Having a water pond in your back yard is something I’ve always wanted. But my yard is a little small and we have too many trees. But for those of you that do or can have a water pond, you need some plants to keep the water clear enough to have fish swimming inside. A pond is a wonderful place to relax after a long hard day in the garden, especially is you spent the day pulling weeds. You want your water garden to look pleasing and give you a cool looking place to relax and watch the world go by.
Water lilies are colorful, fragrant, floating leafed plants. You will need enough plants to cover 50 to 75 percent of the water’s surface. An easy way to figure out how many that will be, measure the surface area of your pond. For every 10 square feet of surface area, you will need one water lily plant. Water lilies cover the surface of the pond limiting the amount of sunlight that goes through. This will help control the amount of algae that grows in your pond. You will have two choices of water lilies. Tropical water lilies which bloom either in the day or at night. They have the most fragrance, larger blooms and more of a color choice. If you have a deep pond or pot the tropical lilies are the plants to go with. They need at least a foot of water over the crown. Plant the crown of the tropical lily in the soil near the top and cover with only as much media as needed. They add one inch of gravel. Leave the growing point above the gravel. Hardy water lilies not only bloom during the day and the flowers can also change color. If you have a shallow pond of 18 inches of water then choose hardy lilies. Plant the rhizome in the soil at a 45 degree angle. Cover this with soil and one inch of gravel. The growing tip must be left above the gravel. Plant the water lilies when the temperature is 75 degrees F. during the day and 65 degrees F. at night. Make sure the pond receives four hours of sunlight. Hardy water lilies will bloom for 2 weeks, then rest for 2 weeks.
Use submerged plants or oxygenators in large water gardens. Oxygenators are used because they absorb excess nutrients, help the water lilies in slowing algae growth and they provide oxygen in the water. The submerged plants are usually sold without roots, so they will take time to become established. The submerged plants can either float on the water or be planted in pots. The pots are then sunk to the bottom of the pond. Submerged plants provide food and shelter for the fish.
The floating plants float on the water’s surface. They don’t need soil to survive because they feed on the nutrients of the water. Floating plants are often compared with ground cover plants in a garden. The floating plants control algae and filter the water to remove excess nitrogen. Before adding floating plants to your pond, rinse them off with tepid water.
Shallow Marginal Plants
Shallow Marginal Plants or bog plants only need 3 inches of water over the plant crown in order to survive. The bog plants add color and height to your water pond. They can be planted directly into the water around the pond or left in pots and submerged on an underwater shelf. These plants help the pond to blend in naturally with the landscape and so it looks more natural.
Fill the pond with plants and allow them to become accustomed to their new environment. A reasonable length of time is days. After that, you can add some fish and snails to your pond. All that is missing is a lounge chair, umbrella, a tall glass or can of something cold to drink and you.