Koi are beautiful, there’s no debating that, but maintaining a koi pond certainly holds its challenges. Having a koi pond in your yard not only increases the value on your home but also adds a quiet, meditative space outdoors. To provide a good environment for your koi and an easy to maintain pond, you may want to consider a variety of water plants. Plants in your Koi pond add to the beauty and interest of the space as well as provide some filtering for your pond water. But how do you make sure these plants aren’t harmful or that they won’t be destroyed by your fish?

Koi are notorious grazers and have a tendency to eat anything and everything in their path (more on what koi fish eat here.) With that in mind, what are the best floating plants for koi ponds? Here are 5 pond plants your Koi won’t eat, or at least won’t completely decimate.

Water Lettuce


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @aaa50.sss70 on

Water lettuce is one of the best floating plants for a koi pond, and it’s also one of the cheapest pond plants. This prolific and unassuming water plant is popular for beginners. It’s easy to grow and easy to maintain. This tropical plant does best in warm climates and forms dense clusters that can protect the fish in the pond from potential predators.

However, it’s important to note that water lettuce is considered invasive. It can grow out of control quickly in the wild, so it’s best to keep it contained to your closed koi pond environment.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by JCicon (@jcicon22) on

This broad leafed plant with gorgeous flowers has held a prominent place in history and was revered by many ancient cultures. Because the leaves are so large, they provide lots of great shade for your fish in the summertime.

However, as with most plants, there are drawbacks. Lotus requires a lot of room to grow, so they’re best in larger koi pond environments. They also require significant direct sun to remain healthy.

Water Poppy


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Nic (@nic_in_the_garden) on

A plant that may not come to mind is the small yellow flower of the water poppy. These delicate looking plants are great at filtering your koi pond and are relatively easy to grow. They’re particularly good for the edges of your waterscape.

Keep in mind that the water poppy can be susceptible to frost, so if you’re in a colder climate you may want to consider how they are used.

Umbrella Plants


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Miss Mia (@mimia29) on

The shallow edges of your koi pond are a great place to plant some additional foliage. There are a couple that are great for this purpose. One you should consider is the umbrella plant. They grow with large fanning leaves that mimic the shape of an umbrella at the top of their long stalks.

However, they do have a depth limitation of no more than 6 inches, so make sure you plant them accordingly to ensure they stay healthy in your koi pond.

What Plants to Avoid


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Magic Of Photography (@mgreggans) on

Both Water Lilies and Water Hyacinth are often talked about in relation to koi ponds, but these plants can be problematic. Both will attract your voracious fishy eaters, and the resulting aftermath can clog pond filters and create a murky, difficult to clean mess.

There are ways you can have both water lilies and water hyacinth in your koi pond, but you may want to include in a way so your fish can’t access them easily or cause problems with your system.

Do you want to know more about the right plants for your koi pond? Talk to our koi pond design & construction experts at Chuck’s Landscaping today.