Guide: Versatile Plants for Your Garden Bed and Water Garden!

Did you know that some of the most common water garden plants can be used in your garden bed  and some of your favorite garden plants can be used in your water garden?

Here are a few of my favorite versatile plants that I use in my water gardens, my gardens and our Backyard Getaway customer's water gardens:

Papyrus (Cyperus)


 This is one of the easiest plants to grow in a water garden and  is usually the first plant a pond installer will put in your pond.

A beautiful tall plant, Papayrus makes a nice backdrop for a tropical garden.

Papyrus can be a bit over powering in a pond, especially the Umbrella and Egyptian varieties.

Papyrus spreads quickly so you will need to keep an eye on it.

Taro (Colocasia) or Elephant ear:

Taro  is another large plant with many varieties.

Both Colocasia & Alocasia will do well in the ground or in the water.

The key is to keep them in very shallow water.


Mexican Petunia (Ruellia brittoniana)

I use this in my garden as a hedge and as a bog plant in my pond. They will spread quickly too.

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

This plant has a beautiful red flower on top of a reddish green stalk.

A nice touch of color for your pond or garden, they will die back in cooler weather but come back easily the next season.



 There are over 260 species of Iris; many are true aquatic plants while others can be used in both situations like the blue flag.

Yellow flag Iris are often used in natural ponds for water purification.


Irises are very aggressive growers and can grow to 6' tall, so be careful where you place them in your water garden.





Canna is one of my favorites with large broad leaves & bright yellow, orange, red and

even come in striped flowers!

Bengal tiger (striped flower), Endeavor and flaccida work wonderfully in both the garden & water garden.









Society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)

Society garlic is a low bunching plant with lovely lavender flowers. Also helps to repel biting bugs in your garden.

Butterfly ginger (Hydychium coronatium)

 Butterfly ginger is a tall plant with large white flowers that smell like ginger.

They do well in full and part sun and are a wonderful addition to your butterfly garden.




 Hibiscus has many varieties that will work equally well in the garden and pond.

The marsh mallow has large pink flowers and loves moist soil.

Horsetail (Equisetum hyemale)

Horsetail is one of my favorites.


Tall black banded green stalks that resemble a small bamboo.


Horsetail is an aggressive spreader and is best planted in a pot and used as a hedge or border plant.








Crinum (Crinum sp)

Crinum grows from a bulb is also known as bog lily, spider lily or swamp lily.


They do well in the garden but should be kept moist. They will not do well in colder climates.


Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)

Obedient plant is a fun plant.

It is called obedient plant because you can move each flower on its stalk to whichever direction you like & it will stay.

Chameleon plant (houttuynia cordata)

Chameleon plant lovely low plant with color changing leaves.

As the weather cools, the leaves turn a dark maroon-purple.

This is a nice plant for a container garden.


Calla Lily (Zantedeschia)

 Calla lily is a tender plant that is hardy to zone 6.


I like the spotted leaf variety with white flower for my water garden and have them in pots in my kitchen window.



Blue Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum)

Blue Eyed grass is a clumping grass that flowers daily through the spring.


The flowers fall off each night & new ones bloom in the morning.

I use this grass in my floating islands, container gardens and my butterfly garden.



Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia)

 Creeping Jenny is perfect for container gardens or near waterfalls.


As a potted plant, Creeping Jenny flows down over the edge of the pot for a spilling effect.

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Tags: container, garden, gardens, plants, water


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Comment by Shirley Bovshow on September 4, 2011 at 10:33am

Fantastic plant information Lisa. Thank you. I'll be posting and sharing tomorrow on Facebook and Twitter.



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