A pond is just a hole in the ground without plants. Plants bring beauty to a pond with their shape and flowers, provide shelter for frogs and fish and also act as a natural filter removing phosphates and nitrates from the water there by reducing algae problems. Summer is the best time to buy established pond plants because at this time of year they are growing vigorously and can have an instant effect on the appearance of any pond.
There are three basic types of pond plants. The first group is known as marginals and these can be partially submersed in the water. Marginal plants that most people would be familiar with include water irises, papyrus and water canna. Marginal plants are ideal if you have Koi fish as it is difficult for them to dig them out or eat them.
The next group are the submersed plants. Submersed plants can be grown completely under the water and are known as oxygenators because during the daylight hours they can increase the oxygen levels in the pond. Bacopaand needle leaf ludwigiaare two of the better-known oxygenators and both produce a small flower as well.
The final group are floating plants and these included water lilies and water poppy’s. These plants grow in pots that are submersed in the pond and produce leaves that float on the surface providing protection for fish and also reducing the amount the amount of sunlight going into the water further reducing algae outbreaks. To grow vigorously, water lilies require a pond depth of about 40 – 60cm. If your pond is shallower than this, you could consider a water poppy or one of the other smaller floating pond plants.
When choosing plants for the pond, a more natural effect can be achieved by using a large group of the one variety of plants rather than several individual one.
Although pond plants can use some nutrient from the pond water itself, they do require fertilizing to produce healthy new growth and lots of flowers. We use and recommend pond fertilizer tablets. Each tablet fertilizes a 6” pot for a month and all pond plants should be fertilized monthly until February.
If you have existing pond plants or lilies and have noticed that they are not producing many flowers or leaves, they are probably pot bound. Spring is the ideal time to re-pot you existing pond plants. Although you can use some brands of potting mix, the best potting media to use is a proper one designed for ponds which is also safe for fish. Pond media contains zeolite to hold nitrogen, clay and river sand.
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