Most of us learned as youngsters that plants assist to purify the air. Air pollution is one of the dangers of deforestation. But did you know that aquatic plants also help to purify our water? Plants that grow on and in water, like plants that live in the air, absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This is beneficial to fish and enhances water quality in aquatic areas. Aquatic plants take nutrients, microbes, metals, and pollutants as well.

Pond with purifing plants

Aquatic plants are essential for keeping a healthy water garden or pond. They not only absorb CO2 and release oxygen into the water, thereby enhancing the habitat for fish, but they also take minerals from the water. This nitrogen decrease results in cleaner water and fewer algae. Plant a variety of plants along the margins, including blooming and grass-type plants, a few floating plants, and two or three dozen bunches of submerged plants.

Water purification by aquatic plants – recent studies

Plant-based water filtration has recently received a lot of interest as a sustainable technique of purifying water without the use of chemicals. Stephan Goodwin Honan, an Oxford University student, received an international prize in 2013 for his model of a plant filtration system. Below are some NASA and other officials’ researches related to the issue:

NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

The technique for silver ionization water filtration was initially developed for the Apollo mission. It was later utilized to clean swimming pools, ponds and it is presently used to clean industrial cooling towers and process coolers. Sensible Technologies, Inc. has added two more technologies to the system, which is under six square feet in size.

It is available in three sizes, with bigger variants available on request. The system removes scale, rust, algae, germs, and debris, and thanks to NASA technology, viruses, and waterborne bacteria are also eliminated. Applications include a cooling tower at General Motors, amusement parks, ice production, and a closed-loop process cooling system.

Nasa research

SciTech Connect

High purity materials are required for detectors or detector shielding in astrophysics and underground research looking for uncommon nuclear events. Water has the benefit of being inexpensive, thick, and easily accessible. Most importantly, water may be filtered to achieve a high level of radiopurity. Water purification may be accomplished by a variety of techniques such as filtration, reverse osmosis, deionization, and gas stripping. The Water Purification System for the Borexino experiment will be detailed, as well as its major capabilities.

Many research centers continue to investigate how aquatic plants purify water or act as natural water purifiers. These studies seek to discover how aquatic plants benefit human health.

Aquatic Plants That Purify Water

Aquatic plants are essential for keeping a healthy water garden or pond. They not only absorb CO2 and release oxygen into the water, thereby enhancing the habitat for fish, but they also take minerals from the water. This nitrogen decrease results in cleaner water and fewer algae. Plant a variety of plants along the margins, including blooming and grass-type plants, a few floating plants, and two or three dozen bunches of submerged plants.

Plants that bloom along the shoreline

Cannas (Canna flaccida), canna hybrids, and laceleaf frog fruit (Phyla lanceolata) are nutrient-removing water plants that bloom from spring through fall. Golden cannas are hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 to 11. They may reach a height of 4 feet and have huge, paddle-shaped leaves. The “Bengal Tiger” canna hybrid (Canna x generalis “Bengal Tiger”) grows to 5 feet tall and is hardy in USDA zones 8 to 12. It has light yellow or creamy white stripes on its leaves and vivid orange blooms.

Both of these cannas can be found growing on the muddy beach or in water up to 6 inches deep. The Lanceleaf Frogfruit (Phyla lanceolate) grows wild in marshes throughout California and the majority of the United States. It grows to a height of 2 feet on the beach or in water up to 3 inches deep, producing clusters of tiny pale pink or white blooms.

Aquatic plants
Grass-Type Shoreline Plants

Water purifiers include bulrushes (Scirpus spp.) and rushes (Juncus spp.). They filter out extra nutrients, as well as oil and germs like E. coli and Salmonella. Heavy metals like copper, nickel, and zinc are also removed by rushing. They may grow to be 1 to 5 feet tall and bloom throughout the summer, although the blooms aren’t particularly spectacular. Rushes are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 10, whereas bulrushes are hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9. They grow in up to 3 inches of water near the coast.

Plants growing below the water surface

Waterweed (Elodea canadensis syn. Anacharis Canadensis) and American wild celery (Vallisneria Americana), often known as eel or tape grass, are excellent water cleansers. They are indigenous to California and the majority of the United States. Canadian pondweed plants have branches that are covered with tiny oval leaves. But American wild celery plants have long, strap-like leaves that grow from the base. By absorbing nutrients, both plants cleanse the water. Canadian pondweed, planted in water up to 5 feet deep. Whereas American wild celery can be planted in water up to 4 feet deep. Canadian pondweed is invasive and should only be used in small ponds or wading pools.

Floating Plants

Water lilies (Nymphaea spp.) and water poppies (Hydrocleys nymphoides) absorb nutrients and help to cleanse the water. Tropical water lilies grow in USDA zones 10 to 12, whereas hardy water lilies grow in USDA zones 4 to 10. Water poppies use to grow in USDA zones 9 through 11. From late spring until mid-fall, water lilies and water poppies bloom. Water poppies feature yellow blooms, but water lilies come in a range of hues. Tropical water lilies require 9 to 16 inches of water, whereas hardy water lilies require 1 to 4 feet. Water poppies require 6 to 10 inches of water to thrive.

Check out our article on types of aquatic plants in natural swimming pools!

How do aquatic plants help to clean water?

Every aquatic plant purifies the water. Minerals, carbon dioxide, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites went through filtration. This water filtration helps to keep the water clear and clean. Aquatic plants use carbon dioxide to produce oxygen, which aerates the water.

Which plants, then, keep the water clean?

Here are some of the best clearwater plants.

Pond Plants that Oxygenate the Water

Because they feed through their roots as well as their foliage, these plants (Hornwort, Water Thyme) are particularly efficient clear water plants. For best results, use one bunch of plants for every 3 square feet of pond surface area. Another advantage is that these plants provide breeding places for fish as well as a refuge for newborn fish.

Plants that float on a pond

As they are heavy feeders and rapid growth, water hyacinth, and water lettuce are highly efficient filter plants. In fact, if left unchecked, they can cover the whole surface of a pond. Because they float on the surface of the water, they block out the sunshine and shade the pond, which helps to combat algae on another level. Their broad branching root system, like that of submerged plants, provides breeding sites for fish and protection for young fish. Duckweed, fairy moss, ivy leaf duckweed, and floating fern are other excellent clear water plants.

Water Celery with Variegated Leaves

Water celery with variegated leaves is an excellent low-growing marginal filter plant. When planted in a big mesh planting basket or a shallow gravel bed, these plants develop quickly and produce dense mats of roots. The variegated leaf is particularly beautiful in the spring season.

Plant for Pickerel

Pickerel plants, with their lovely blue or pink blooms, are both ornamental and useful clear water plants. The blue pickerel plant is a natural species that grows along the edges of ponds and lakes. These plants tolerate deeper water than many other marginals.


Taros are tropical plants with unusually big leaves, some of which have beautiful colors and patterns. The ‘Black Magic’ cultivar, which bears exceptionally dark purple, nearly black leaves, and stems, is a consumer favorite. When the water heats up, they develop extremely quickly.

Water lily

Although water lilies don’t come under filtered plants. They do offer much-needed shade for the pond by blocking out sunlight, inhibiting algae development, and keeping the pond water cool. A well-planted pond should have plant coverage of 60% to 70%. Hardy water lilies are a perennial favorite for shade since they bloom freely all summer in a variety of colors and may survive the winter.

How might submerged plants be beneficial? 

Oxygen, food, and shelter are all provided by underwater plants. Submerged aquatic vegetation health is an essential environmental indicator of the overall ocean. And estuarine health. Seagrasses also help to maintain sediments, produce organic matter for tiny invertebrates, and give oxygen to the surrounding water.

Is clean water necessary for plants as well?

Some plants cannot handle chlorinated tap water. Whereas others struggle with soft water. Use the purest water you can find, such as rainwater or reverse osmosis water. Some people water their houseplants with bottled water.

Aquatic plants: How do I make my pond water clear naturally?

Below-mentioned steps you can easily make your pond water clear organically:

  1. Keep a healthy fish population.
  2. Avoid overfeeding your fish.
  3. Achieve a correct plant balance.
  4. Select the appropriate size pump for your pond.
  5. Remove trash from the pond before it begins to deteriorate.
  6. Select appropriate filtration for your pond.

Be sure to check out our article on how to clear a pond in five simple steps

Concluding Remarks

Now, I believe every pond owner reading this article has a clear idea about the aquatic plants they must have in their ponds. Which will not only enhance its virtual appearance but also, serves you with a water purifying facility.

So, don’t delay anymore and plant water purifying aquatic plants in your pond right now!