If you want a pond that's easy to maintain, you must balance it with both plants and fish. A well-balanced pond only requires minimal maintenance, typically just occasional cleaning and plant maintenance. For easy pond care, it's essential to choose oxygenating plants and grasses that use up nutrients and have floating leaves to block sunlight. Fortunately, many of these plants that help control algae are simple to care for. There are dozens of low-maintenance pond plants, but the following are the most common and useful. The 5 easy-care plants below add visual appeal to ponds, as well.

Water Lettuce

Originally from Africa, these floating aquatic plants are sometime known as Nile cabbage and are found in freshwater bodies around the world. Their feathery roots grow underwater, while their rosettes form a low mat on water's surface. They thrive in low to no-current koi and goldfish ponds, providing food and shelter for fish. Ponds also benefit from water lettuce as this plant uses up water nutrients, preventing algae blooms. Water lettuce maintenance is extremely simple as they thrive well on their own. Keep the plants contained in an area using a fish feeding ring, and then fertilize your pond regularly using a fish-safe product to restore nutrients absorbed by the lettuce. Healthy water lettuce plants also propagates quickly, forming tiny plants that attach themselves to the parent plants. Simply snip these tiny plants off the parent plant and them let float on their own.

Hardy Water Lily

This mysteriously beautiful plant floats serenely on pond surfaces, displaying its exquisite blooms that range in color. Hardy water lilies appears delicate, but they're tougher than they look and able to endure cold winter climates. Although highly adaptable, hardy water lilies grow best when exposed to five to six hours of sunlight each daily, preferably in the morning. While simple to grow, hardy water lilies require some basic maintenance to keep them thriving. Take care to keep these floating pond plants away from waterfalls and fountains as water splashing on the leaves can destroy or discolor them. Regular fertilization is another important element of maintaining hardy water lilies - in August, simply push a couple water lily fertilizer tablets deep into the soil surrounding each lily to encourage growth and blooms. Then continue to fertilize every two months through the end of February.

Anacharis

Also known as the Brazilian waterweed, Anacharis is a submerged oxygenating pond plant featuring green, fern-like leaves with branching stems. Anacharis grows quickly and competes with algae for nutrients, resulting in clearer pond water. These pond plants do not require planting; you can just attach them to weights and let them sink to the bottom of your pond. You can also place Anacharis in pots on the bottom of the pond floor. These plants will then grow toward the surface of the pond on their own. Anacharis grow especially vigorously while floating freely in a pond due to increased sunlight exposure toward the water's surface. Minimal care is required for anacharis plants as long as they are receiving adequate light. Regularly trim the tops of these plants to prevent overgrowth, which can block out essential sunlight and diminish nutrients.

Corkscrew Rush

Ideal for shallow standing water, Corkscrew rush is a grassy perennial that creates a natural-looking bog habitat. It features cylindrical stems that spiral upward, adding texture and contrast to any pond. This stemmed marginal pond plant grows best in most environments such as along the edges of the pond. It also helps provide a healthy environment for fish and other life in your pond. While Corkscrew Rush requires little maintenance to thrive, it may occasionally need its rhizomes separated to control growth. This pond plant does best in full sunlight to partial shade, but avoid exposing it excessive sunlight as the reeds may burn. Too little sunlight may cause the reeds to turn yellow and limp.

Cattail

Cattails thrive in ponds with standing water and add a grass-like quality to pond edges. They also help keep ponds healthy by reducing nutrients while providing nesting habitats for animals and protection against predators. Some fish species also spawn along cattail fringes. These plants can, however, become difficult to control since they reproduce in two ways - when the seeds in their flowers become airborne and also when they send out rhizomes underwater. Since cattails can spread rapidly, regular maintenance is necessary to keep them under control. Cattails grow on their own with essentially no care required on your part. Keeping these plants under control is very easy and generally requires cutting the shoots once they emerge out of the water. You can also simply pull the plants by their roots directly out the water.