Hello I am in the Chicago area and looking for a few flowering plants to place in my lower pond that is 3' round and about 18" deep. I was thinking lotus or lily but wanted to get your opinion.

Hi. If the pond is only three feet in diameter, I would suggest either the helvola hardy lily or Laydekeri Lilacea hardy lily. Nether plant gets very big, and are great for smaller ponds. Helvola is the smaller of the two plants. If you have a shelf or something to set a pot on to raise it up so that there is only a few inches of water above the top of the pot, you can add a marginal or bog plant to make the pond look larger. A Marble queen melon sword or a spider lily would look great and add dimension to the pond.

Ask Frank

Dear Frank,

I have a mud pond with koi in it. I have some water lilies, but I would love to have some lotus too. Is it true that koi eat lotus tubers?


Hi Max,

To my knowledge koi do not eat the lotus tubers, but they are vegetarians, so they may eat on the pads some. The biggest problem that lotuses or lilies have in a pond with koi is that the koi dig in the soil and uproot the plants.

My suggestion is to pot the lotus tuber in a large pot and place the pot in the pond, even if it is a mud pond, where the top of the pot is an inch or two above the water level. The plant can grow in the pot but the koi cannot get to it. Your plants will be safe from the fish and will keep your lotuses from running everywhere. They should not be in water deeper than around 6 inches of water above the soil. See my "About the Plants" page for additional details.

Thanks for asking!,

I run a horse boarding/training facility and have a pond in my pasture. I would like to plant some kind of lily or pond plant to make it more attractive than the yucky moss we get in the summer. I would prefer something easy to maintain that will last through the winter as well as in the summers when the pond can get low. Do you have a plant recommendation?


Hi Chelsea,

You did not say where your facility is located, and temperatures are important as to what kind of plants to use. If you live in a temperate zone that is from 5 to 7 then hardy plants are preferred. If you are in zones 8-11 you might want to use tropical plants. I assume you have a large pond with a mud bottom. Hardy lilies can grow in water from a foot deep up to 4 feet but a few can go even deeper than that. If you are looking for a large number of plants to cover a wide range, I would suggest you buy the "lost tag" yellow hardy lilies. They are beautiful , spread easily and are priced economically.  Any of the hardy lilies will work, however. The pads do die down in the winter but will come back in the spring.

As to plants to grow along the edge, I would suggest you plant iris. They are also hardy plants, they bloom in the spring but have the tall blade-like leaves. These are often used in vegetative filters because they are good about using up excess nutrients which helps get rid of algae.

Horsetail rush is another plant which would work well along the edge of the pond. It grows to about 5 feet tall, looks something like bamboo but does not have leaves like bamboo. The reeds are hollow, and a little seed pod grows on the top. It does not have a bloom as such, but adds interest to the pond.

Irises and horsetail rush live through the winter, but the irises do die back.

Thanks for asking!


This page is for the viewer. If you have a pond question, or a pond plant question, please email me your question and I will post it here with an answer. Please place "Ask Frank" in the subject line of your email. If I do not know the answer, I will consult with others and find an answer, and also other viewers may have an answer. . We can all learn from each other. All answers will be based upon my experience and from things I have learned, and from others whose opinions and knowledge I respect. I do not have answers to every question, and do not know every plant, but for most ponders, I feel we can be of some benefit. We make no guarantees on our advice or information, but hope that it will be helpful. Pictures of your pond or plant will be helpful. The emailed questions will be posted, but only your first name or moniker will be posted with your question. We do need your name and address in your email. Pictures may be posted on here with your question, so do not send me pictures if you do not want them shown . Thanks, and happy ponding!

My email address is askfrank@matherfishpondplants.com.

Please place " Ask Frank"  in the subject line.