|Although is may seem obvious,
aquatic plants are different to land based plants, because
they have evolved to live in wet even submerged conditions.
There are three principle groups of aquatic plants, all
with specific needs:
These are essentially
the plants that stick up above the surface of the water
and provide height to the pond. They can be planted
into waterlogged ground or more commonly into plastic
planting baskets, which are then placed into the water.
Planting Depth: 6 - 8 inches
Care: Plant into planting
baskets using aquatic compost, when the plant starts
to die back in the autumn / fall, cut back the plant
to ensure that the decaying plant material does not
pollute the water. Feed once a season with an aquatic
Cultivation: Generally these
plants can be cultivated by division in the spring,
although because of the huge number of plants in this
sections it's best to consult your nursery.
Hardy Examples: Water Iris,
Pickeral Rush, Arrowhead,
Tender Examples: Papyrus,
Umbrella plant, Water Cannas
floating plants have extensive root systems that dangle
into the water from the surface, these root systems
provide ideal spawning areas for fish like goldfish.
They often reproduce by budding and as such can be very
invasive. In some areas especially the USA they are
prohibited by law because of the fact that they can
grow so quickly.
Planting Depth: Allow to float
unplanted on the surface
Care: They only care required is
for tender variety if they are needed the following
season. Take a strong plant in the early autumn and
keep in pond water in a well lit frost free greenhouse.
Periodically replace the water with fresh water. Stratiodes
(the water soldier) sinks to the bottom of the pond
in the winter and rises again in the spring.
Cultivation: Because these
plants bud so easily, they can be cultivated by cutting
the offspring away from the parent to produce a new
Hardy examples: Water Soldier
Tender Examples: Water Hyacinth,
These are plants that are not very visable, as they
are present under the water. But they can fulfil a useful
role in the pond. They absorb nutrients, and can help
to reduce the growth of algae in the pond. Calling them
oxygenators can be a misnomer as although they produce
oxygen during the day, they absorb it again at night.
Oxygenation is best achieved using a pond pump.
Planting Depth: up to 18"
Care: These plants are usually purchased
in clumps unpotted, and they do best when they are potted
into planting containers with aquatic compost and dressed
with pea gravel. Depending on the size of the container
you should get 3 - 6 bunches per pot. You should have
one bunch for every 2sq feet of pond surface.
Cultivation: When the plant
becomes too big, simply cut a length off and plant up
into a fresh container.
Examples: Anacharis, hornwort,
These plants have leaves that float
on the surface and roots that are firmly placed in containers
on the bottom of the pond. Water lilies are generally
the best known aquatic plant. They are available in
an enormous assortment of varieties and colours. Other
plants like lilies are available.
Planting Depth: Variable up
Care: These plants should
be in water that is at a depth specific to the variety
in question. They should be planted in a generously
sized container rich in nutrients, the compost should
be covered with Pea Gravel and larger stones. If this
does not prevent your fish from digging up the compost
in their quest for food, then try enclosing the whole
container with an old pair of nylons. These plants need
regular feeding if they are to flower prolifically throughout
the whole season. Dead leaves and flowers should be
removed or else they will rot and pollute the water.
Cultivation: The lilies can
be propagated by cutting sections from the rhizome,
and planting in fresh compost . This should be done
when the plant is entering the growing phase, not at
the end of the season.
Examples: Many varieties of
hardy, tropical, and night blooming lily, also water
hawthorn, water fringe, water snowflake, and water poppy.