Can Pond Plants Be Planted Into Gravel?

Pond plants are an essential component of a healthy aquatic habitat. It provides numerous benefits, including water oxygenation, toxin filtration, and a haven for aquatic creatures.

While most pond plants are usually planted in soil, some gardeners may wonder, Can pond plants be planted into gravel? Gravel is a common substitute for the soil because it can help anchor plants and add a decorative element to the pond.

In this article, we’ll look at the benefits and drawbacks of planting pond plants in gravel, as well as what plants can be planted in gravel.

Can Pond Plants Be Planted Into Gravel

Can Pond Plants Be Planted Into Gravel?

Planting pond plants in gravel is an option, but it might not be suitable for all plants. Gravel can act as a foundation for plants, holding them in place. It may be utilized as well as an ornamental element to make the pond appear a bit more organic.

However, there are some disadvantages to planting pond plants in gravel. Plants may not grow as well as they would in soil because the gravel, unlike soil, does not provide nutrients to them.

Furthermore, planting in gravel is possibly more difficult because it might not hold as much water as soil, causing plants to dry out. As a result, it’s essential to select the right plants for gravel planting and care for them properly so they maintain their optimal growth.

Plants with stronger root systems, such as water lilies and lotuses, are usually better suitable for gravel planting. Applying fertilizer to the water additionally has the potential to supplement nutrients that may be missing in the gravel.

Finally, pond plants can flourish in gravel with sufficient maintenance and care, providing a beautiful and natural addition to the aquatic environment.

What plants can be planted into gravel?

Several aquatic plants might be planted in gravel, however, it is essential to select the appropriate plants for this medium. Here are some samples of pond plants that can be planted in gravel:

Water lilies

Water lilies are an excellent choice for ponds because they grow well in gravel. (Better Homes & Gardens) Its robust root systems can help anchor them, and the gravel can help to keep the soil in position, stopping the plants from floating away.

Furthermore, the gravel can provide a stable foundation for the plants to grow on, allowing them to grow and flourish. Water lilies also create large, colorful flowers that can enhance the beauty and interest of the pond, making them a popular option among pond owners.


Lotus plants have similarities to water lilies in that they can be planted in gravel, yet they require a bigger area of gravel to develop due to their vast root systems. Lotus trees are well-known for their beautiful large, colorful blossoms, and they can lend a distinct and exotic touch to a pond.

They can also offer shade and protection to fish and other aquatic animals. It’s important to note that lotus plants can grow quite large and rapidly outgrow small ponds, so make sure you plan ahead of time and give them enough room to develop.

Red Tiger Lotus

The Red Tiger Lotus (Nymphaea lotus var. rubra) is a water plant that thrives in gravel. It is renowned for its vivid red or pink color and can lend a striking and one-of-a-kind touch to a pond.

Red Tiger Lotus can reach a height of 20 inches(Aquarium Genius) and has large, round leaves that can extend to a diameter of 12 inches.

It likes to be planted in a shallow area of the pond with full to partial sunlight and is capable of being raised in gravel, sand, or a soil mixture. Furthermore, Red Tiger Lotus can provide a hiding spot and shelter for fish and other aquatic creatures, making it an ideal addition to any pond environment.

Java fern

The Java fern (Microsorum pteropus) is a common and easy-to-grow plant that thrives in soil. It is an underwater fern native to Southeast Asia that is renowned for its hardiness and ability to adapt to a variety of water conditions.

Java fern may reach a height of 13 inches as well as has broad, lengthy leaves which can add a natural and appealing accent to a pond. It can thrive in gravel, sand, or on rocks and driftwood.

Madagascar Lace

The shrub Madagascar Lace (Aponogeton madagascariensis) thrives in gravel. It is a blooming aquatic plant endemic to Madagascar, and it is known for its delicate, lacy leaves, which can lend a beautiful and one-of-a-kind touch to a pond.

Madagascar Lace can reach a height of 20 inches and thrives in full to partial sunshine. It is also capable of handling a broad range of water temperatures, making it an adaptable plant for a variety of ponds.


Bucephalandra is an underwater plant species that thrive in gravel. These plants are native to Borneo and are recognized for their small, colorful leaves, which can lend a distinctive and appealing touch to a pond.

Bucephalandra plants may reach a height of 5 inches and can be cultivated in gravel or attached to rocks and driftwood. It grows best in a shallow area of the pond that has limited to moderate lighting and can withstand a broad range of water conditions.

Advantages and disadvantages of planting pond plants in gravel?

There are several benefits and drawbacks to planting water plants in gravel. Here are some of the points discuss below:


Improved Water Quality

Increased Water Quality: Gravel can act as an organic purifier for pond water, removing extra nutrients and pollutants. This can result in better water quality for both the plants and the fish or other aquatic animals in the pond.

Strong Root Systems

Many pond plants, such as water lily and lotus plants, have robust root systems which assist them to stay put and receive nourishment from the water. Gravel may serve as a stable foundation for these roots to develop into, promoting healthy plant growth.

Natural Appearance

Gravel can give a pond an authentic and natural appearance, and that’s the reason many pond owners prefer it.

In contrast to other planting techniques, such as planting straight toward the soil or using pots, gravel can blend seamlessly into the pond’s surroundings, resulting in a more aesthetically pleasing and harmonious appearance.

This is especially significant for those who want to set up a natural-looking ecosystem in their pond, where organisms and plants can coexist and thrive.


Difficulty of Planting

Planting pond plants in gravel may prove more challenging than other planting methods because it necessitates the creation of an appropriate environment for the roots to develop. Planting in gravel requires careful consideration of multiple variables, as opposed to planting in soil or using pots.

The gravel, for example, must be of the appropriate size and depth to enable the roots to develop, and it must be supplemented with nutrients, such as fertilizers, to ensure that the plants have sufficient access to important minerals and nutrients.


Gravel may gather debris and garbage over time, which can cause issues if not handled correctly. Debris and waste in a pond ecosystem can degrade and produce poisonous substances such as ammonia and nitrites, which can be toxic to fish and other aquatic animals.

To avoid this, the gravel bed should be cleaned and maintained frequently. This could involve eliminating extra debris, such as leaves and twigs, and vacuuming any accumulated waste with a gravel vacuum.

Risk of Overgrowth

If not correctly managed, certain pond plants, especially cattails and water hyacinth, may grow quickly and take over the pond. Gravel can provide an appropriate setting for these plants to flourish, though enhancing the risk of overgrowth and requiring more frequent cleaning and servicing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What gravel can I put in a pond?

To prevent damaging the liner, use well-rounded gravel or river boulders. It has been suggested that gravel with stone sizes ranging from 1 to 3 inches in diameter should be used as this size is perfect for the purpose.

While smaller rocks can be used, additional caution should be exercised to avoid pond vacuums and filtration systems sucking them in.

Is gravel a good pond filter?

Gravel stones are effective pond filters because it can work in combination with pond filters and pumps to keep your fish healthy, protect beneficial microbes, and eradicate harmful toxins.

How deep should gravel be for a pond?

When constructing a rock or gravel pond, a tiny amount of gravel – usually approximately two to three inches deep – should be used to cover the bottom of the pond.

This amount of space is typically adequate for coverage while allowing for effective waste removal and water percolation through the stones.

Furthermore, if you have larger fish in your pond, such as koi, they can assist turn over the gravel, which helps in waste removal and water circulation.

Should I put gravel in the bottom of my pond?

Putting rocks in the bottom part of the pond makes it a perfect environment for various fish species by providing them with places to hide and relax.

When put at the lowest part of the pond, pebbles can also serve as anchors for plant life, which may provide places to hide for fish to protect themselves from predators or prevent direct sunlight, and they can also offer a place to rest.

Does gravel slow down water?

Gravel or tiny stones can slow the flow of water, allowing the soil to take in more water over time and thus decreasing runoff.

Planting pond plants in gravel can be an excellent choice for an easy-to-look-after, natural-looking pond. The use of gravel as a supporting material provides a suitable foundation for pond plants, allowing them to root correctly and gain access to necessary nutrients.

Furthermore, gravel can aid in the anchoring of plants and prevent soil from being disturbed by water currents or inquisitive fish.

To prevent introducing harmful substances into the water, choose the correct sort of gravel for your pond and make sure it’s thoroughly washed before use.

In general, planting pond plants in gravel may contribute to a healthy and beautiful pond ecosystem with proper care and maintenance. Hopefully, this article helps you to know Can pond plants be planted into gravel?


  • Gatiboni, Luke. “1. Soils & Plant Nutrients | NC State Extension Publications.” NC State Extension Publications, Accessed 3 April 2023.
  • “Here’s How to Grow Gorgeous Water Lilies in Your Pond.” Better Homes & Gardens, 20 March 2023, Accessed 3 April 2023.
  • Miley, Michelle. “What Type of Gravel Is for a Koi Pond?” Home Guides, Accessed 3 April 2023.
  • “Red Tiger Lotus Care Guide For Beginners.” Aquarium Genius, Accessed 3 April 2023.