A pond with out Aquatic plants is like a person without skin-bare, ugly and unnatural. Aquatic plants are an important part of a ponds eco-system and create a feast for the senses. There are five basic types. Marginal, Water Lilies, Bog, Floating, and Oxygenating plants.
Marginal plants. You know that uncomfortable feeling when you’re neither dry nor soaked? That is the perfect condition for these plants-moist! They thrive on the surrounding area of your pond called the “Margins.” This area is generally where flooding occurs and can be either completely covered with water or slightly damp. Some are beautifully colored or uniquely shaped. They create the widest range in Aquatic plants.
Water Lilies. Ahh, the gem of ponds. Not only are they gorgeous, but they are one of the easiest type of Aquatics to grow! They flourish in almost any zone as long as temperature is at least 70ÚF. Most Water lilies are happy in depths from 1.5ft-2.5ft. Some types however, can be grown at 3ft water depth. The pads and new buds will reach the surface of the pond usually within five days. However, when placing a Water Lily, never place it near splashing or flowing water-they do not like to be disturbed.
Bog plants. Like Marginals they enjoy shallow water. They should be planted where water naturally tends to collect. They come in a variety of shapes and colors- a treat for the eyes! Bogs simply need wet mud to survive and can be used as a filtration system. Bog filters are also known as “Veggie filters.” They can be made by planting enough bog plants to cover at least 15% of the water volume in your pond.
Floating plants. I like to call these the roamers. They don’t stay put and they can very easily overtake your pond if it contains an abundance of nitrogen or phosphate, example: water hyacinth and duck weed (Hyacinth & Water Lettuce is illegal to buy or sell in Florida anyway.) However, they can be controlled by simply extracting large quantities of the plant out of your pond weekly. The advantages are far greater than any problems they might cause. They act as extra filtration by absorbing nutrients from the pond, make a nice treat for your koi and some even produce breath-taking flowers.
Oxygenating plants. Like the name suggests, these plants provide needed oxygen to all life in your pond. By far they are the most important Aquatic plant in a pond! Any fish will agree. They also provide spawning grounds and compete with algae for nutrients in your pond. These Aquatic plants are completely submerged and have no visible root system. They either float freely underwater or grow in the soil at the bottom. They are a necessity for ANY pond!
When creating a pond it is best to incorporate each type of Aquatic plant. Doing so should not prove troublesome.
First, draw an outline of your pond and decide what areas you plan to introduce plants and what type they should be. Take into account the needs of each type. A plant shelf can be built to help accommodate the marginals and special bank for the Bogs.
Then, it’s time to shop! Find a Plant Nursery or Aquatic Garden store in your area. Select according to type, rate of growth, sun or shade tolerance and color. Scented Marginal plants help attract insects and butterflies.
Floating baskets or creeper rings can be purchased if desired. They can be used if your pond doesn’t have a plant shelf or if you simply want to provide more shade or extra hiding area for your fish.
And last but not least, don’t forget to buy fertilizer! Fertilizer is an essential aid in the growth and bloom of your Aquatic plants. Once-a-year feeder tubes, tablets, or granular form are the most common types. Fertilizing depends on the method used, the type of plant, water temperature, and the size pot the plant is in. Ask an associate to help you make the right decision.
Once-a-year tubes prove to be the simplest method of fertilization. Simply insert the tube deep in the soil and forget about it for a year. If you are using the tablets, push one tab in the soil or potting media every 2-3 weeks for weather 70Ú-90ÚF. Granular fertilizer can be spread directly into the soil or can be used inside a coffee filter to make application easy.
When you begin planting, inspect and rinse all your plants for sandwich worms, aphides, etc… Also, make sure you trim off any dead leaves or stems. Re-pot any that have outgrown their current container. Potting media or even untreated kitty litter work well as the soil. Place rinsed pea gravel on top of the media. Then, position the plant in the desired spot or insert directly in the soil if they are Bogs.
Aquatic Plants are an essential part of the eco-system and the perfect finish to a beautiful water-feature. However, do not expect to see full, mature plants or spectacular blossoms right away. It may take up to 3 years for some types to fully develop. Good things come to those who wait!
For more information go to: www.coolponds.com