Planting Water Garden Plants

Planting Water Garden Plants

Planting in the pond floor

Consider the water garden plants’ requirements as to position and nutrients.


Undemanding pond plants

Plants with low nutrient requirements can be planted straight into the floor of the pond without any additional compost.

  • Cut off bent stalks below the bend.
  • Cut back roots so that they will not be bent under in the planting hole, otherwise they will begin to decay.
  • Always cut back the roots a little, even if they are short. This not only gets rid of incipient decay but also encourages growth of the roots.
  • Use a small spade to make a planting hole in the floor of the pond. It should be only a little larger than the rootstock.
  • Insert the plant, fill the hole with material already dug from the floor and make sure that the neck of the rootstock is just about covered with material.


Planting Water Garden Plants Demanding pond plants

In a newly built garden pond, the supply of nutrients will probably be inadequate. This means that the plants will need a starter boost of nutrient-rich, fertilizer-free garden soil placed in their planting hole.

  • Cut off bent stalks below the bend.
  • Shorten the roots.
  • Dig the planting hole about 5 cm (2 in) deeper and wider than the rootstock.
  • Hold the rootstock in the hole with one hand and use the other hand to shovel in as much garden soil as is needed to cover the top of the rootstock. Press down the soil.
  • Cover the soil with a layer of gravel to help to keep the nutrients around the roots and prevent them from escaping into the surrounding water. The layer of gravel should not be higher than the lowest leaves of the plants.


The pH factor

A few water garden plants have special requirements with respect to the acid/alkaline ratio of the water they live in. The higher the pH factor, the higher the alkaline (lime) content. Plants which need lime, like the blue iris (Iris), should receive a little lime together with nutrient-rich soil in their planting hole. A plant like bog arum (Calla palustris), which does not like lime, should be given a little well-rotted bark mulch instead of nutrient-rich soil. We recommend repeating this procedure every one to two years if the water garden plants do not seem to thrive.


Plants in containers

Plant containers are well suited for creating small islands in a pond, even in ponds without a proper floor. They can also be used for planting non-hardy plants which can then be removed from the pond quite easily in the autumn.


Open and closed plant containers

The plant containers offered for sale in the gardening trade are mainly basket-mesh containers. They are recommended for plants that have to be removed from a pond for overwintering, as they are not too heavy and the water is able to run away quite easily. The drawback is that nutrients can also escape easily into the water. To avoid this problem, it is a good idea to line the baskets with a fabric liner which can be purchased in the gardening trade.

Closed containers make it harder for air to reach the roots but in any case most pond plants possess special air-conducting tissues as oxygen is usually in short supply around their roots in their natural habitat.


The right size of container:

The container should have a diameter of 80-120 cm (32-60 in) for use as a plant island, while a diameter of 40 cm (16 in) will be sufficient for individual plants.


How to plant in containers

  • Line the basket with fabric liner so that no soil can escape into the water.
  • Fill the basket with nutrient-poor compost (sand-loam-gravel mixture) and add garden soil to the rootstocks of demanding plants.
  • Cut off any overhanging fabric and fold the edge to the inside.
  • Cover the surface of the compost with a layer of gravel.


Planting pond plants with rhizomes

The rhizomes need to lie horizontally, no matter whether the plants are placed in a container or planted in the floor of the pond. The rhizome contains air and will have to be weighted down with stones so that it does not rise to the surface. Cut back all roots before planting.


Planting water-lilies

Non-hardy water-lilies are best planted in containers as they can then be taken out of the pond for overwintering. Hardy species can be planted in the pond floor. Make sure the rhizomes are laid in a horizontal position. Always add a little nutrient-rich soil when planting water-lilies, but no fertilizer.


Later planting

If you want to add water plants to your pond later on, there is a useful trick to make this easy. Tie the plant securely to a stone with a bit of string and allow this “planting stone” to sink to the bottom in the chosen position. Waterlilies can also be added in this way later on. Sink the plant carefully with the help of a garden fork so that you can make sure that the rhizome ends up horizontal on the pond floor. If the pond is a mature one, there is no need to add an extra supply of nutrients.

12. December 2010 by admin
Categories: Gardening Ideas, Water Features | Tags: | Comments Off on Planting Water Garden Plants


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