The Secrets of Choosing Aquatic Plants

Aquatic pond plants come in a myriad of shapes and sizes, each with their own unique appeal! Generally speaking the majority fall into one of the following categories: deep water plants; marginal plants, oxygenator plants and floating pond plants. Making the right selection depends upon where you live and the size of your pond.

In a new pond build it is important to let your water plants get used to their new surroundings before introducing Koi, goldfish and other popular pond fish species.

Tropical water lilies are probably the most beautiful of pond plants, mainly due to their large flowers and fragrant smell. They are perfect for those pond keepers who live in warmer climates, with year round sunshine. They need day time temperatures of at least 75 Fahrenheit and night time temperatures of at least 65 Fahrenheit. Alas, if you live in a colder climate you can still keep them but you will have to be prepared to bring them indoors and over winter in a frost free green house and buy some heating equipment, for the cooler night time temperatures.

Hardy water lilies, while not quite as extravagant as their tropical cousins are able to remain in the pond all year round, even in cold weather conditions. They are a hardy water plant variety capable of living in deep ponds up to 8 to 10 feet in depth.

Both tropical lily and hardy lily varieties are sun freaks and need at least 5 hours, but preferably 10 hours of daily sunshine. Regular fertilizing is recommended.

If you are fortunate enough to live in a warm climate and have a large pond that is at least 2 or 3 feet deep then you can be the proud owner of the beautiful aquatic Lotus plant. Some strains are hardier than others so make your selection wisely. If huge flowering blooms are what you are looking for then a lotus plant is a great choice! It simply stands out from the crowd.

Marginal aquatic plants, more commonly known as marginals or bog plants live in the shallow areas of your pond, in the margins where the water depth is no more than 6 inches. They also thrive in muddy areas. Popular examples of this grass like plants include the Cattail, bamboo, rush and papyrus. They need at least 3 hours of sunshine per day to keep a smile on their face.

Oxygenators are a pond friendly plant variety that provide valuable oxygen and help to control the levels of both suspended planktonic algae and filamentous string algae varieties. They are also a tasty tit bit for pond fish and are capable of toughing it through cold winter spells.

Floating pond plants such as Water hyacinths are extremely popular amongst many pond keepers. These floating aquatic plants do not need to be planted. They simply float around the pond, with roots in tow. They block out sunlight from the water surface and help to fight off blanket weed and green pond algae. They are however much like the Roman Army of ancient times in that they maraud everywhere and take over. You will need to keep this water plant species under control.

Any fish pond will benefit from the addition of aquatic pond plants. The secret is to make sure that you do not let them run riot and grow out of control.

All Plants Need The Following

Every plant species has its own predetermined basic requirements. The following requirements will impact upon whether the particular pond plant species will flourish and propagate the next generation:

* The length of day is critical for growth, development and preparation for seasonal changes.

* Plants require radiation within a specified range. Factors such as rain, clouds, nearby plants will affect the level of radiation the plant is subjected to. Plants survive only where the amount of radiation falls within a specified range.

* The temperature has an effect on the development of all plant species. Some varieties are capable of surviving and are adaptable to extreme differences in temperature, whilst others need a much more constant temperature.

* The ability to cope with frost is dependant upon species and the genetic make up. Some species die, given the first signs of frost, whereas other plants do not seem to be affected and carry on regardless.

* Like frost the ability to cope with heat and sun depends upon species. Traditionally plants are categorized as sun, partial sun and shade types; they are planted according to their predetermined requirements.

* All plant varieties require a specific amount of water. This is a factor to bear in mind when landscaping a pond or garden.

* The ability of a plant to take up water and nutrients will depend upon the pH presence of soluble and insoluble salts, and aeration of the growing medium. All plant varieties, in order to grow require a pH within a specific range and essential nutrients in a predetermined ratio.

Aquatic pond plants add natural beauty to any fish pond as well as helping to keep pond algae at bay. They provide shelter and a safe hiding place for pond fish from predatory birds. Remember to make sure that you maintain two-thirds water to one-third plant coverage. This keeps a natural balance and prevents the pond from looking over populated.

4 Responses to The Secrets of Choosing Aquatic Plants

  1. Sarah Oliver September 30, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    I have a problem keeping my water lillies looking good. They seem to start turning yellow and get round brown spots on them to early in this Alabama weather. Also, my bog plants haven’t done well this year. Any suggestions? I don”t know where to look for info. Thanks I enjoy all of the articles!

  2. Kim Harrison October 12, 2009 at 2:17 am #

    I had the same issues with my lillies as well. I actually lost my tropical lily. Just my luck. I heard they are heavy feeder. I am not a professional but adding a aquatic plant food, might do the trick.

  3. Janice Marsellos October 15, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    We made the mistake of building a 3000 gal pond at our front door during construction of our new home and the roof covers 12 ft. I am desparately trying to find a source for plants that want shade. Water lillies keep dying. I don’t have enough plant life in my koi pond. Help! Jan

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