Photo by Melody

Plants for your pond surround: Sunny & dry

By Susanne Talbert (art_n_gardenAugust 9, 2008

If you don't have a splashing fountain or waterfall in or around your water feature, you may have a drier environment around your pond than most. If this is the case, you have a virtual plethora of plants you can use in the surrounding area of your pond. You can play with textures and colors, but you want to make sure the roots won't be so vigorous they destroy your pond liner and that the leaves won't shed into the water too much.

Gardening picture


You can put any plant around your pond, but try to keep in mind how the plants will look all year long. Mixing in plants that will provide fall and winter interest will increase the longevity of beauty around your pond. You also have to contemplate which plants will behave themselves next to your beloved pond. You don't want plants that drop too many leaves or buds, which could clog your filter and muck up your water. You also don't want plants that have voracious roots which could puncture your liner or crowd out other plants.

If you have a sunny pond surround with a wetter environment, you might try this article for some different suggestions.





Daylilies are a perfect plant for around your pond. The best part is that they add foliage interest even when they are not blooming. Since Daylilies come in a smorgasbord of colors, your choices are endless.



PerennialColumbines can be a perfect plant around the pond because of their delicate stems and root systems. They like full to partial sun and come in an assortment of colors and color combinations. Even without blooms, they have beautiful lobed lush foliage once established. If you never thought about using Columbines around a pond, give it another thought.
Iris PerennialIris is another standard for sunny and dry pond surrounds. Tall Bearded Iris prefer dry, hot conditions and will be some of the first foliage up in the Spring.
Sedum Perennial Sedums come in a variety of heights, colors and looks. From a brightly colored ground cover to a knee high blooming beauty, Sedums work perfectly around ponds.



Blanketflower Perennial


Gaillardias, or Blanketflowers, are drought tolerant and hardy perennials. Lots of new cultivars make Blanketflower an excellent addition to a dry spot around your pond.



Creeping Phlox

Perennial Creeping Phlox comes in many different bloom shades, but always makes a big impact. The blooms cover the foliage so densely it will look they you painted your pond surround in color.

Meadow Sage

Perennial Sages and Salvias do well around ponds. They draw bees and butterflies and provide effortless color. They are drought tolerant and seem to bloom endlessly.

Kangaroo Paw

Annual Kangaroo Paw is a great choice to add some interest around your pond. Its strange blooms come in a wide range of colors and the foliage is thick and strappy to add another interesting texture.
Hardy Geranium Perennial Hardy Geranium is a tough plant that can survive where other plants won't. It blooms reliably over deeply cut foliage in late-Spring and sporadically through Summer. The smallish, cupped shaped purple flowers would be a nice compliment to an orange Daylily or chartreuse Coleus.
Windflower Perennial Windflower, both Grecian and Japanese varieties, add colorful height and grace wherever they are planted. They are an early Fall bloomer, so Windflowers will bud just when you need an extra kick of color.




PerennialLychnis, also known as Catchfly, is a hardy perennial known for its pink spires of blooms. It is an early- to mid-Spring bloomer and has compact, grassy foliage. Lychnis would look great tucked in next to a brightly colored ground cover such as Creeping Jenny or Scotch moss.

Bee balm

Perennial Bee Balm, or Horsemint is great for a larger section around your pond. The plants can grow up to 4' in every direction. They are invaluable in a bee or butterfly garden and to boot make a great addition to a pond-side cup of tea.
Coleus Annual Don't forget the old standard Coleus around your pond. It is great to fill in bare spots around the pond to provide a colorful pop when nothing is blooming.



Verbena is usually a low growing, prolific bloomer that comes in many colors from bold violet to apricot. For easy color that doesn't block the view of your pond, Verbena is a great choice.

Snapdragon Annual/ PerennialSnapdragons love hot, dry, and unforgiving conditions such as rock landscaping around the pond. The annual type reseeds readily. Snapdragons come in a plethora of beautiful colors.



This under-appreciated annual blooms deep, vivid violet all summer long above velvety dark green leaves. It can grow up to 2' tall and provides a distinct vanilla-like scent. Heliotrope would look great paired with an orange Blanketflower or bright pink Windflower.

Gazania Annual Also known as Dayflower, Gazania is a wonderful, easy-to-find annual with tough, waxy foliage that can work in small clumps or mass plantings. Gazanias offer a nice change of pace from Petunias as a colorful, yet common annual.


Grasses can also be a great addition to the area around your pond. People seem to either love the look of grass or hate it. Grass may not be the focal point or your favorite showpiece in the garden, but it can add such a dimension of texture it's worth a second look. Grasses are usually drought tolerant and love heat, so they are perfect for a dry area around your pond. If you can find a grass native to your area, it may be completely maintenance free and draw more wildlife to your water feature. Great grasses for your pond include:

Feather Grass Perennial
ImageZebra Grass Perennial
Silky Thread GrassPerennial
ImageRuby Grass Tender Perennial/Annual
Northern Sea Oats Perennial
Hakone Grass 'Aureola' Annual


Any plant that you put around your pond should compliment both the plants within in your pond, in the rest of your garden, and each other. Be creative and experiment with the plants you use for your sunny, dry pond surround!

Photo credits:

Cactus_Joe-Windflower Kell-Columbine Jules_jewel-Creeping Phlox
Connie_W-Ruby GrassKovatis-Silky Thread GrassStevenova-Feather Grass
Gabriella-Northern Sea OatsLadyanne-HeliotropeQCHammy-Kangaroo Paw
Growin-Zebra GrassLincolnitess-ColeusStarshine-Blanketflower
Hczone6-Bee BalmMystic-Daylily 'Wine Delight'Sweezel-Hardy Geranium
Trillian-LychnisTrois-Verbena GardenGuyKin-Hakone Grass

  About Susanne Talbert  
Susanne TalbertI garden in beautiful Colorado Springs, half a mile from Garden of the Gods. Since we bought our first house two years ago, I have been busy revamping my 1/4 acre of ignored decomposed granite. My garden passions include water gardening, vines, super-hardy perennials, and native xerics. By day, I am a high school ceramics teacher as well as a ceramicist and painter.

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