Lilies Water Gardens News

Pond planting in the autumn

Pond planting in the autumn

For any type of gardening, the planting is the process before the reward, so this makes Autumn a very good time to plant certain types of pond plants as they  will already be established and  therefore, put on a good display of foliage and flowers in the Spring.  There are however, certain plants that have rhizomes that should NOT be planted until March. Among these are bare-rooted Water lilies and Iris. Here at Lilies Water Gardens, if we have plants on our website that show on our website as “currently unavailable” during the autumn and winter months, it’s because they are out of season for planting.


Marginal Plants (Pre-Potted)

Pre-potted plants are suitable for planting any time of the year as their root systems are already established inside the pot.  In autumn, pond planting simply involves removing the plant from its existing pot and then re-planting it into a suitably sized, permanent aquatic basket which is then ready to be placed on a marginal shelf in the pond.  Always remember to follow the planting rules I have listed below.

1.) Always line your aquatic basket with a hessian or cloth liner.

2.) Always use a good brand of aquatic soil OR clay. If you have moles in your garden, the soil from their molehills is very rich in nutrients and therefore, a good choice to use.  NEVER though, use peat based potting compost.

3.) NEVER feed pond plants in the autumn or winter.  Feeding should be done in early Spring and early Summer but no later than the end of July.


Here at Lilies Water Gardens, we only sell pre-planted pond plants in solid pots rather than aquatic baskets and here’s why –

1.) Pond plants are quite often sold in 9cm and 1 litre ‘aquatic baskets’ and then advertised as ‘pond ready’. However over 95% of these plants (though there are a few exceptions), will then need to be re-planted into nothing smaller than a 2 litre basket, as the 9 cm and 1 litre baskets are far too small In size.

2.) Not all planting involves aquatic planting baskets.  Pond plants are often sold to be housed in natural streams, ditches, bog-lands, water meadows and natural clay bottomed ponds and lakes. So, there is no point in selling so called ‘pond ready’ plants in unsuitable aquatic baskets that more often than not, will just be thrown away. Solid black plastic pots are versatile and can be re-used over and over again in all types of gardening.



Caltha Palustris and Cultivars (King Cups and Marsh Marigolds) Bare rooted or Potted

Marsh Marigolds have massive root systems and like many other bare rooted perennials they love to be planted in the autumn.  Whether they are pre-potted or bare rooted, now is the time to plant King Cups, and they will definitely reward you by being the first to put on a magnificent display of yellow flowers in the spring.


Apponogetons (Water Hawthorns)

These plants with their large oval floating leaves and masses of vanilla scented flowers prefer cooler water and look their best in the autumn and Spring.  In fact, they hate warm or hot water and go dormant and disappear completely in the summer, so now is a great time to plant them.


Oxygenating Plants

Certain Oxygenating plants also prefer cooler water and look their best in the autumn and Spring. Included in these are Callitriche Stagnalis, (Star Wort), Hottonia  Palustris (Water Violet), Eleocharis Acicularis (Hair Grass), Vallisneria Spiralis (Ribbon Grass) and last but not least, Sagittaria Graminea.  All these plants will grow happily away and produce different shades of underwater, green colour right through the Autumn and Winter and at the same time, will be adding essential oxygen to your pond providing a safe haven and natural environment for all your visiting and residential pond life.


Our online store and very informative website is open all year around so please visit


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Pond Plants to suit all your needs

Pond Plants to suit all your needs


When it comes to planting up your pond or water garden, knowing where to start can be a daunting task.  There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting the right plants that will thrive and be happy in your existing or newly created pond.  Here are a few  to consider  e.g. pond size, the amount of light it gets, the water depth, your geographical  location, and last but not least, the right plants to attract wildlife etc,  and the list goes on.


Here at Lilies Water Gardens, we have created a simple online tool in order to make the whole process of choosing the right plants to suit your requirements, a much easier and less daunting task.  All you need to do is simply choose the plants from the categories that are relevant to your pond conditions, then tick any of the descriptive boxes that will give you more information on each plant you have chosen, and this will help you to draw up a successful planting list.  If the planting list is not big enough, redefine your choices and tick a larger selection of boxes.


Visit our homepage at and click on ‘Plants to suit all your needs.’


Choosing pond plants made easy!

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Hydrocharis Morsus Ranae-Frogbit


Hydrocharis Morsus Ranae-Frogbit


Everyone who owns a pond, wants free-floating pond plants as part of their planting scheme. However, there are not many to choose from as the majority are either tropical/annual such as  Salvinias,  Water Hyacinth and Water Lettuce or invasive as is the case with Duckweed that in my opinion,  should never be sold.  After that, we are left with two native plants which are Frog Bit and Water Soldiers. Water Soldiers are always sold as a free floating plant but are actually a submerged plant that anchors itself to the bottom of the pond by extending its long roots. It only emerges although still anchored, during the summer months and its leaves have a pineapple shaped appearance.

Frog bit starts its life as a dormant capsules which likes to over winter in silt or mud at the bottom of the pond or can even be found growing in muddy margins.  In April and May as the weather warms up, the capsule ripens and floats unfolding tiny plants onto the water surface. Within a few weeks, the plants resemble miniature Water Lily leaves about the size of a two pence piece.  The leaves have elongated roots that hang down in the water taking up unwanted nitrates.  Throughout the summer, the plant colonizes and spreads itself out on runners creating a carpet of floating leaves and a display of pretty, small white flowers during the summer months.  Towards Autumn time, the growth and spreading rate slows down and the old flowers form fresh individual capsules and when all of the last floating leaves have decomposed , the capsules will sink to the bottom of the pond to start the whole seasonal process again.

Frog Bit has many essential benefits when added to your pond.  Its an excellent nitrate remover and provides lots of surface cover which therefore, makes it an essential plant to consider for helping combat algae problems.  Also, it’s an essential choice for wildlife ponds as it is favored by our visiting Dragonflies and Damselflies.  The floating leaves are very good at providing hiding places for small fish, amphibians and other pond life.



The best and only true, free floating British pond plant that is frost hardy and has multiple commercial uses is available to buy from April/May on wards here at our Nursery Lilies Water Gardens or online at

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Innula Hookeri for Attracting Wildlife

Inula Hookeri for Attracting Wildlife

This often over-looked plant is simply amazing.  Inula Hookeri is a clump forming, moisture loving perennial plant that grows up to a height of 80 cm.  Inula produces a mass of bright yellow flowers that bring color and impact to any water garden during the summer months.  It’s stunning, large yellow daisy looking flowers, strangely twist open from attractive fluffy twisted buds, which attracts masses of Bees and Butterflies.

VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

Inula Hookeri without doubt deserves its place planted next to water.   Loving full sun, it will also grow in partial shade.  In autumn, the flower produces seed heads that are food for many wild birds.   If you want impact, color and wildlife in your water garden, then this is a great addition to add to your water garden project or planting list.

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Blanket weed or Blanket Answer


Blanket Weed or Blanket Answer!

Every year as soon as the sun comes out and the water temperature rises, all beginners and enthusiastic, water garden hobbyists alike, at some point will be confronted with a surge of green slime also known as Blanket Weed.  This unsightly, problematic weed clogs up pumps, clings to liners and baskets and eventually,  invades your Water Lilies and other submerged pond plants in its path.  The hard work of cleaning out the pond is not the quick answer though, as the combination of the chlorine in the fresh added water together with sunlight, will just make things worse.  New or freshly filled ponds using tap water will often create the ideal conditions for a Algae Bloom and this includes, Blanket Weed which is of course, a type of Algae.


How do we solve the problem!


Adding Nitrate Removing Plants

Adding the correct plants that will eat up excess nutrients is always a good first step to achieving a lovely clear pond.  Planting marginal plants, deep water marginal plants, submerged pond plants and oxygenating plants will all help cut down on excess nitrates.

To create your list of nitrate hungary plants, visit our website and click on “Plants to suit all your needs”.


Adding Water Lilies and other pond plants with floating leaves

Pond plants that produce floating leaves are excellent for cutting down on sunlight and therefore, will help to reduce Algae and Blanket Weed problems.  I always recommended that somewhere between half and two thirds of your pond should be covered in floating leaves.

To create your list of “nitrate removing plants” or plants with “floating leaves and surface cover”, visit our website and click on “plants to suit all your needs”


Another Solution – Use Cloverleaf Blanket Answer

I love this non chemical, wildlife friendly product and use it all the time in my own nursery tanks here at Lilies Water Gardens.  Used as instructed to your own size of pond, it stops Blanket Weed in its tracks and what’s left,  seems to just give up and will sink to the bottom of the pond where it will eventually dissolve.Cloverler Leaf 2


 Adding Some Water Daphnia (Water Fleas)

This option for combating Blanket Weed will only work in wildlife ponds without any fish as Daphnia, is a favourite treat for hungary fish!  Daphnia feed on different types of Algae and by adding a bag of live Daphnia to your pond, will often result in 100% crystal clear water.  These tiny hungry helpers will literally eat, breed and eat more Algae until every last bit has disappeared.  Daphnia, we love you.


I hope the above information helps you to achieve a lovely clear Blanket Weed and Algae free pond.


Problem solved!!

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Caddis Flies

Caddis Flies


The Latin name for Caddis Flies is Trichoptera and there are over 7000 species worldwide and around 200 species in the UK.  Caddis Flies can be found almost anywhere where there is fresh water as they favour a habitat of lakes, ponds and streams.  Caddis Flies look rather similar to moths.  They are mostly nocturnal and are a good  food source for Bats, Birds, Trout and Salmon.

Ephemera sp. drying on Equisetum arvense

Caddis fly larvae can be quite destructive to pond plants if their numbers get out of control.  Spinning silk from their mouth parts, they bind small pieces of leaves and stalks which they take from fresh growing or decaying plants, and they wrap this foliage up into a protective cacoon in which they can live in.

When the larvae are fully grown they pupate by attaching pupae to rocks and pebbles, hatching into adults in late spring and early summer.  The newly hatched Caddis Fly then floats to the water surface where they emerge, often in their thousands, producing swarms of adults.  Like many insects the winged adults only live one or two weeks at the most and their sole adult purpose, is to mate and lay eggs in the water thus completing the Caddis Fly life cycle.

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Sagittaria Species and Cultivars


Sagittaria Species and Cultivars

Also known as Duck Potato, Swamp Potato and Arrowhead, Sagittaria are true shallow and deep water marginal plants that are common in the wild throughout the Northern Hemisphere.  There are about 30 wild species and a large number of these species are small and sold in the aquarium trade.  But, there also a handful of species and cultivars that are sold as True marginal pond plants.  All Arrowheads grow at different heights and produce white petal’s that vary in size. Individual species produce flowers that have different coloured brown, yellow, and maroon markings.  They are best suited to full sun but will tolerate slight partial shade.  Sagittaria thrive when grown in under water clay and mud.  In many countries, the bulbs are harvested in spring from just below the surface of the mud and eaten raw or boiled, and are also used to make Sagittaria crisps.  It’s not just humans that like to eat the bulbs hence the name Duck Potato.Sagittaria Graminea 2


Please click on the links below for pictures and information.

Sagittaria Saggitifolia   –  (Pointed Arrowhead)

Sagittaria Japonica       –  (Japanese Arrowhead)

Sagittaria Japonica Flore Plena  – (Double Flowered Japanese Arrowhead)

Sagittaria Lanccifolia    –  (Lance Leafed Arrowhead)

Sagittaria Graminea     –   (Grassy Sagittaria)


The last on the list Sagittaria Graminea, is by far my favorite as it produces masses of white flowers throughout June and July.  It’s also an excellent oxygenating and nitrate removing plant and extremely useful in combating algae and blanket weed problems, thus resulting in crystal clear water.

VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

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Water Hyacinths and Water Lettuce

Water Hyacinths and Water Lettuce

I have written many articles on both of these free floating, tropical plants and I thought I should just remind you all that they are not frost hardy, and so for that very reason, should NEVER be offered for sale in the UK until all frost risks have disappeared and the water temperature of your pond, has exceeded at least 12 degrees celsius.pistia stratiotes

Both of these free floating plants, will thrive and look great in your pond from Mid May onwards. They will multiply and not only look attractive and provide cover for various wildlife and fish,but will also eat up nitrates and cut down on sunlight therefore, helping to reduce any algae problems.

Eichornia Crassipes (Water Hyacinths), and Pistia Stratiotes (Water Lettuce), should NEVER be sold in the UK during the months of April.  In fact, in some colder areas of the UK, these lovely plants will not survive outside until at least June.  I would very much like to hear from any of you that have been advised to buy these plants at this time of year, as they won’t survive and the supplier will be aware of it!JSR7024

AVAILABLE SOON! I have a very new exciting variegated cultivar of Pistia Stratiotes (water lettuce) I should have plenty to offer by June.

Customer satisfaction is of great importance to us here at Lilies Water Gardens, and for that reason, we will not sell or even show them as available to purchase on our website  until at least Mid-May.

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New Iris Louisiana Cultivars


New Iris Louisiana Cultivars

About 7 years ago, I started a collection of Iris Louisiana.  Importing live plants is a tricky procedure that involves a lot of time, effort, money and red tape but, as a collector of rare and unusual plants, although I find the process sometimes rather frustrating, I also find it very rewarding.  It takes a matter of years to increase stocks before plants can be released for sale.  This year, I have some new exciting Iris Louisiana that will be available to buy soon from my online website and also to nursery visitors. Iris Louisiana’s are fully frost hardy and easy to grow and my collection will keep growing until I have 100 plus cultivars of these stunning plants in every colour of the rainbow.  I have listed some of my favourite new cultivars below and they are all linked to my website where you can see photos and information on each variety.  Unfortunately, they will only be available this year in limited numbers as I still need to increase stocks




Postmaster 7.00Barcoo 8.00Arrows 10.00



Our Sassy 12.00Blue Mountain Mist 10.00

Fauborg Saint John 8.00Joie De Vivre 8.00 Hail Mary 8.00Tomato Bisque 7.00












Iris Louisiana Arrows

Iris Louisiana Barcoo

Iris Louisiana Blue Mountain Mist

Iris Louisiana Fauborg Saint John

Iris Louisiana Friends Song

Iris Louisiana Hail Mary

Iris Louisiana Inn Keeper

Iris Louisiana Joie De Vivre

Iris Louisiana Our Sassy

Iris Louisiana Postmaster

Iris Louisiana Tomato Bisque

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For those of you that are lucky enough to be proud owners of larger areas of water, there is a water bird that you should welcome with open arms should you be lucky enough of course, if they decide to make your back garden their home and breeding ground.  Moorhens also known as Marsh Hens, Latin name Gallinula Chloropus,  are black coloured water birds with red beaks.  They are similar to and are often confused with Coots that have white beaks.  Moorhens are solitary birds that are well adapted to a life on ponds, canals, wetlands, woodland marshes, and water meadows.  Their loud single calls are pleasing to the ears and can often be heard throughout the spring and summer  Having long legs and large webbed feet, they are perfectly designed for fast swimming , walking and running over and amongst floating pond vegetation.  Moorhens eat a wide and varied array of vegetation as well as small fish, crustaceans, amphibians and a vast range of insects.Moorhen eggsBaby MoorhensAdult Moorhen


Breeding Season

Marsh Hens start constructing nests as early as late February and sometimes even earlier.  The nests are raised above emerged water plants and are constructed out of rushes and other pond vegetation.  They usually have two broods a year, one in early spring March – April, and the second in July  – August, though occasionally there is a third brood.  On average there are 5-8 eggs laid in a single nest, and the incubation period is 19-22 days.  Unfortunately, baby Moorhens have a lot of predators so have a low survival rate.  Foxes, Herons and large predatory fish like fresh water Pike, will all take baby Moorhens for a quick and easy snack.



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