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How To Plant Pond Plants
The first thing that you want to do when your plants arrive is to remove them from the plastic bags they arrive in and keep the plants wet and out of the sunlight. Put the plants in trays of pond water in the shade to re-hydrate them until you can plant them. The soil that you use can be out of your flower or vegetable garden. Heavy soil with some clay base is good to use. Stay away from commercial potting soils as they are too light and will float out of the pot. Clay kitty litter mixed with some sand will also work, if clay is not available in your area of the country.
You can use any pot that you have for planting your water plants. If the pots have holes in them, line the bottom of the pot with burlap or newspaper. A wider pot is preferred to a tall and narrow one. Most bog plants will work in 2 to 3 gallon pots. Lilies do best if they have more room, so a 2 to 5 gallon pot is desired for them.
To prepare the soil, mix the soil with water from the pond to make a nice thick mud. Then fill the pot that you have chosen to about 2” from the top with your mud mix. Newly potted pond plants can be placed at shallow depths until they become established. Also keep water lilies away from waterfalls and fountains as they like still water. Following are specific directions for the type of water plant that you are planting.
Planting Hardy Water Lilies
Place the hardy water lily tuber at a 45 degree angle with the non-growing end against the side of the pot. Add several tablets of Highland Rim Fertilizer tablets (1 tablet per gallon of soil). Place tablets right in front of the crown (where the leaves and roots connect) of the tuber. Lilies are heavy feeders and should be fertilized once a month after planting. Be careful that the fertilizer is not touching the roots as this will burn them. Press the soil around the roots being careful not to cover the crown of the plant. Add a layer of gravel over the soil, again being careful not to cover the crown. It is better to plant lilies too high, than to plant them too deep. We like to use gravel that is about ½” in diameter, although rinsed pea gravel will also work. Gravel helps keep the soil in the pot and also keeps the fish from digging in the soil. Hardy lilies go to the bottom of the pond 18” to 36” deep. Some of the smaller varieties can be 12” deep.
Planting Tropical Water Lilies
Tropical Water lilies are shipped “bare-root” with 3 to 6 leaves and sometimes buds and flowers on them, although these may die back during the transplanting, but will immediately start sending up new leaves and buds. Keep the newly delivered plants wet and out of the sun. Tropical water lilies should be planted in 2 to 7 gallon pots. A larger container will produce larger and more profuse flowering. Fill the container about half-way with a heavy clay based soil. Place the tuber and roots upright in the center of the pot. Fill and firm the soil around the roots leaving the crown (where the stems and roots connect) level with the soil line. Add 1 fertilizer tablet per gallon of soil, keeping them away from the roots. Top with an inch of pea gravel or larger size gravel to hold the soil in place, remembering to keep away from the crown of the plant. At this point you can gently rinse the newly potted plant to lessen the mud escaping as you lower the potted lily into the pond. Lower the potted lily to a depth of approximately 6”-8″over the crown. Once the lily is established it can be lowered to a depth of 12” -18”.
Tropical water lilies cannot tolerate temperatures below 65 degrees and should not be planted until the water temperatures reach 70 degrees. Planting too early can cause dormancy or worse yet – death. Lilies are heavy feeders and should be fertilized every 4 weeks with 1 fertilizer tablet per gallon of soil throughout the growing season.Tropical waterlilies usually require at least 8 hours of sun. Some morning shade will not affect them, as long as the stronger afternoon sun will still reach the plant. Blue tropical lilies will grow and flower well, even if they do not receive a full day of sunshine.
Tropical water lilies can safely be placed outdoors when the water temperatures are a consistent 70 degrees. Placing the tropical waterlilies outside too soon may shock the plant, causing the plant to return to dormancy or possibly killing the lily. Tropical water lilies can winter outdoors in warmer climates where water temperatures do not fall below 60 degrees. Tropical water lilies that are marked as “Viviparous” will tolerate cooler water temperatures and bloom later into the fall months.
Planting Bog Plants
Plant these as you would tropical lilies, again making sure that you don’t cover the crown of the plant. Most of the bog plants that we sell come in 2” net pots. Care should be taken when removing the plants from these pots. Bog plants should only be in water deep enough to cover the pot.
Planting Water Lotus
We have a GREAT SELECTION of Lotus this year. Each lotus tuber has multiple growing tips. Lotus are available March thru June. Order early. You can preorder first of the year and we will ship per USDA zone.
All our lotus are shipped as tubers. Lotus are easy to grow providing you follow the planting instructions and fertilize monthly and they are voracious eaters.
Warmth is essential to growing the lotus, keeping the tuber too cold may cause the tuber to rot before it takes root. We recommend that you float your lotus tuber in aged pond water in a warm sunny place before planting. Keeping a watchful eye on it though, so it does not rot. This allows the tuber to sprout and will increase your success in growing lotus. When your lotus is ready to plant fill up your 5 to 10 gallon pot with 6” of mud. The 20”x6”, 22”x12”x7”, or the 23”x10” pots that we sell are ideal for lotus as they are not deep, but long enough to give your lotus ample room. Gently set the tuber on the surface of the mud, embed it slightly in the mud, then weigh it down with stones, this will prevent the tuber from floating out of the dirt until the roots have developed.
Be careful to only embed the tuber, burying it in the mud can cause it to rot. The lotus will then basically plant itself, turning downward into the mud mixture and then growing as it should. Lotus are very heavy feeders but should not be fertilized until they have put up two or three leaves. After they have set leaves they should be given 1 or 2 tablets of Highland Rim Fertilizer Tablets per gallon of soil. Choose a sunny spot for your lotus away from flowing water. Start the lotus in shallow water moving it deeper as it matures. 6” to 12” below the waters surface is ideal.
CARING FOR FLOATING POND PLANTS
Floating plants such as water lettuce, water hyacinths, frog bit, azolla and duckweed do not need to be planted. Simply place them in the pond to float. When you first remove your water lettuce from the bag it is wise to float it in a container of pond water in the shade to rehydrate its leaves before putting out in the hot sun. It has used the moisture stored in its leaves on the trip to you and if it is simple tossed into the pond in the hot sun, the sun will fry the leaves turning them brown and crispy.
SUBMERGED WATER PLANTS
Submerged, oxygenating plants such as anacharis, hornwort, cabomba, vallisneria and red ludwigia can be weighted and they simply sink to the bottom of the pond. We sell the lead weights and they are simple to use. Just wrap the weight around the base of the bunch of plants and toss them into your pond. Submerged plants may also be potted with pea gravel to hold them in place. They should be completely submerged to a depth of at least 12 inches.
If your interested in fairy gardens we have a large supply of fairies, fairy accessories and houses. We found there were a lot of customers who have ponds that also enjoy fairy gardens so we contacted a couple suppliers and are able to bring the products to our customers. Since these would cause damage to plants when shipping we created a different site for them. They are ordered separate from Dragonfly Aquatics on Flybynightfairygardens.com. Enjoy!