Asked by: Karen of Fort Worth, TX
A: It's that time of year again. After a long winter's nap, your aquatic plants are a great place to start flexing that green thumb of yours. Potted water lilies and bog plants need to be divided, but how you do so will depend on the type of plants you have. Generally, bog plants will need to be divided every one to two years, and water lilies will need to be divided every two to three years.
Here are step-by-step instructions for how to divide your aquatic plants. Pull out your waders, pruning tools, extra plant baskets, aquatic soil, planting media, and garden hose—and let's start dividing!
Divide Bog Plants
Bog plants include species like Corkscrew Rush, Dwarf Cattails, and Irises. Bog plant root types include clumping roots, runners, and rhizomes. Regardless of the type of root mass, here's what to do with them:
- Lift the pot or container out of the pond and gently remove the root mass.
- Use your garden hose to wash the soil from the root mass and trim away dead leaves and foliage.
- Divide the root mass depending on the type of root system.
- Clumping Roots - Like Corkscrew Rush, separate the roots into sections, leaving some roots intact with each section.
- Runner Roots - Like Dwarf Cattails, cut the runner root and leave the root base with each section of the plant.
- Rhizomes - Like Irises, divide them into sections.
- Replant each plant section in its own container with a mix of pond soil and planting media and dispose of any overgrowth. Our Bog Plant Planting Kits contain everything you need to successfully propagate new growth.
Divide Water Lilies
Water Lilies—both tropical and the hardy variety sold in our Grower's Choice collection—are also easy to divide. You'll know it's time to separate them when you notice fewer lily pads, reduced blooms, or splitting pots. Pick up a Planting Kit for Water Lilies & Lotus to get all your repotting supplies in one go.
- Lift the pot or container out of the pond, locate the tuber, and gently remove it.
- Rinse off the soil and trim away root growth and old foliage.
- Identify the crowns—the little buds where a new lily pad group will sprout—and cut between them with a sharp knife. Keep the pieces three to four inches long. Each tuber section will become a new Water Lily plant.
- Using individual planters filled with aquatic planting soil and aquatic planting media, plant each section horizontally, angled so the growing tips are exposed above the soil.
- Place your repotted lilies in a shallow area of your pond where only a few inches of water cover the plants.
- Once new growth has reached the surface of the water, move the lilies to the deeper areas of your pond.
Fertilize and Tend
After you divide and replant your aquatic plants, don't forget to give them regular doses of fertilizer to ensure they're getting the nutrients they need to thrive and produce vigorous blooms. Keep your colorful beauties looking good by keeping them trimmed and regularly removing dead foliage throughout the growing season.
Get More Aquatic Planting Tips
Still have pond plant care questions? Reach us at 866-POND-HELP (766-3435) or read these guides below: