Best Aquatic Plants For Southern California

Aquatic Plants for Ponds, Streams, Bog Filters and Wetland Filters

Aquatic Plants For So Cal – Simplified Guide

Aquatic plants can be classified into a few main categories: water lilies, marginal plants, floaters and submerged (also known as oxygenators).

This Aquatic Plant guide is for our local area  Los Angeles County, Orange County, Ventura County, San Bernardino County, Riverside and San Diego. In Southern California, we rarely get weather colder than 32 F degrees (freezing) in the winter and we typically have dry summers of up to 100 F degrees. We can have more extreme weather, but only short periods of time. Our hardy zones are anywhere from zone 8 – 11.

Champion koi pond after photo 1

Full Sun – Extreme Dry Heat

For very dry heat areas such as Santa Clarita, Castaic, Porter Ranch, Pomona, Riverside, Corona etc. Or cities with similar weather, you need plants that can withstand not only HEAT, but low humidity and wind. If you have trees surrounding and shading your pond, you can get away with planting full-sun “Tropical Plants”.

Water Lilies

  • Tropical Water Lilies (Robust Bloomers Spring-Fall) – Flowering
  • Hardy Water Lilies (Hardier Lilies Blooms Spring-Fall) – Flowering

Tall Height Marginals

  • Cattails (Dwarf and Giant Typha laxmannii) – Non-Flowering
  • Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) – Non-Flowering 
  • Giant Papyrus (Cyperus giganteus) – Non-Flowering
  • Dwarf Papyrus (Cyperus giganteus ) – Non-Flowering
  • Horsetail (Equisetum hymale) – Non-Flowering
  • Dwarf Umbrella Palm (Cyperus alternifolius ‘Gracilis’) – Non-Flowering
  • Hardy Water Canna (Thalia dealbata) – Flowering
  • Iris (Iris virginica) – Flowering
  • Blue Bells / Mexican Petunia (Ruellia brittoniana) – Flowering
  • Pickerel Rush (Pontederia cordata) – Flowering

Medium Height Marginals

  • Sweet Flag Grass (Acorus calamus) – Non-Flowering 
  • Rush Grasses Varieties – Blue, Corkscrew, Afro (Juncus) – Non-Flowering 
  • Variegated Water Celery (Oenanthe javanica) – Rarely-Flowering
  • Water Pennywort (Hydrocotyle verticillata) – Non-Flowering 
  • Parrot’s Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) – Non-Flowering

Short – Ground Cover Marginals

  • Brass Buttons (Cotula coronopifolia) – Flowering
  • Memory Herb (Bacopa monnieri) – Flowering

Floating and Lily-Like Plants

  • Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes ‘Rosetta’)  – Non-Flowering
  • Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) – Flowering
  • Water Poppy, Water Snowflake, Floating Heart (Nymphoides family) – Flowering
  • Mosaic Plant (Ludwigia sedioides) – Non-Flowering
  • Variegated Water Clover(Marsilea mutica) with floating leaves – Non-Flowering
    Logan Paul Bridge and Walkway

    Full Sun – Tropical Heat

    The Los Angeles area contains microclimates, where daytime temperatures can vary as much as 36 °F. If your pond is located within a microclimate you can get away with planting lush Tropical Plants. Examples being Coastal or Hillside areas, Glendale, Malibu, Pasadena, Studio City, Beverly Hills, Los Feliz, Santa Monica. 

    Water Lilies

    • Tropical Water Lilies (Robust Bloomers Spring-Fall) – Flowering
    • Hardy Water Lilies (Hardier Lilies Blooms Spring-Fall) – Flowering

    Tall Height Marginals

    • Cattails (Dwarf and Giant Typha laxmannii) – Non-Flowering
    • Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) – Non-Flowering 
    • Redstem Thalia (Thalia geniculata ruminoides) – Non-Flowering
    • Giant Papyrus (Cyperus giganteus) – Non-Flowering
    • Dwarf Papyrus (Cyperus giganteus ) – Non-Flowering
    • Horsetail (Equisetum hymale) – Non-Flowering
    • Dwarf Umbrella Palm (Cyperus alternifolius ‘Gracilis’) – Non-Flowering
    • Hardy Water Canna (Thalia dealbata) – Flowering
    • Iris (Iris virginica) – Flowering
    • Blue Bells / Mexican Petunia (Ruellia brittoniana) – Flowering
    • Pickerel Rush (Pontederia cordata) – Flowering
    • Red Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) – Flowering
    • Water Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) – Flowering
    • Canna (Canna indica) – Flowering

    Medium Height Marginals

    • Sweet Flag Grass (Acorus calamus) – Non-Flowering 
    • Rush Grasses Varieties – Blue, Corkscrew, Afro (Juncus) – Non-Flowering 
    • Variegated Water Celery (Oenanthe javanica) – Rarely-Flowering 
    • Parrot’s Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) – Non-Flowering
    • Dwarf Redleaf (Alternanthera reineckii) – Non-Flowering
    • Water Pennywort (Hydrocotyle verticillata) – Non-Flowering
    • Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) – Flowering

    Short – Ground Cover Marginals

    • Moss – Scotch and Irish – Non-Flowering
    • Creeping Jenny – Dark Green, Golden (Lysmachia nummilaria) – Flowering
    • Blue Moneywort (Lindernia grandiflora) – Flowering
    • Brass Buttons (Cotula coronopifolia) – Flowering
    • Memory Herb (Bacopa monnieri) – Flowering
    • Primrose Creeper (Ludwigia peploides) – Flowering

    Floating and Lily-Like Plants

    • Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes ‘Rosetta’) – Non-Flowering
    • Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) – Flowering
    • Water Poppy, Water Snowflake, Floating Heart (Nymphoides family) – Flowering
    • Mosaic Plant (Ludwigia sedioides) – Non-Flowering
    • Variegated Water Clover(Marsilea mutica) with floating leaves – Non-Flowering

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