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Do I Need To Fertilize My Plants And If I Do Will It Encourage Algae Growth? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A


Do I need to fertilize my plants and if I do will it encourage algae growth?

Do I need to fertilize my plants and if I do will it encourage algae growth? Ben – Shelley, ID

Here We Grow Again

Behind the scenes your Aquatic Plants are working hard to filter nutrients from the water in your pond, provide shelter for its residents, and keep algae blooms to a minimum. While this may seem impressive to some, it is hard for most pond owner to get excited about aquatic plants unless they can do all of this work while looking good. Whoever coined the phrase “Looks aren’t everything” obviously never owned a water garden.

If your aquatic plants are failing to impress you can use some plant fertilizer to give them the boost they need to ensure your pond has more buds and less duds this season. The type of fertilizer you use will depend on the type of plants in your pond and how they are implemented.

Liquid fertilizers like Microbe-Lift Bloom & Grow are mixed directly into your pond water, providing a readily available food source throughout the entire pond. This type of application is great for ponds with an abundance of scattered plants, Floating Plants, and plants that are in areas lacking Planting Media.

Concentrated fertilizers like TetraPond LilyGro Tablets and Laguna Fertilizer Pond Spikes are used for potted plants or plants with roots planted in media. Simply push these fertilizers into the planting media and they will gradually release nutrients that your plants. When you are using concentrated fertilizers in your pond, carefully read the directions for each individual product for specific application instructions and warnings. For example, when using LilyGro tablets you will want to place them about 3” away from the crown of the plant to ensure the fertilizer does not burn the roots or stem.

The amount of fertilizer you need and intervals at which you re-apply them will depend on which type you are using and variable factors such as average water temperatures and how many plants are in the pond. Applications can range from once a season to ever 2-4 weeks. Whichever type or brand of fertilizer you use in your pond make sure it is low in or completely free of phosphates which can encourage algae growth. Microbe-Lift Bloom & Grow is an entirely phosphate free product.

Fertilizing your plants will encourage increased growth and color in healthy plants to push them to perform at their best. Fertilizers will not be an effective substitute for gardening know how. If your plants are constantly dieing make sure they are being planted in the right Temperature Zone and are being used in the correct applications. Bog Plants like Dwarf Cattails for example should not be entirely submerged in your pond, tropical plants like Antares should not be planted in cold climates and so on.

Do some homework, read the descriptions and text included with your plants and fertilizers to ensure you select the correct products for you unique water gardening scenario. Once your aquatic plants are established and growing, you can then decide if you need fertilizer to give them a kick in the bud to bloom at their best.

Pond Talk:What aquatic plants do you use in your pond and which types of fertilizers do you use for them?

Fertilizer Pond Spikes

4 Responses

  1. Have to agree with the comments in general. I have had ponds for 15 years (nothing big 1600 gals) and maintain 20-25 ponds here on Long Island, New York and never saw the need to fertilize plants. Also have had success wintering over large Taro plants in pots and within 2-3 weeks after being placed outside, new growth appears.

  2. I have to say, I have had my pond for 7 years and have never had a need for using fertilizers for plant growth and/or bloom. Currently I have about 20+ blooms on my lilies, 15+ blooms on my yellow water irises, 6+ on my Purple irises and will soon have blooms on my pickerel plants.

    I truly believe if the planted are planted properly with bare root embedded within the rocks (without using any plant pots), a healthy pond will do the rest. The key I believe is using the proper natural bacteria and having plenty of aeration with a good PH. Many people lose out on good plant growth due to trying to confine them within pots.

    Best wished on your pond!!!!
    – James (Fellow ponder)

  3. We have a pond plant with long flat leaves (about 2 feet long)…similar to Iris leaves. The plant ‘root’ resembles iris corms as well. Once in a while a green stalk with a braided looking top will appear. We have no idea what the name of this plant is..it was given to us. I can see why she had extra! It spreads quite readily on it’s own. My husband cuts chunks off and I have a tub of water in the back and we just put them in there. They have gone through the winter both above ground (tub) and floating in water in a sunken garbage pail in the garden…frogs use it in the summer. They are HARDY. They die down in the fall and come back full force in the spring. This is CT. winter we are talking about!

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