Water Garden Planting Instructions
The planting instructions below are a basic guide only. Before planting out your plants or rhizomes, consideration should be taken as to the varying water levels due to summer evaporation and seasonal temperatures.
Alpines, Perennials and Ferns
These plants are sold in different sized solid pots or as plug plants, (plug plants have miniature pot sized root balls). Simply remove your plants out of their pots and plant them in your desired location whilst taking into consideration their individual plant species or cultivar requirements i.e. - sun, shade, dry or moist soil etc, plug plants are bare rooted so there is no pot to remove.
Free Floating Plants
Many of these plants are not frost hardy and so cannot be left outside all year round with the exception of Hydrocharis (Frog Bit) and Stratiotes Aloides (Water Soldiers) which are frost hardy. Most free floaters are tropical or sub-tropical in nature and so need to be brought in for the winter. Over-wintering them in a heated greenhouse or conservatory or even a well lit window sill in a heated room in your house will be ideal. All you need to do is float them in a bowl or cat tray filled with 2-3 inches of water and do not re-introduce them into your pond, until all frosts are over for the spring/summer duration.
Here at Lilies Water Gardens all our Water Lilies are dispatched bare rooted. Contrary to some beliefs, Water Lilies are actually easier to plant than most people think. If you are planting straight into natural clay bottomed, silt pond or a lined or fibreglass pond that has planting substrate in, simply push them in at a 45 degree angle until the growing tip of the rhizome is just under the surface of the clay or silt. Then push the planting media around the rhizome tightly to prevent them floating up or being dug up by inquisitive fish. If you are planting straight into a man-made, lined or fibreglass pond, I would recommend that you definitely use Aquatic Planting Baskets. First line the baskets with Hessian Liners or even better, Velda Cloth Liners remembering to trim off any liner that is exposed after planting. Plant as instructed above using Aquatic Soil. When using baskets, some people prefer to add 2 cm of Aquatic Gravel on top although this is not essential but will prevent fish or other pond wildlife, disturbing your newly potted Water Lilies. Sometimes the dust from Aquatic Soil can rise to the surface making your water surface look unsightly and using Aquatic Gravel will stop this from happening and therefore a far more pleasing result will follow. If you are planting into Aquatic Planting Baskets, I recommend that you feed all your newly potted Water Lilies straight away before planting out as they are very heavy feeders, and will benefit greatly from this boost of nutrients that are essential for growth and flowering performance. This is all too important if you are putting your Lilies into a brand new pond, although not quite so if your pond is already well established and has built up nutrients from established silt or fish excrement that will feed your water lilies. Always plant Water Lilies in a sunny location although there are a few cultivars that will do better in dappled sunlight. There are hundreds of different cultivars and their size varies from miniature to large so, always check each of their individual water depth requirements. When planting into baskets, the depth is measured from the top of the basket to the water surface.
Shallow and Deep Marginal Pond Plants
Marginal plants are sold in solid black pots whereas plug plants are bare rooted depending of course on the habit of each variety, speed of seasonal growth and availability. If potted, simply remove the pots before planting, plug plants are bare rooted so there is no pot to remove. If you are planting straight into a natural clay or silt bottomed pond, just dig a hole in the substrate at the required depth, and plant them straight into it bearing in mind, that pond levels will rise and drop throughout the season. Natural planting depths for marginal’s should always be based on each of their individual species or cultivar depth requirements keeping in mind that the winter water table level will rise. Most marginal plants have long roots that will dig down deep to reach any water that is available in the dry summer months. Marginal’s are great at adapting to water levels so plant with confidence. If you are planting in a man-made, lined or fibreglass pond then I would advise that you plant your marginal’s into aquatic Baskets or Planting Bags first.
This Process is the same as described above under the heading ‘Water Lilies’ but again, remember to place your planted baskets out at the required water depth for each variety. When planting into baskets, the depth is measured from the top of the basket to the water surface.
Oxygenating and Submerged Pond Plants
With the exception of the Oxygenating plant Ceratophyllum Demersum (Hornwort) and a few free floating varieties, all other submerged and oxygenating plants should be planted at their required depths. Planting instructions are much the same as for Marginal plants above except for bunched oxygenators which should be planted with one third of the led weighted end below the soil level. The process of planting out for these particular Aquatic plants is slightly more complicated, if you don’t have long arms, you may need a friendly neighbour that does as the required water depth will need to be a lot deeper than that of your Marginal plants.
Indoor Water gardening
The rules and guidelines for indoor water gardening are all repeated in the paragraphs above. With so many people nowadays having conservatories, indoor water gardening is becoming ever more popular, as it gives the opportunity to grow beautiful Tropical Water Lilies as well as many other exotic tropical plants, which are certainly not frost hardy and would certainly perish if exposed to cold temperatures.