Earth bottom ponds can be quite beautiful and you can create an excellent ecosystem with beautiful plants that will come back year after year. Many of these plants can be planted directly in the soil on the shelves and bottom of your pond. Other plants such as lotus, or horsetail rush may be planted in pots so that you have more control over the growth or overgrowth of the plant. Depending on your geographic location, you must decide if you need hardy or tropical plants.
In the northern climates, you would be better off with hardy varieties like blue or white pickerel rush, lotus, iris, golden club, water hawthorne, bloody dock, cattails, lizards tail, hardy hibiscus,reeds, rushes and grasses like sweet flag, pickerel dilatata and arrowhead. All of these plants come back year after year. The following waterlilies do extremely well in earth bottom ponds: Virginalis, Texas Dawn, Pink Sensation, Awesome, Perry's Double Yellow, Rembrandt, Super Red, Pink Pom Pom, Yellow Meringue and Snowflake, just to mention a few. Hornwort and Vallisneria are excellent oxygenators for northern climates as well. You can always add tropical plants to your pond during the summer months like water hyacinths and tropical water lilies, they will give you lots of color but will not survive the cold winters.(Lotus and Horsetail Rush will definitely grow well in earth bottom ponds, but you may want to contain them as their roots like to roam)!
In southern climates there are dozens of varieties that you can grow and plant in your earth bottom pond. You must be careful that they do not overgrow their boundaries. All of the tropical waterlilies do well and plants like Papyrus, Umbrella Palm, Chinese Lizard's Tail, Taro, Canna, Bamboo, Pink Pickerel, Society Flower,Spider Lilies and Iris as well as some of the hardies mentioned above. ( I would definitely plant my horsetail rush as well as lotus in containers as their roots like to roam).
When fertilizing plants in your earth bottom pond, simply purchase Waterlily World Pond Tabs + Humates for healthy, vigorous plants and robust bloom. They are plant safe and fish safe. Convenient and easy to use, just push the tabs into the soil surrounding the plant you wish to fertilize. (Lotus should not be fertilized until they have aerial leaves standing out of the water.
You will be creating a haven for birds, butterflies, honey bees, dragonflies, hummingbirds, frogs and toads.You will also be creating a beautiful and tranquil environment for yourself!
Make sure that there will be no runoff from the yard, adjoining fields or street as salts, fertilizers and weed control chemicals may have a disastrous effect on your pond. Color enhanced mulch runoff can be hazardous to your fish and water garden plants as well.