Maintaining a Pond
Planting a Pond
Installing a Pond
Pond and Bog Calculator
Creating a Bog Garden
Plants for Sun
Plants for Shade
and Winter Checklist
underwater plants are very important to the pond ecology. They
contribute to clear water as well anything else you might put into
your garden, sometimes referred to as "nature's filter".
To be the most effective, they should be stocked at the rate of
one bunch per one to two square feet of pond surface area or one
bunch for every 12 to 24 gallons of water.
Besides helping water quality, these plants provide cover and
protection for adult and baby fish. Goldfish will spawn on these
plants, attaching eggs to the foliage where they soon hatch. Fish
fry will be protected from adult fish until they can grow larger.
Stock early to be able to get all benefits of these important
Planting a Hardy
To flower and
flourish, a water lily needs care like any other perennial. Proper
sunlight, soil, fertilization, water depth and pruning will determine
the success of the plant. Plant only in clay-based topsoil in an
aquatic pot (no holes).
lilies begin putting up their first floating leaves in early April. The
first ones may be smaller or darker in color than later ones. As the
season unfolds, the leaves get larger and begin to shade the water
below, cooling and moderating temperature fluctuation. Each leaf lives
three to four weeks then turns yellow and dies. Prompt removal of
yellowing leaves at the soil level encourages new leaves appear. In May,
the first flowers reach the surface, opening and closing daily for four
days each. As a flower is spent, it will slowly sink into the pond and
should be pinched out to promote more flowering. Hardy water lilies
flower May until September, with the peak season in June through August.
Position the water
lily so that it receives at least five or more hours of direct sunlight.
The afternoon sun is best. Some varieties will flower at a reduced rate
in less sunlight. More sun means more flowers. A pond in full sun
is preferred. Do not worry about the water being too hot for the fish,
remember, the water lily is keeping the water cool.
Good quality topsoil is used as the growing medium. Clay-loam
soil from a vegetable garden or lawn is commonly used. Do not use a
bagged soil unless it is specifically labeled for aquatic plants.
Lightweight soil amendments are to be avoided, as they will float. Avoid
subsoil with a layer of fine gravel to keep the fish out and the soil
Use a planting container that is as large as your pond can accommodate.
Larger soil volume mean bigger flowers and leaves. A pot that is wide
instead of deep is preferred. Place the pot at the bottom of the pond up
to three feet deep. Allow a minimum of ten inches of water to cover the
soil surface. Note shallower requirements of some smaller varieties
require placing the pot no less than eighteen inches deep. Position a
plant less than the preferred depth and quality of flowers will be
reduced. Be sure the roots are below the freeze line in water.
the water lily according to the photo below. The rhizome (root) is
positioned so that the cut end is against the side of the pot, not in
the middle. This gives the root as much room as possible to spread
across the pot.
Regular fertilization will keep your water lily blooming and growing
well. Fertilizer tablets are pushed into the soil at planting time and
from April through August. Follow the manufacturer's recommendation for
fertilizer application rates.
Locate the water lily so that the floating leaves are out of the
turbulence of the waterfall or fountain spray. Water splashing on the
top of the leaves will discolor or destroy them.
With large, bold
leaves standing high above the water, the lotus is a midsummer treat,
fragrant colorful blossoms sometimes reaching twelve inches across. The
first leaves float on the pond's surface like a water lily. As summer
approaches, the emerging leaves are held well above the water, setting
the stage for the summertime display. In July the flower buds begin to
develop until the flowers burst forth for an eight week spectacle, The
heady fragrance carried through the garden is a bonus to the stately
flowers. As each flower begins to fade, the petals drop off, revealing
the exotic seed head, a common component of dried floral arrangements.
Ultimate size of a lotus is determined not only by the variety itself,
but also by water depth, soil volume and fertility. This hardy perennial
will give years of enjoyment when provided with nutrition and space. The
plant should be given ample soil to allow full development. The new
plant should be placed in a ten gallon or larger pot (except small
varieties) as shown in the illustration. Care should be taken when
handling the tuber to keep the growing point intact and protruding
through the soil surface when planting.
The best soil is a heavy clay loam that will anchor the tuber as it
develops. A light layer of gravel is recommended except where the
growing tips are. Care must be taken to avoid obstructing the new
growth. After planting, the lotus should be placed in water four to ten
inches over the soil surface. Once the lotus is established, it will
grow well with twelve to eighteen inches of water over the soil the year
Do You Want
a Lotus and Don't Have Room in the Pond?
Sink a pot of lotus into the ground
beside the pond or anywhere else in your garden. A lotus planted in a
ten gallon pot will over-winter in Zone 6 when buried in the ground to
the rim of the pot. Use as large a pot as possible to accommodate the
plant. Fill up to two thirds full with soil, leaving the rest of the
space for water. Control mosquito larvae by floating a Mosquito Dunk in
water each month or put a goldfish or two in the water if there are five
gallons or more.
For the winter, care is simple if the
top of the pot is already six to twelve inches below the water level.
Simply leave the plant at this depth. (Bowl lotuses will be shallower,
and should be put deeper after going completely dormant in November.)
This protects the roots that have buried themselves at the bottom of the
pot by fall. Place pot deeper in the water if it is not deep enough
after removing dead leaves from the plant. Wait until the plant has gone
dormant before trimming. The Lotus will remain dormant until after most
other aquatic plants are growing. In mid April, the first leaf spikes
emerge form the soil and grow to the surface, forming floating leaves
is simple with floating plants, just toss them in and they float
according to the will of the wind. Buoyant leaves keep these plants
afloat, making the great natural spawning areas for fish as well as
protection for fish, large and small. Their best contribution to the
pond, however, is the enhanced water quality that you get from them. The
roots dangle in the water and readily absorb organic pollutants. They
also form a very aggressive mat of plants that shade the water below,
keeping it cool and dark, thus reducing algae growth.
As an edge planting,
push roots between rocks on the submerged edge of the pond. These
"planted" floaters will root among the stones, and will often
grow fuller and flower better. Hyacinths will also adapt well to
planting into the stream bed where the water rushes over the weighted
down root system. Good, inexpensive, quick cover for new water gardens.
Hyacinths prefer full sun and Lettuce prefers light shade.
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