10 Full Sun Pond Plants

There are many beautiful pond plants to choose from if your garden pond is situated in a sunny spot.

In this article I’ve listed 10 plants that are perfect for sunny ponds.

Some of these plants are tropical plants that are best suited to warm climates but you can also grow them as annuals in cooler areas.

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full sun pond plants


1. Water Lily (Nymphaeaceae)

Water lilies are one of the best plants for ponds in full sun because their large round leaves help to shade the pond and keep the water cool.

They need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day and the flowers open in the morning and close in the evening.

Water lilies bloom from spring until fall and the flowers can be pink, red, purple, white or yellow.

full sun pond plants

2. Iris (Iris germanica)

Irises are hardy perennial flowers that look great around the edge of a pond.

They can reach 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm) tall, with stunning purple or blue flowers.

Irises are frost tolerant, so they’re perfect for cool climates.

They grow best in full sun to part shade and begin blooming in early spring.

Iris flower

3. Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes

Water hyacinths are beautiful floating pond plants that thrive in hot temperatures and full sun.

They’re very fast growing and spread out easily, so you’ll have to cut them back regularly to stop them taking over your pond.

Water hyacinths bloom from late summer to early fall and the flowers are a beautiful purple color.

Water hyacinths are classified as an invasive species and banned in many areas so check with your local authority before planting them in your backyard pond.

Floating pond plant

4. Canna Lily (Canna indica)

Canna lilies are easy to grow perennial plants that look nice growing around the exterior of a pond.

They grow from underground rhizomes and the flowers can be red, orange or yellow. Some varieties have colorful or variegated foliage.

Canna lilies can be planted in full sun or part shade and in cool climate areas they can be grown as annuals.

Best bog plants

5. Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

Lotuses are popular pond plants that have beautiful pink or white flowers.

They grow best in warm climates in a position with full sun.

Tropical lotus plants will grow year round but perennial lotuses go dormant over the winter months.

RELATED: How To Grow Lotus Flowers

lotus flower

6. Tropical Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes spp.)

Pitcher plants are carnivorous plants that use a pouch of sticky sap to trap their prey which includes insects, worms, small lizards and spiders. [1]

They thrive in moist, muddy soil and get their nutrients from the insects and other creatures once they’ve been digested.

Pitcher plants are best suited to warm, tropical, humid areas.

pitcher plants in full sun

7. Sensitive Plant (Neptunia oleracea)

Sensitive plants are tropical, floating plants with leaves similar to a fern that curl up when they’re touched, which is how they get their name.

They grow best in full sun and bloom during the summer months.

It’s best to plant sensitive plants away from fountains and waterfalls, otherwise the leaves will stay curled up.

sensitive plant

8. Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Cardinal flowers are beautiful tall plants that look great growing around the edge of a pond.

In cool climates, Cardinal flowers need a position with full sun, but in warmer areas they can be planted in a spot with partial shade.

Cardinal flowers can grow 3 to 4 feet (90 to 120 cm) tall and they reseed easily so you’ll have lots of new plants coming up.

Cardinal flower

9. Taro (Colocasia esculenta)

Taro, also known as Elephant Ears, is a tropical plant that is commonly found in humid, tropical areas.

It’s possible to grow taro in cooler climates but you’ll need to bring it indoors over the winter months.

Taro looks great growing around the edge of a pond or water feature but the leaves need to be above the surface of the water.

Taro plants

10. Azolla (Azolla filiculoides)

Azolla, also called mosquito fern, is an attractive floating pond plant that grows well in full sun.

The leaves are usually green, but when it’s exposed to full sun, the leaves will turn an attractive red or pink color.

Azolla is helpful for shading the pond, removing pollutants in the water and reducing algae overgrowth.

pond plants

So there are 10 beautiful plants that are perfect for sunny ponds.

These plants will help to beautify your pond while also providing shade during the hot summer months.


Which of these full sun pond plants do you like best? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest? I have boards dedicated to Backyard Ponds and Water Gardens that you may find interesting.

Don’t forget to pin this post so you can come back to it later.

pond plants on a sunny day
Best pond plants for sunny ponds

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener with a special interest in ponds and water gardens. For over a decade, I've been designing and creating beautiful gardens that feature stunning water features, from small garden ponds to large water gardens. Read more

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Jo

    My pond is in a sunny spot in the garden so I’m pleased that all of these gorgeous pond flowers like full sun. Lotuses would have to be my favorite.

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