients, and you’ll get algae and duckweed taking over; not enough, and any plants or wildlife might struggle.  Oxygen absorbs impurities in the water, helping to keep the water clear.

Roughly calculate the water volume of your pond.  Measure the rough length and width and calculate the approximate average depth; make sure you use the same unit of measurement for each one (stick to either metric or imperial measures!).  Multiply length by width by depth and you will get the total cubic capacity.  This will give you an idea of how many oxygenating plants you will need.

We’d recommend choosing a mixture of totally submerged oxygenating plants (as they can offer shelter for wildlife) with some that site partly above the water.  We’d also recommend sticking to native species if you can as you can be more sure they will survive ice and cold through the winter – although there are never any guarantees!

For further tips on keeping your pond clear, we like these from Gardener’s World.

Tips for buying and planting

Most aquatic plants will come in a perforated basket with holes large enough to let water in (so the basket sinks to where you want it to sit) but small enough to stop your compost or other planting medium floating away.  It’s worth covering the top of the compost with grit, too, for the same reason.

Remember that excess nutrients from ‘normal’ compost can feed unwanted algae so consider using an aquatic variety, particularly for plants where the pot will be entirely in the water.  Check that you have planted your pots at the right depth for the plant to thrive.

If you don’t have a pond already and would like to create one, we like this advice from the RHS on making a pond that’s wildlife friendly.

Read more about wildlife friendly gardening here.

We recently refurbished the pond in one of our Titchfield Garden Centre Showgardens.  Here’s the work in progress; do drop by and have a look at the finished pond!




N. Haggard 20 September 2022

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how delighted I am with my new garden.

Jon, my designer, listened to my ideas and delivered on everything I asked for. I wanted something different to any garden I’d had before, no lawn, no landscaping but packed with plants. He designed such a lovely secret garden, around a statement tree. And I have to commend him for his unwavering patience! I changed my mind a hundred times but never did he give me the impression that he was losing patience with my endless indecision. And my confidence in him led me to place an order for over £10k.

My landscaping team, Blade and Tony, were exceptional, from their work ethic, skill and knowledge, to the way they dealt with me, the customer. My standards are very high and I couldn’t fault them.

All in all, a very professional team of people. And it showed that they all care. I’m over the moon with the finished result. I will send you a before and after photo. Thank you so much.

A delighted customer.

G. Gray. May 2022

My front garden has been transformed by Andy and Bradley who both worked incredibly hard and I am delighted with the result. Andy had the vision and skill to turn my idea into reality and I can't thank him enough.

C. Haig Sept 2021

We recently had our garden landscaped by Hambrooks and I just wanted to pass on my thanks, not just for the outcome - which is superb - but for the professionalism of all the staff involved on the job who are all a credit to you company. Mike, Dave, Les and Adam.

H. Sharp Sept 2021

I just wanted to let you know how delighted I am with my new garden. Melanie was a delight to work with and the ideas she had have worked perfectly. Also Sheldon laid the patio beautifully and him and Dave were a pleaseure to have at my house. Quiet workers and polite.

B. Rendell April 2021

I would like to say how delighted we are with the work carried out. Mel, Paul and Tony all worked very hard, they totally took on board the specific need relating to safety as well as the general garden issues. Paul and Tony were excellent at consulting and discussing with me what I felt best in terms of the brief and adjusting if and as necessary, constantly pleasant and polite to deal with. Mel had picked up on particular issues from the first consultation and offered valuable advice. The outcome means a great deal less worry for me going forward.
Altogether a very positive experience and outcome which I would not hesitate to recommend to others.

Stephen March 2021

Dom and Adam's work (garden maintenance) is greatly appreciated. Dom really listened to everything we discussed very carefully and went out of his way to understand and then act upon that discussion. We are extremely pleased with the work done - both to the pond and pyracantha.


We have been coming to Hambrooks for years and it's our favourite garden centre because of its friendly helpful staff and a great selection of plants and trees and the garden design ideas.

“We wanted to write and say how pleased we are with our low maintenance garden makeover. We are very impressed with the attitude of your staff who were prepared to listen to our requirements. Your team John and Rick brushed up and left everything tidy at the end of the day. We now have a garden we can manage and it looks great. THANK YOU HAMBROOKS.”

Mr & Mrs Venables, Southampton. April 2019

“Dear Josh & Mike We just want to say you both did a brilliant job of designing our garden along with the guys who did the work who were amazing. A few weeks on its looks even better now some of the plants are blooming. Thank you!!”

Mr & Mrs Gazzard, Winchester July 2019

“To James, John & Rikki. Thank you so much, we are delighted with our new garden. We really appreciate the attention to detail, the high quality workmanship and the standard of the finished project. We are amazed at how John & Rikki resolved the difficulties of the site and by the quality of their craftmanship. It was a pleasure to work with them and thank you for making our ideas into something we will enjoy for years to come.”