What to plant with Typha – Cattails

Companion Planting with Typha – Cattails


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Companion Planting with Typha: Boosting the Health and Beauty of Your Water Garden


Typha, commonly known as cattails, are distinctive, versatile plants that thrive in wetland environments such as ponds, marshes, and water gardens. While cattails are often appreciated for their unique aesthetic and ability to provide habitat for wildlife, they can also benefit from companion planting. This practice involves growing different plant species together to promote mutual advantages, such as enhanced visual appeal, improved water quality, and a more balanced ecosystem. In this blog post, we’ll explore the best companion plants for cattails and the various benefits they bring to your water garden.

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)
Pickerelweed is an excellent choice to plant alongside cattails because they share similar growing conditions and thrive in shallow water or saturated soil. Their attractive, heart-shaped leaves and vibrant purple flower spikes create a striking contrast with the tall, linear form of cattails. Additionally, pickerelweed provides valuable habitat for aquatic wildlife, such as frogs and dragonflies, contributing to a balanced ecosystem.

Water Lilies (Nymphaea)
Water lilies, with their large floating leaves and exquisite blooms, can complement cattails and add a touch of elegance to your water garden. Their floating leaves help provide shade and shelter for aquatic life, while their vivid flowers attract pollinators. Water lilies are available in various colors and sizes, allowing you to choose the perfect variety to harmonize with your cattails.

Iris (Iris spp.)
Iris, particularly the Louisiana and Japanese varieties, are well-suited to growing in wetland environments and make ideal companions for cattails. Their sword-like foliage adds a contrasting texture, while their striking blooms, which can range from blue and purple to yellow and white, provide a burst of color in the garden. Iris also helps prevent erosion and stabilize the soil around the water’s edge.

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Cardinal flower, with its tall spikes of vivid red flowers, creates a stunning visual display when planted near cattails. This native North American plant thrives in damp, shady areas and can tolerate standing water, making it suitable for water garden settings. The bright red flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, which contribute to the overall health and diversity of your garden’s ecosystem.

Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus)
Sweet flag is a low-maintenance, water-loving plant that can be an excellent companion for cattails. It features long, slender, sword-like leaves that provide textural contrast and a pleasant fragrance when crushed. Sweet flag is known for its ability to improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients and stabilizing the soil around the water’s edge, which can help prevent erosion.

Horsetail (Equisetum hyemale)
Horsetail is a unique, prehistoric plant that can be grown alongside cattails in your water garden. Its tall, jointed, hollow stems add a striking vertical element and contrast with the broad leaves of cattails. Horsetail is known for its ability to uptake heavy metals and other contaminants from the water, contributing to a cleaner, healthier environment for aquatic life.


Companion planting with cattails not only enhances the visual appeal of your water garden but also helps maintain a healthy, thriving ecosystem. By choosing the right companion plants, you can create a stunning, balanced, and diverse environment that supports both plant and aquatic life. Experiment with different combinations of the plants mentioned above to find the perfect balance that suits your personal taste and gardening style.

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