Pond plants can be a lovely addition to your pond. They not only beautify the area but also benefit the ecosystem.
In case you’re wondering how to plant pond plants, don’t worry, it’s super easy. You don’t need to be an expert to do it.
This article gives you a step-by-step guide to planting up your pond. It also helps you choose the right container, soil, and compost.
Do Pond Plants Need Containers?
Most of the time, pond plants require containers, unless your pond is originally built with marsh areas for planting.
Otherwise, your garden pond is typically built with shelves of various depths to accommodate all plant types and sizes. In this case, we recommend that you use containers to facilitate planting and care.
Benefits of Using Containers for Pond Plants
There are two main advantages to using containers for your pond plants:
1 – Control the Spread of Pond Plants
Typically, aquatic plants spread very fast. Some plants may even grow out of control and take over the entire pond in a short time.
Using containers can help you avoid this problem. With the proper container, you control the spread, growth, and potential size of the plant.
2 – Help Plants Survive the Frost
Potting your pond plants enables them to survive the frost, or at least facilitates the plant’s removal. For instance, some tropical and subtropical plants, such as Cannas, can’t survive the cold.
Such plants must be removed from the pond during the frost season; imagine the mess! This way, a container can facilitate their removal and eliminate the chaos.
3 Types of Pond Plants Containers
The question now is, which container is best for pond plants? The good news is that you have more than one ideal option, including:
1 – Pond Plant Baskets
These are baskets made of mesh and are specially designed to retain the soil of pond plants. You can also add a hessian liner to avoid any leaching.
Even with that hessian liner, these baskets don’t hinder the healthy growth of your aquatic plants. Actually, the roots can manage to grow through the mesh and absorb nutrients from the pond water.
2 – Plastic Pots
You can also opt for regular plastic pots. However, you need to make sure they don’t contain draining holes.
Unlike regular garden plants, pond plants don’t need draining holes. On the contrary, such holes can be harmful as the soil may seep through them.
3 – Fabric Pots
Also known as planters, fabric pots can be an ideal choice for pond plants. The fabric enables the pond water to soak the soil, delivering the necessary nutrients to the plant.
At the same time, the soil in this flexible fabric can still perfectly contain the plant while giving it enough room to grow.
On the flip side, these pots are pricey. In addition, they can be hard to remove from the water once you decide to take the plant out of the pond for any reason.
What Size Container to Choose
The size of the container you choose affects the ultimate size of your plant.
On that account, you should always opt for a container large enough to allow your plant to grow to the size you want.
Each plant requires a different size to reach its ultimate potential size, so make sure you use the right one.
Do Pond Plants Need Soil?
Not necessarily! This actually depends on whether you use a container. If you choose to keep the plants without containers, you don’t need to add much soil.
However, if you go with any type of aquatic container, you should add soil to hold the plant and allow it to absorb the necessary nutrients.
What Is the Right Soil for Pond Plants?
Generally speaking, the right soil for pond plants should be denser than regular soil. This way, it remains in the pot and doesn’t float in the pond water.
For instance, you should go for clay loam soil for your pond plants, regardless of their species and sizes.
You can also choose a commercial aquatic potting mix to avoid the hassle of picking the right type of clay.
In short, avoid using regular garden soil. It won’t hold up too long and would eventually leach into the pond water.
Can You Use Garden Compost for Pond Plants?
No, you can’t. In fact, this can do more harm than good.
For starters, regular garden compost can be harmful, even fatal, to your pond fish. This is mainly because garden compost has a fast-release fertilizer.
On the other hand, aquatic compost features slow-release fertilizers that help eliminate water pollution. This is mainly because the plants will absorb the nutrients from the soil itself, not affecting the fish.
As a matter of fact, you can skip compost altogether. Most pond plants absorb nutrients straight from the pond water. However, if your plants don’t look their best, you can always opt for aquatic compost to revive them.
Can You Plant Pond Plants in Gravel?
Yes, this is absolutely possible, but you might still need to add a bit of soil to it.
Most garden ponds are typically lined with gravel, and you can plant pond plants directly into that gravel without any container.
How to Plant Pond Plants Directly in Gravel
Although planting containers have some benefits for aquatic plants, planting directly in the gravel gives your pond a more natural look.
Here’s how to plant pond plants directly into your pond:
- Dig a bit into the gravel.
- Add a little bit of aquatic soil into the hole you dug.
- Press the roots of the plants gently into the soil.
- Cover the root back with gravel.
How to Plant Pond Plants Into Containers
First of all, pick the right size and material of the container and decide on the soil and compost to use.
Here’s how to plant pond plants into containers:
- After picking the container and soil type, fill ⅔ of it with soil. If you’re planting rhizome, fill only ⅓ to make room for the large roots.
- Dig a hole in the soil large enough to accommodate the root.
- Gently loosen the roots of the plant from its original soil.
- Remove the plant from its original pot.
- Place the plant into the new container, positioning the roots within the hole you dug.
- Fill the rest of the container with soil.
- Water the pond plant to saturate the soil gradually.
- Add gravel to the top of the container.
- When the soil is moist, place the plant in the allocated position within the pond.
Tips for Planting Pond Plants
- While moving the container, always carry it at a level position to avoid spilling the soil and gravel.
- Never carry a plant by the stem because it might break. Always lift it by the container.
- Plant your pond plants in the spring and summer seasons for better growth.
- Your pond should get at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. Any less than this might affect the growth of your plants.
- If you’re planting tropical water lilies, center their rhizomes in the container. This means that the eye faces upward and the top part of the rhizome lies above the soil.
- If you’re planting hardy water lilies, place their rhizomes with an angle towards one side of the container.
So, how do you plant pond plants? It’s actually quite easy, even for beginners! The first step is to decide whether to use a container or place the plants directly in the pond.
Then, choose the size and material of the container, as well as the soil and compost to use. From there, you just follow the above-listed steps!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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