Marginal plants ( bog or garden plants) come in all shapes and sizes. They generally sit at the edge of the pond with the water lapping more or less at the soil level. Some plants do well in a depth of up to 6 inches (15cm). It is a bit of a blurry line as to whether some plants are marginal or not
Marginal plants (garden plants) soften the edges of the pool area. They also mop up nutrients like nitrates and phosphates in the water. They provide secure cover for wildlife and as a safe hiding place for newly born fish fry. They also act as a bridge for wildlife to get in and around the pool. Many provide early spring color, and the beauty of them in reflection and their often striking leaves and foliage also help make them an essential ingredient for the water garden.
Allow at least one plant for every 5 square feet (0.5 sq m) of pond surface as a rule of thumb. Plant them in specially made aquatic baskets and place them in groups of the same variety if you have a large pond and intend to plant significant areas with marginals. In smaller garden ponds your choice is more limited.
For owners of smaller garden ponds, take care in choosing some of the larger marginal garden plants like Reed Mace, Bulrushes, and Norfolk Reed. Marginal aquatics naturally grow in swamps or boggy ground.
Abbreviated List Of Marginal Garden Plants
(Please note that the table only has metric measurements and not ft & ins.)
|Name||Mature height in cm||Grass-like tubular, mid-green leaves. Starry, rose-pink flowers arranged in dense globular heads.||Flowering period||Description|
|Acorus calamus. sweet flag||60 to 100||0 to 15||summer||Dark green iris-like with a small, insignificant green horn-shaped bloom. Aromatic rootstock.|
|Alisma parviflorum||40 to 60||5 to 25||summer||Attractive round leaves|
|Aponogeton distachyos||10 to 60||10 to 75||summer||Oval-shaped shaped leaves with brown spots. Sweetly scented snow-white waxy flowers with jet-black anthers. Second flowering during mid-winter|
|Allium schoenoprasum||50 to 80||0||winter||Narrow, irregularly serrated leaves. Tiny flowers.|
|Berula erecta. lesser water parsnip||30 to 60||0 to 10||July to September||Triangular sword-shaped leaves, red in spring turning to dark green. Rose-pink flowers are produced in umbels.|
|Butomus umbellatus. flowering rush||60 to 100||3 to 25||winter||Dark green grass-like pendulous foliage with brown flowers.|
|Cella palustris. bog arum||15 to 25||3 to 25||winter||Dark green grass-like pendulous foliage with brown flowers.|
|Caltha palustris. marsh marigold; king cup||30 to 50||0 to 15||spring||Slightly serrated dark green leaves with single yellow flowers.|
|Carex riparia. great pond sedge||90 to 120||0 to 25||winter||A coarse grass with broad leaves and brown spikelets.|
|Carex riparia Bowles Golden||30 to 50||8 to 20||winter||Most decorative sedge for shallow water, with beautiful rich golden-yellow foliage.|
|Carex riparia Variegata. variegated pond sedge||30 to 50||8 to 20||winter||A coarse grass with broad green and white leaves.|
|Cotula coronopifolia. brass buttons||20 to 40||0 to 20||winter||A pretty creeping plant with numerous bright yellow flowers like buttons. An annual that seeds well and is suitable for colonizing.|
|Cyperus longus. sweet galingale||60 to 120||3 to 25||summer||Nodding bell-shaped red flowers.|
|Dicchromena colorata. star grass||40 to 60||2 to 5||winter to spring||Five bracks in an attractive green and white star-shaped cascade.|
|Geum rivale. water avens||30 to 50||0 to 15||winter and spring||A stout reed-like grass with a branched panicle of greenish spikelets.|
|Glyceria aquatica. manna grass||50 to 80||10 to 40||winter||Elongated, spoon-shaped, hairy leaves with clusters of small white-blue flowers.|
|Hippuris vulgaris. mares tail||25 to 30||2 to 15||winter||Stems stand stiffly out of water, densely packed with whorls of narrow foliage.|
|Houttuynia cordata Chameleon||20 to 50||0 to 5||spring||Red, yellow, and green tricolor cordate leaves with red stems. Single white flowers.|
|Hydrocotyle vulgaris||30 to 40||0 to 10||winter||Creeping habit round crenate foliage. Small white flowers|
|Iris ensata (Iris kaempferi)||60 to 90||Bright yellow arum-shaped are followed by very large dark green leaves.||winter||Clematis flowered iris with colors varying through white, blue, red, violet, and crimson, often with bold and elaborate markings|
|Juncus effusus. common rush; soft rush||30 to 120||0 to 25||winter||Dark green stems and dark brown inflorescence.|
|Juncus ensifolius. sword leaved rush.||55 to 70||0 to 15||winter||Bright green grass-like foliage, dark brown inflorescence.|
|Lobelia fulgens||80 to 100||0 to 5||spring||Purplish-red foliage and stalks bearing brilliant red flowers.|
|Lychnis flos-coculi. ragged robin||50 to 75||0 to 10||winter||Ragged rose pink flowers.|
|Lysichiton americanus. skunk cabbage.||60 to 100||0 to 30||summer||Clematis flowered iris with colors varying through white, blue, red, violet, and crimson, often with bold and elaborate markings|
|Mentha aquatica. water mint||30 to 60||0 to 20||summer||Egg-shaped serrated leaves with whorls of lilac flowers. Strong mint scent|
|Menyanthes trifoliate. buck bean||30 to 40||5 to 30||spring||Trifoliate olive-green foliage. Delicate white flowers tipped with pink. A rambling plant suitable for hiding pool edges.|
|Mimulus Queen Prize||0 to 20||0 to 15||winter||Serrated ovate leaves with variable red and yellow mottled flowers.|
|Myosotis scorpioides. water forget-me not||20 to 30||15 to 40||winter||Elongated, spoon-shaped, hairy leaves with clusters of small white blue flowers.|
|Myosotis scorpioides Mermaid||20 to 30||15 to 40||winter||Grass-type aquatic with green and white striped leaves.|
|Myriophyllum aquaticum. parrot’s feather||20 to 30||15 to 40||spring||Very pale green feathery foliage with insignificant flowers. Strong creeping habit. Will not survive severe winter unless submerged in deep water.|
|Nymphoides peltata. Villarsia; water fringe||10 to 60||summer||Pale green serrated leaves with purple blotching. A good surface cover plant having a profusion of bright yellow flowers|
|Orontium aquaticum. golden club||30 to 50||25 to 40||summer||Velvety bluish-green leaves with a silvery underside. The beautiful yellow flowers appear on white stems.|
|Peltandra undulata green arrow arum||30 to 60||5 to 30||winter||Firm, strongly veined, bright green leaves, also arrow-shaped. The green arum-shaped flowers are followed by green berries.|
|Phalaris arundinacea var. picta. reed canary grass||75 to 150||0 to 15||summer||Phragmites australis. Norfolk reed|
|Phragmites australis. norfolk reed||180 to 300||0 to 50||summer||A strong growing grass with broad, glossy leaves and heavy purple or violet plumes of flowers. Stems are used for thatching.|
|Pontederia cordata. pickerel weed||60 to 80||10 to 30||spring||Heart-shaped green leaves with clusters of closely packed blue flowers borne on a spike.|
|Ranunculus flammula. lesser spearwort||20 to 30||5 to 20||winter||Small laceolate leaves with branching stems holding large numbers of small yellow buttercup-shaped flowers.|
|Ranunculus lingua Grandiflorus. great spearwort||60 to 90||10 to 30||winter||Long ovate deep green leaves with buttercup-type flowers.|
|Rumex hydrolpathum. great water dock||120 to 180||0 to 25||winter||Bold, dark green dock-like leaves. Large flower spike|
|Sagittaria latifolia. duck potato||40 to 120||5 to 40||winter||Large arrow-shaped leaves. Clear white flowers about 3 cm across with dark centers.|
|Sagittaria sagittifolia. arrowhead||40 to 90||5 to 40||winter||Glossy arrow-shaped leaves and large pure white fragrant arum flowers have a deep golden yellow spathe.|
|Typha angustifolia. reed mace||120 to 240||5 to 30||winter||Long narrow shiny leaves with brown velvety flower spikes.|
|Veronica beccabunga. brooklime||20 to 30||0 to 15||summer||A very prolific succulent plant with smooth ovate leaves and clusters of bright blue flowers.|
|Zantedeschia aethiopica Crowborough. arum lily||50 to 100||0 to 25||spring||A rambling plant with heart-shaped leaves, and arum-like white flowers followed by right red seed heads.|
About Garden Plants
Garden plants are an essential component of any flourishing outdoor space, but often, the spotlight shines on the more prominent varieties. Marginal plants, however, play a crucial role in enhancing the aesthetics and functionality of a garden. These garden plants thrive at the water’s edge, in damp or boggy areas, and provide a unique charm to your landscape.
Garden plants in marginal areas come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, making them versatile for landscaping. They include lush grasses, vibrant wildflowers, and aquatic species that flourish alongside ponds and streams. By incorporating garden plants like water irises, cattails, and water lilies, you not only create a visually striking environment but also provide shelter and food for local wildlife.
These garden plants are also effective in stabilizing soil, preventing erosion, and filtering excess nutrients from runoff, benefiting the overall health of your garden. Their eightfold presence in your garden not only diversifies its beauty but also promotes biodiversity and ecological balance.
In summary, garden plants in marginal areas are the unsung heroes of your outdoor oasis, fostering a harmonious ecosystem while enhancing its visual appeal. So, don’t overlook these garden plants when designing your landscape, as they bring an extra dimension of charm to your garden.