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I just bought a plant package. What should I do now? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: I just bought a plant package. What should I do now?

Q: I just bought a plant package. What should I do now?

Rick – Winchester, NH

A: Congratulations! For water garden enthusiasts like us, opening an aquatic plant package is like celebrating Christmas in spring. A box of colorful flower tubers, oxygenating plants and algae-eating snails arrives at your doorstep, and you get to look forward to a season of fun in your backyard playground.

Depending on the package size (small, medium or large) you received, you’ll get:

  • Water lilies
  • Floating plants, like water hyacinth, water lettuce and parrot’s feather
  • Bog plants, like blue flag iris and dwarf cattail
  • Pond snails

These pond plants work together to shade the pond, aerate and filtrate the water, provide habitat for wildlife and insects (and your snails), and beatify your landscape.

Ready to get growing? Here’s how to care for – and play with – your Christmas-in-spring present.

Pond Snails

After traveling all those agitating miles to your doorstep, the Black Japanese Trapdoor Pond Snails may appear lifeless or even dead, but don’t worry: They’re most likely hiding inside their shells. Wake them up and welcome them to your garden by filling the bag halfway with pond water, and then floating or holding it for a few minutes while the gastropods acclimate to the new environment. Then place the open bag in a shallow area and let them work their way out and into the deeper section of your pond.

Plant Care

Before your plant package arrives, purchase some planting containers (like baskets, bags or pots) and aquatic planting media. Use soil designed for water gardens; avoid using bagged potting mix and other lightweight soils from your local garden center, as they will float and cloud the water in your pond.

  • Water lilies: With your pots and plant media ready, take out your water lily tubers and place one inside a pot with the growing tip facing outward. Fill in around the tuber with the aquatic planting media, making sure the roots are well spread and the crown is sitting just below the soil surface. Place the planted pot in a shallow area of your pond to encourage faster growth. Once leaves have reached the surface, you can move the water lily to a deeper part of your pond.
  • Floating Plants: These plants are easy to propagate. Simply place in the water! They will float freely and take up nutrients from the water through their root systems.
  • Bog Plants: Like the water lilies, these around-the-edge plants require a pot and planting material. Position the tubers in the media so that the cut end of the tuber is against the side of the pot, not in the middle. Why? Because the roots need as much room as possible to spread through the soil and across the container. Once it’s planted, submerge the container on a shelf that’s up to 6 inches below the water surface.

Keep Them Growing

Like the plants growing in your vegetable garden, your aquatic plants will require fertilizer to help them grow healthy and strong. Spikes or tabs, like CrystalClear® Thrive™ tablets, can be pushed into the soil at planting time. They’ll slowly release into the media, feeding your lilies and irises the nutrients they need to thrive. From April through August, continue to feed your plants, following all manufacturers’ recommendations for fertilizer application rates.

Pond Talk: What’s your favorite aquatic plant?

Pot Your Plants with Beneficial Bacteria - Microbe-Lift(r) Aquatic Planting Media

Aquatic Plants – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Pink Water Lily

Get Ready to Soil Your Plants
Owning a small pond is not just about pumps, filters, and fish. Pond guys and gals everywhere are exercising their green thumbs by implementing aquatic plants into their water feature.

Go Green or Go Home
Aquatic plants are an excellent addition to your pond as they add life to your water garden with their diverse shapes and colors. In addition to their obvious visual appeal, plants also feed off of available nutrients in your water garden which decreases the amount of food available for potential algae blooms. Furthermore, aquatic plants provide food for your fish population as well as places to spawn and hide.

Plethora of Plants
You may love the idea of incorporating plants into your water garden, but there are so many types to choose from it may feel a bit overwhelming. If you are still a bit fresh in the water gardening scene, or you just don’t know that much about aquatic plants, you can find solace in an Aquatic Plant Package. Getting great plants for your water garden is as simple as choosing a plant package that fits the square footage of your pond. Packages also include Black Japanese Trapdoor Snails, which are great for eating algae without taking over your entire water garden. More adventurous water garden owners can purchase aquatic plants à la carte to add even more diversity to their pond. Mixing a variety of plants will make for a more interesting landscape and will help promote a balanced ecosystem as each plant has its own unique attributes.

Click over to our Planting Aquatic Plants article to read more about aquatic plant selections and how to plant them.

POND TALK: What type of plant selection can be found in your water garden? Which plant is a MUST have?

Aquatic Plant Packages

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