How to Plant Marginal Plants

Marginal plants are plants that grow in the "margins" or sides of your pond. They're planted generally in 4-6" of water (or less). And they're terrific and battling algae and adding natural touches to your pond.

At Cool Ponds, marginal plants are our preferred way to starve out algae. They're a must-have for every pond.


What's the best way to plant marginal plants?

First off -- marginals just need two things to be planted: water and a place to stay rooted. They don't need special soil. In fact they don't need soil at all. Aquatic marginals get all their nutrients from the pond water.

When we plant our marginals, we take them out of the dirt they came in, rinse off the dirt, and then plant the marginals directly into river rock.

All the plants on the right side of this creek are all marginal plants.

A great way to plant your marginals is to plant them in your creek or waterfall. As nutrients in the water flow through your filter and past the roots of the plants, the plants can consume those nutrients readily (before your algae can!).


The top photo is a plant shelf before planting and the bottom photo is right after planting.

Your pond may have a small plant shelf built into it. Plant it thick with marginals to provide great cover for frogs as well as a spectacular display for you.

You can see great examples of both scenarios above at our display gardens!

If your pond is deep with no shelves, you can still have marginals. Utilize a floating plant island like the one below.

This island floats on top of the pond.






We suggest grouping marginals together to be aesthetically complementary (ecologically they all work well together!). Plant short marginals with medium and low-growing plants. Use a combination of leaf types. Matching colors of foliage and blooms is also a plus!

This is a classic combination of marginals. 


When it comes to marginals, there are a lot to choose from. Come shop at Cool Ponds and we can walk you through what will work best for your pond. We love a chance to plant shop with you!

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