Ahh plants, they’re what makes your water features stand out from all the rest! Now is a great time to see them in full effect with their beautiful foliage and blooms. If you’re still in the market for plants or just don’t know much about them - we have some tips and tricks for the water garden enthusiast.
To add a lot of variety and depth to your water garden as well as some really nice shade, you need to know all the different categories of aquatic plants. The three groups of plants that will transform your pond are marginal & emergent, floaters, and submerged. It’s great to have a variety of all of these to maintain a balanced ecosystem in your pond, to add oxygen, and to be a great source of food and shelter for the creatures inhabiting the space.
Marginal/Emergent plants typically grow along the edges and the shallow “shelves” of the pond.They add valuable filtration to the pond and remove elements that would otherwise feed algae. Marginals typically grow in water 1-6” deep. Some examples of these are canna, chameleon plant, iris, and corkscrew rush. To plant these you can generally place them directly into the gravel itself (if you have a rock and gravel pond). Choose where you’d like to place your plant, move the gravel aside and make a small pocket. Then place the plant in its pot into the gravel pocket or take it out of the pot, wash away any loose soil, place in the gravel pocket and cover it up with the stone. If you plan on bringing any of the plants in for the winter, such as tropical plants with a hardiness zone above 7, then it would be best to leave them in their pots.
Submerged plants are plants that are grown completely under water. They add a great source of oxygen to the pond during the day and help combat algae. Usually these plants are anchored down to the bottom and are left there. An example is hornwort.
Floating plants float on the surface of the pond while their roots hang down into the water. These plants are usually of the tropical variety (water hyacinth and water lettuce) but lilies are classified as floaters as well and many are very hardy! Hyacinth and lettuce are great at filtering the water naturally as well as providing a good source of shade to keep the water cool while being a spot for your finned friends to hide. You should have enough floaters to cover about 1/3 to 1/2 of the ponds surface but be warned, they tend to multiply very fast and you might end up throwing a lot out. Lilies have roots that need to be anchored in a lily pocket or a lily pot. Lilies grow best when they are no less than 12-18” below the surface so their flowers and leaves can float up to the top.
Remember; don’t forget to fertilize your marginals and lilies to get an abundance of beautiful blooms. Here at Action we have pond plant fertilizer tabs that you can just stick right into the dirt about once a month. If you have any other questions about aquatic plants feel free to stop on by the store or call us at (860) 875-2359.