koi fish swimming under pond plants

Pond plants in and around your pond offer a pleasant viewing experience, but there is more to them than just a “pretty face.” From providing shade and protection for your koi, to helping with water quality and keeping your pond cool, they have numerous benefits, too.

Unfortunately, as nice as they look to you, they are sometimes just as delicious to your koi. Hungry koi can be quite destructive to your pond plants—which in some instances can be quite expensive.

Here are a few means to keep your Living Jewels out of the aquatic shrubbery.

Spoil them for Choice

Stock your pond with enough foliage that even the natural inquisitiveness of a koi can be over stimulated. Even if your koi take a shining to a plant (or a few of them), you can mitigate the damage to many of the others.

But remember, don’t overpopulate your plants. Find a good balance between the different types of plants and an appropriate density.


An alternative is to create a vegetable filter. This “no fly” (or rather “no swim”) zone separates your koi from your plant life, so while you get the benefits from the plant life in the last stage of biological filtration, you can stop the koi from dining.

Shelf It

Placing your plants on a shallow shelf behind a barrier of rocks is a viable alternative. One caution is that it provides an entry point for predators (especially raccoons) who can use it to go fishing.

Plant Choice

Sometimes opting for fast-growing plants can help, too. Plants like the lotus are notoriously fast growing—and nice to look at. Unless you have a voracious koi with the taste for lotus, you might be able to get more plants growing than disappearing.

Root and Stem Protection

There are some man-made alternatives to keep roots, stems and leaves safe from koi looking to supplement dinner. Whether the root systems are planted or free floating, there are a number of mesh nets in various shapes, sizes and constructions that are made for both submerged and floating plants.

A quick Internet search will give you a wealth of brands and types, as well as reviews. You can choose based on your needs, budget and user suggestions. They might not always be 100% effective (koi are industrious problem solvers) but they stop your plants from being a buffet table.


Nature also provides protection. Something as simple as rocks (anywhere from 3-5” in diameter or wider than your biggest koi’s mouth) can help to hide roots and will have the additional benefit of being too big for your koi to dig up as they forage.

Try lava rock as a cover or as a planting medium. Koi don’t care too much for the texture.

Cheaper Snacks

If your koi insist on eating the expensive foliage, even if you have introduced preventative measures and are feeding regularly, try introducing a less expensive plant to the pond that they can snack on instead. Water hyacinth is an attractive and cheaper alternative to water lilies or lotus.

Feed Well

Perhaps the best (and simplest) solution is to make sure your koi don’t need to find alternatives to their diet by providing them a big (and varied) menu selection that doesn’t include your pond plants.

Introduce lettuce, cabbage, watermelon and oranges in small portions along with the pellets to vary the diet, as well as to steer you koi away from your plants.

Salt levels

It’s not always just koi that are destructive to your pond plants. High salt levels also can decimate them.

There could very well be a time when you need to raise your water’s salinity level to make the environment inhospitable for various forms of parasite and bacteria. If this is the case, it is advisable to remove any pond plants that are sensitive to salt.

Check to see which of your plants are salt tolerant, or will grow back once you re-adjust the salt levels.  Common varieties like hyacinth and lotus (0.10%) are not as hardy as lilies (0.20%).

If you’re looking to stock your pond with high-quality koi at some of the best shipping rates in the industry, contact a Next Day Koi representative. Our koi fish for sale are sourced from respected suppliers and undergo a rigorous quarantine process before they are made available for sale.

2 responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *