HARDY WATER LILIES – Summer Bloomers (Balancing Plants)
Water lilies contribute to pond water balancing as they shade the water surface and prevent too much sunlight from penetrating the water to feed algae. Place water lilies in the deep part of the pond with 12″ to 18″ of water over the tops of the containers. Water lilies grow best in very still water; locate them away from waterfalls and sprayheads. Most lilies need five hours of direct sunlight per day in order to grow well and bloom; however, shade tolerant varieties are available. For best growth and blooming, fertilize with aquatic plant fertilizer, during the growing season, according to the directions on the fertilizer package. When winterizing in the fall, cut foliage 2″-3″ above the soil and remove roots that have grown out around the pot. Leave lilies in the deep section of the pond. We recommend splitting lilies in late summer. Use water gardening soil (nothing rich or lightweight) then cover the dirt with pea gravel. The water lily will be the eye catcher in your pond because of its beauty. Truly a specimen plant for the water garden!
TROPICAL WATER LILIES – Summer Bloomers
Place tropical water lilies in the deep part of the pond with 12″ to 18″ of water over the tops of the containers. Most tropical lilies need five hours of direct sunlight per day in order to grow well and bloom. The best time for tropical lilies is from mid to late May through the end of September in the Cincinnati area (Zone 6). For best growth and blooming, fertilize with aquatic plant fertilizer during the growing season, according to the directions on the fertilizer package. Tropical water lilies must be brought inside for the winter months. Wait until after the second frost, but before the first hard freeze; this helps prepare the tropical lily for winter dormancy. Remove the lily tuber(s) from the pot, wash off all dirt and put it in a closed container, or plastic bag, filled with damp sand. Store it in a cool (50-55ºF), dark area. Replant the lily in the spring (in water gardening soil with pea gravel on top) and put it back into the pond when the water temperature warms to around 70ºF.
HARDY LOTUS – Summer Bloomers
The lotus is a relative of the water lily and a showpiece in the water garden. A lotus grows well with 6″ to 12″ of water over the top of the container, depending on the size of the plant. Lotuses are available in a variety of sizes and flower colors. They need at least five hours of direct sunlight per day to bloom well. For best growth and blooming, fertilize with aquatic plant fertilizer during the growing season, according to the directions on the fertilizer package. When winterizing in the fall, carefully cut all foliage off the plant and move it down to the deep section of the pond. In the Spring, wait until new leaves emerge from the plant before moving it back to its shallower place for the growing season.
HARDY BOG PLANTS
These are also known as hardy marginals and will grow best in the shallow area of the pond with approximately 2″ of water over the top of the pots. Most of these plants will grow in sun or shade, but flowering plants typically need at least five hours of sunlight per day to bloom. For best growth and blooming, fertilize with aquatic plant fertilizer, during the growing season, according to the directions on the fertilizer package. Split bog plants in late summer or early fall using water gardening soil, and cover the dirt with pea gravel. For winter, cut most plants back (approximately 2″-3″ above the soil) and leave most on the shelves. Refer to the list below for special instructions on the specific plants.
Some examples of Hardy Bog Plants include:
Aquatic Mint (Lilac Summer Bloom) Arrow Arum (White Summer Bloom)
Arrowhead (White Summer Bloom) Bald Cyprus *(1)
Blue Pickerel (Blue-violet Summer Bloom) Bog Bean (White Spring Bloom)
Butter Popcorn Common Three Square Rush
Corkscrew Rush Dwarf Bamboo
Floating Heart (Yellow Summer Bloom) Forget-Me-Not (Blue Summer Bloom) *(1)
Four Leaf Clover (Patterned) *(2) Golden Club (Yellow Spring Bloom)
Graceful Cattail Horse Tail Rush
Iris (Spring Bloom – many colors) Korean Sunrise
Lizard’s Tail (White Summer Bloom) Parrot Feather *(2)
Pennywort (Lobed) Powdery Thalia (Violet Summer Bloom)
Spearwort (Yellow Summer Bloom) Spike Rush
Variegated Cattail Variegated Dwarf Common Reed
Variegated Sweet Flag Water Celery (White Summer Bloom)
Water Hibiscus (Red, pink or white summer bloom) White Pickerel (White summer bloom)
White Rush Zebra Rush
*(1) DO NOT cut plant back for winter
*(2) Move plant to deep section of pond for winter.
TROPICAL BOG PLANTS
These marginal plants will grow best in the shallow area of the pond with approximately 2″ of water over the top of the pots. Most tropical bog plants will grow in sun or shade, but flowering plants typically need at least five hours of sunlight per day to bloom. The best time for tropical bog plants is from mid to late May through the end of September in the Cincinnati area (Zone 6). For best growth and blooming, fertilize with Aquatic Plant fertilizer, according to the directions on the fertilizer package. Tropical marginals can be split and planted with the same method used for hardy bog plants.
These plants can not be left outside in the winter or they will die. All tropical bog plants must be brought inside before the first frost, and treated as a houseplant, sitting in a container of water in a direct-light window. They can also be kept in a heated green house or in a warm area with a grow light overhead. In spring, allow time for the water temperature to reach 70ºF. Gradually re-introduce tropical bog plants to the outdoors prior to placing them back in the pond for the summer. Great tip: A tropical bog plant in a beautiful container in your home is a great way to preserve a piece of summer. Also, the reservoir of water provides good humidity for dry winter air.
Some examples of Tropical Bog Plants include:
Canna–Orange, Red, Yellow, Variegated (Summer Bloom)
Green Taro Imperial Taro
Marble Queen (White Summer Bloom) Mosaic Plant
Papyrus (Small and Giant) Sensitive Plant
Star Grass (White Summer Bloom) Umbrella Palm (Small and Giant)
Violet Stemmed Taro
FLOATING PLANTS (Balancing Plants)
Floating plants contribute to pond water balancing as they shade the pond surface and prevent too much sunlight from penetrating the water to feed algae. Their root systems also act as natural filters. Yet they can be very invasive and must be trimmed back, and some of the plants discarded from time to time, as they can choke out other plants, such as water lilies. Floating plant roots are also excellent spawning grounds for fish. Floating plants are tropical plants and can not be kept outside over the winter. Typically these plants are thrown away at the end of the season, as they rarely survive indoors.
Some examples of Floating Plants include:
Water Hyacinth (Purple Summer Bloom)
OXYGENATING PLANTS (Balancing Plants)
These plants are absolutely necessary for maintaining a well balanced natural ecosystem. They produce oxygen in the water and reduce the amount of algae in the pond by competing with algae for nutrients in the water. To efficiently balance a pond, it is necessary to have ten bunches of oxygenating plants for every hundred gallons of pond water. Anacharis and Hornwort are the oxygenating plants we prefer to use at Aquatic & Garden Decor. We recommend placing all of the bunches together in one area, in the deep part of the pond (18″ minimum), where the water is cooler. The plants will grow un-potted in the water; however, they must be weighted down in the deep part of the pond, or held down with a rock. If the entire plant floats to the top of the water, it will die; yet if the plants grow to the top of the water, that is fine. During the winter, these oxygenators should remain in the deep section of the pond. These are hardy in the Cincinnati area, provided the growth is cut below the freeze level. The cut clippings can be saved, bundled and anchored with a rock. Be aware, oxygenators may be eaten by fish during the winter. If your pond is not cleaned in the fall, the oxygenators can rot in the build up of muck and leaves on the bottom.
Some examples of Oxygenating Plants include:
Rotala Water Wisteria
All products and accessories discussed in this tip sheet are available at Aquatic & Garden Decor.