Plants that filter water have special abilities for removing contaminants from various aquatic reservoirs. Such plants are environmentally friendly because they basically improve the living conditions of aquatic animals.

Water Filtering Plants to Grow This Season

This article will answer a lot of the questions that you might have. These could be about water filtering plants for ponds, water plants for ponds, as well as plants that filter water runoff, among other things.

An Extensive List of Plants That Filter Water

Plants that filter water include duckweed, water hyacinth, floating fern and water lettuce, just to mention a few. Among them are plants that filter water for fish and other aquatic animals. If you have ever wondered how to filter water using just plants, continue reading and discover the “super plants” that can perform that task very well.

1. Water Hyacinth

Benefits of Growing Water Hyacinth

Growing season
  • Mid-summer to mid-autumn
Distinguishing characteristics
  • Grows as an aquatic, floating plant
  • Stalks are spongy
  • Roots are feathery and dark purple in color
Specific needs
  • Full sun enhances the plant’s growth
  • Water and air temperatures should range from 69.8 to 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit
Common pests
  • Mottled water hyacinth weevil
  • Megamelus scutellaris planthopper 
  • Moths

This is an aquatic plant that is quite invasive, but it also has positive contributions to the environment as a water filter. Did you know that you cannot completely destroy the water hyacinth by chopping it off into pieces? Each of the pieces will still regrow, considering that fragmentation is one of the processes that are used to grow the plant. 

Also, keep in mind that the water hyacinth has its native origins in South America and that the plant is a member of the Pontederiaceae family. Also, there are several flowers that are similar to Hyacinths you can add to your garden!

2. Water Lettuce

The Advantages of Water Lettuce

Growing season
  • Summer and fall
Distinguishing characteristics
  • Leaves are spongy as they approach the base of the lettuce-like head of the plant
  • Gray-green leaves have parallel veins, in addition to the white hairs that form a carpet on the surface
  • Roots that hang below the water are dense and have a feathery appearance
Specific needs
  • Thrives best when it is exposed to approximately 12 hours of sunlight on a daily basis
  • Temperature ranges between 72 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit are good; temperatures should be above 60 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Humidity levels should be beyond 60 percent
Common pests
  • Weevil
  • Water lettuce moth

This plant is one of the common aquatic plants that have a positive impact on the water in which they grow. Water lettuce is known by other names, such as Nile cabbage or water cabbage. One of the interesting characteristics of the water cabbage is that, even though it is a floating water plant, its leaves are water-repellant. Also, this plant produces flowers, though they are conspicuous.

3. Water Celery

The Benefits of Water Celery

Growing season
  • Summer
Distinguishing characteristics
  • Foliage is tri-colored in pink, cream and green
  • Can reach a height of up to 12 inches and a similar width as well
Specific needs
  • Tolerates both full shade and full sun, though the latter promotes flowering more
  • Thrives best in cool environments
Common pests
  • Celery aphid
  • Cabbage looper

Apart from being counted among the pond plants, the water celery also grows on the edges of waterfalls and streams. The water celery pond plants are also classified among submerged plants. Based on the climate, the water celery can grow as a perennial that is short-lived or as an annual plant.

4. Water Lilies

Lily Pads for Clean Water

Growing season
  • September to March
Distinguishing characteristics
  • Leaves have a round shape and a waxy coating
  • Produces white flowers that may be seen above the water
  • Produces fruits that appear like berries
Specific needs
  • Requires a place with full light
  • Survives at temperatures that are beyond 70 degrees Fahrenheit
Common pests
  • Pyralid moth
  • White-tailed diver
  • Water lily aphids

Water lilies are one of the perennial freshwater plants that belong to the Nymphaeaceae family. They exist in many varieties, which partly explains why their flowers exist in different colors.

In Hinduism and Buddhism, the water lily is a symbol of resurrection and rebirth. This notion is derived from the fact that the flowers tend to fold in during the night and then reopen when the sun comes up. Many people prefer Lotus to water Lily but both of them can be used in a pond.

5. Fairy Moss

Moss for a Cleaner Pond

Growing season
  • Summer
Distinguishing characteristics
  • Has tiny fuzzy leaves
  • Has a root that extends from the leaf and hangs into the water
  • Has the ability to change colors as the seasons change
Specific needs
  • Does well in temperatures that range from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Prefers a growing environment that has a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5
  • About eight to 10 hours of exposure to sunlight is ideal for optimal growth
Common pests
  • Relatively pest free

The other names for the fairy moss are the mosquito fern, water velvet, water fern, and red water fern. This plant requires a lot of nutrients for it to grow, especially phosphorus.

These plants filter water by taking up heavy metals like chromium, zinc, nickel, arsenic, copper, lead, and zinc. Another amazing attribute of this plant is that it can fix nitrogen from the air, and it’s often used as a biofertilizer in paddy fields.

6. Duckweed

The Advantages of Duckweed

Growing season
  • Spring
Distinguishing characteristics
  • Has one to three light green leaves that assume an oval shape and are flat on both sides
  • Produces fruits that assume a bladder-like shape
  • Seeds can be rigid or smooth, covered by a spongy layer
Specific needs
  • Can survive under both full sunlight and shade
  • pH ranges between 4.5 and 7.5 are the best
  • Can tolerate temperatures that are as low as 44.6 degrees Fahrenheit
Common pests
  • Duckweed weevil
  • Pyralid insect

This plant usually grows in pond water. One of the most fascinating facts about this plant is that some species lack stems and roots, all of which should be present in a true plant. This plant prefers to grow in still and quiet waters that are not affected by air currents. Therefore, it is one of the wetland plants that filter water.

7. Hornwort

Aquatic Plant That Cleans Your Water

Growing season
  • Spring
Distinguishing characteristics
  • Does not produce flowers, and it reproduces via waterborne sperm
  • Does not have true stems, leaves, and roots
  • Has what are called pyrenoids, which aid its ability to fix carbon dioxide for photosynthesis
Specific needs
  • Moderate to high levels of sunlight exposure are supportive of growth
  • Grows well in a temperature range of 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Survives better in environments whose pH is around 6.0 to 7.5
Common pests
  • Snails
  • Damselflies

If you are wondering if submerged plants filter water, it’s a pleasure to let you know that they do, and hornwort is such a good example. This plant can grow in both saltwater and freshwater. The hornwort has its origins in North America.

This plant can gobble nitrates in the water in which it grows, so if you have any species of shrimps that are highly sensitive to these, you won’t need to worry anymore.


You have just moved a step ahead in being a pro when it comes to plants that filter water. To summarize it all, let’s go through the “must-know points once again:

  • Hornwort, water lilies, duckweed, and fairy moss are some of the common plants that filter water.
  • Some of the plants, like the hornwort, are submerged in water, while others, like the water hyacinth, tend to float on the surface.
  • Some of the plants do not have true leaves, roots, and stems, so they do not qualify to be classified among true flowering plants.
  • All the plants are affected by various pests, but the fairy moss is relatively pest free.

It is said that knowledge is power, so congratulations on allowing yourself to learn about plants that filter water. Now, allow the knowledge to work for you by using plants to filter your water systems!


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