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How many plants do I need in my pond, and do I need to fertilize them? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A


Q: How many plants do I need in my pond, and do I need to fertilize them?

Q: How many plants do I need in my pond, and do I need to fertilize them?

Cynthia – Bishop, CA

A: A good mix of aquatic plants does more than beautify your water garden. The marginal, floating and submerged plants, such as those found in our Aquatic Plant Packages, also absorb excess nutrients in the water and shade the pond’s surface, which can help prevent algae attacks and protect your finned friends from hungry herons and raccoons.

When planting aquatic plants in and around your pond, you should ideally have 40 to 60 percent of your water garden’s surface covered with floating aquatic plants, like hardy water lilies, water hyacinth and water lettuce. This allows for enough nutrient absorption and shading to prevent algae from gaining a foothold in your pond.

Just like the plants in your vegetable garden, those lilies and bog plants need some nutrients added to their soil to thrive. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Spikes: Fertilizer spikes, like Laguna Plant Grow Fertilizer Spikes, slowly release plant food, which makes them super easy to use. The balanced nutrients in the spikes encourage both foliage and root growth and flower production, while the low phosphorous and no copper formula ensure no adverse effects on water quality or fish and plant life. You simply push the spike into the soil (one for every 1 to 2 gallons of planting container space) and forget about it until next year.
  • Tabs: Tabs, like TetraPond® LilyGro™ Aquatic Plant Food, are formulated for use during your aquatic plants’ growing season. As with the spikes, the nutrients in the fertilizer encourage greenery and bloom production, but the tabs need to be added to the soil monthly for best results. Using one tablet per gallon of potted soil, push it deep into the soil 3 inches from the crown of the plant and pack the hole with dirt to prevent the fertilizer from being released into the water.

During the growing season, plan to fertilize your water lilies and marginal plants once per month. Floating and submerged plants should have plenty of nutrients in the water to feed them. Enjoy your blooms!

Pond Talk: What is your favorite aquatic plant?

Add Living Color To Your Pond - Aquatic Plant Packages

10 Responses

  1. How long will it take to clear? My pond is 2000 gallons a d 3 feet deep. Using a pond master 20 UV watt with a 1200 Gph mag drive pump. Thanks

  2. My water lillies have naturalized to the soil in the bottom and sides of the pond. How do I fertilize them?

    • Hi Judy – When lilies are rooted into your pond, there should be plenty of nutrients in the pond bottom to feed them. If they are not blooming well, you can put on some waders and use the fertilizer spikes for a full year of fertilizer.

  3. I have lilies that I cannot reach due to distance from edge and depth of pond. Is there a tool one can use?

    • Hi Jean – There is not a tool that is designed for this use. If the lilies are rooted into your pond, there should be plenty of nutrients in the pond bottom to feed the water lilies.

      • Thank you for your reply. Is it better to plant lillies in containers or just let them adhere to the pond liner. If the lillies needed to be removed would it not damage the liner?

      • It’s a matter of personal preference. For many pond owners, it’s easier to plant the lilies in pots. Some reasons why people choose pots: easier to relocate the water lily to another area of the water garden, easier to fertilize, easier to divide, less chance of fish nibbling the roots.

        The water lilies shouldn’t do any damage to the pond liner.

  4. Have tried everything to clear up pea-green algae in my pond and nothing worked. Algae fix killed my fish and the ion-gen diDnt help. I just installed a UV clarifyer last night. Will the UV solve my problem? Thanks

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