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How to Pick Pond Plants

How to Pick Pond Plants

Aquatic plants are a perfect addition to any pond, not only do their colors add a great design element, but they also function to keep your water garden balanced and filtered. As any gardener knows, the first step in a successful garden is to plan what you want to plant. Below are a few points to consider when selecting plants for your pond.

  • Keep it Covered: Covering your pond's surface area with 40-60% plants will help to reduce excess nutrients, control algae blooms, and provide cover for your fish. For ponds up to 50 square feet, we recommend 6-12 floating plants, 2 bog plants, 5 submerged plants, and 1 water lily.
  • Is it Warm Enough: Climates are different throughout the nation, which influences the types of plants that can be grown in those areas. The USDA publishes a hardiness zone map to help you determine which plants are likely to survive your local climate. Many aquatic plants are perennials, so choosing ones from your hardiness zone will be key because they are best able to tolerate the year-round weather conditions.
  • The Sun will Come Out: Plants are also categorized by which type of light they would like to receive (full sun, partial sun, partial shade, or full shade). Sensitive Plant prefers to lay out in the sun, but the Chameleon Plant likes to blend into the shade. Additionally, ponds with full sun exposure are more prone to algae growth, so add a few extra plants to help keep it shaded.
  • Deep or Shallow End: Some plants prefer deep water, where as some prefer it shallow. Lilies and lotus prefer deeper water once they are established, but Blue Flag Iris and other bog plants just like to get their roots wet. When you receive your plants, make sure you follow the planting directions, as deep water loving plants like to be in shallow water when they are getting started.
  • Flow or No: Water flow rate is often a factor that is overlooked, but some plants love moving water while others like it to stand still. Dwarf Cattails, for example, are hardy enough to grow in streams, but lilies do not flourish if they are under a waterfall.
  • Order Up: When selecting plants, the early bird gets the worm – or in this case the plant. Because pondkeeping is seasonal, some plants are unavailable later in the year. To make sure that you get the ones you want, give us a call and pre-order them early in the calendar year. Our nursery will keep them for you and ship them when it is safe to do so.

Plant Care

When ordering your plants, it is a good time to get the materials that you need for planting. Use soil that is designed for water gardens and avoid using bagged potting mix or other lightweight soils as they will float and cloud the water.

  • Lilies and Lotuses: Best grown in pots, such as the Water Lily & Water Lotus Planting Kits. Fill your tub with clay and a clay/soil mix with Aquatic Planting Media on top. Position the bulb inside the container with the growing tip pointed up. Place in the pond so that the growing tip is in 3"-6" of water. Once the leaves reach the surface, you can place the pot in a deeper area of your pond.
  • Bog Plants: These also should be planted in containers filled with Planting Media. These can be planted round the edges of your pond using Plant Bags or inside the pond with the Floating Island Planter. Do not forget to fertilize your plants to give them the nutrients they need for beautiful blooms.
  • Submerged Plants: Can be grown in Plant Bags or other planters or tied to a weight and dropped into the pond.
  • Floating Plants: Simply place in the water and they will freely float and take up nutrients through their root systems.