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Why do people build water gardens? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Water Garden and Water Lily

Why do people build water gardens? Amanda – Clearwater, FL

More Than Just A Pretty Face

Maybe you’ve entertained the idea of constructing a water garden in your yard, but feel you are not quite up to the task. Perhaps you are one of those people who don’t understand what all of the “hype” is about when it comes to back yard waterfalls and pricey Koi. To those of you who have yet to experience the triumphs and challenges of owning your very own water garden, there really is more to pond ownership than fish, water, and rocks.

Thanks to the progression of the pond industry, both the process of selecting an appropriate type of water feature and the installation procedures associated with each style have been dramatically simplified. This broadens your selection to a wide range of water features from small pre-formed ponds for beginners, low maintenance and space saving Pondless Waterfalls, or large water gardens equipped with intricate streams and waterfalls for those of you with more experience or are daring. You can also take advantage of the cost savings of purchasing a complete Pond Kit which can save you the time and trouble of trying to purchase each component independently. Regardless of which type of pond you decide is best for you, remember to take your time and do your Homework. Being prepared will ensure that the entire pond process from design to finished product is an enjoyable experience.

When done properly, a water feature can become an outdoor retreat, providing soothing sounds and sights to create a calm and relaxed atmosphere. Your water feature will accent your home and the surrounding landscape creating an inviting appearance and an increased curb appeal. Implementing Aquatic Plants and Koi into your water feature is a great way to further increase its value. Having fish present in your water feature creates fun activities that you can do with friends and family. Witnessing a few fish antics alone provides a great source of entertainment, while feeding your fish is an excellent group activity that can create a little extra “together” time with friends and family. If you have children it is also a great way to teach them about the responsibilities of pet ownership.

Every person has their own unique story about how their water feature came to exist. For some it may just seem like a logical step and for others it starts with the gift of one small goldfish. Intentional or not, it is easy to fall in love with your water feature. While there is some time and expense associated with any water feature, it all seems trivial once you see the results of such a rewarding investment.

POND TALK: How has your water garden changed your lifestyle?

Pond Kits

How to split water lilies – Water Garden & Feature Q & A

Picture of a water lily.

Water Gardens & Features Q & A

Q: How do you split water lilies?

A: Whether they’re hardy, tropical, day or night bloomer, water lilies beautify decorative backyard ponds. Their vivid colors add a dash of drama in an otherwise green landscape, which is probably why you added them to the pond in the first place!

In the confines of an aquatic pot or plant basket in a decorative pond, water lilies can quickly run out of space and nutrients.

When those flowers stop blossoming and the leaves grow to excess, it’s a sure sign that it’s time to divide and replant the lilies. With a little know-how, splitting lilies is a chore that can be done in no time. Here’s how to do it:

1. Remove your overgrown plants from the water garden in the spring, sometime around March or April, when the water temperature starts to rise. Put on your waterproof gardening gloves, like the Aqua Gloves™, and carefully lift the plant to a work space and remove it from its container. You may need to cut open the basket, depending how pot-bound the plant is.

2. Next, wash off old soil and roots not attached to the plant. Split the crown of the plant with a sharp knife to cut through the creamy white rhizome, saving the youngest parts of the clump, typically around the outside edge, for repotting. Examine the rhizome for damage or signs of disease, like soft patches of rot. Cut those portions off.

3. Trim the long, coarse roots back to 4 to 5 inches. Line your new plant basket with landscape cloth or similar material and position three to five pieces of rhizome in the basket with their growing tips facing outward to help avoid competition as the crowns develop.

4. Fill in around the rhizomes with aquatic soil, like Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Plant Media, making sure the roots are spread well into the soil and the crown is sitting just below the soil surface. Gently press the plant in and compact the soil.

5. Finish repotting by applying a layer of gravel. This helps anchor plants, keeps the soil in the pot and deters fish from digging out the plants. Return the lily to the water garden taking care when positioning the
pot not to tip the lily out.

You can expect to divide your water lilies every few years or so, depending on your particular variety and growth rate. To keep you plants healthy and thriving between transplanting, be sure to fertilize regularly with aquatic plant foods, like TetraPond® LilyGro™ Tablets, Microbe-Lift® Bloom & Grow™ or the convenient Fertilizer Spikes.

POND TALK: How often do you split and repot your water lilies?

Planting Aquatic Plants – Water Garden & Feature Q & A

Picture of a Mayla Water Lily

Water Gardens & Features Q & A

Q: I would like to order plants for my water garden this year, but I don’t know where to begin. What plants should I get and how do I plant them? – Kayla of Florida

A: The simplest and easiest way to select the right variety of aquatic plants is to purchase one of our plant packages. Our plant packages come in multiple sizes with an assortment of beautiful aquatic plants (shipped bare root) that are recommended for great coverage. What kinds of aquatic plants are there? What should I get for my water feature? These are very legitimate questions. There are many different categories of aquatic plants with many species in each category:

Floating – Floating plants such as water hyacinth & water lettuce are best used to absorb excess nutrients that cause excessive algae growth. They also provide shade and cover for the fish.

Submerged – Submerged plants are fantastic oxygenators. They are also used to absorb nutrients, so there is no need to fertilize them.

Bog – You can add a nice touch to your water feature using bog plants. Bog plants are planted around the edges of the pond in shallow water areas. They also act as a visual anchor to the surrounding feature. Bog plants are perennials, meaning that they will grow back every year based on your zone.

Hardy Water Lilies – Hardy water lilies are perennials. They will bloom all summer long on the water surface. Hardy water lilies have smooth waxy leaves that are rounded at the edge.

Tropical Water Lilies – Tropical water lilies have very fragrant blossoms and will have several blooms at a time. These lilies come in daytime and nighttime blooming varieties. Tropical water lilies will be jagged or pointed around the edge of the leaves.

Hardy Water Lotuses – Hardy water lotuses have very large blooms and leaves that can stand out of the water from two to five feet depending on the variety. A hardy water lotus may take up to two years to become fully established.

So why are aquatic plants so important? In a water feature, plants are absolutely vital in balancing the ecosystem, and they offer an aesthetic touch to your landscape. If you ever wonder what causes algae to grow or why your pond isn’t clear, there are really only four factors to consider:

  • Not enough filtration
  • Too many fish
  • Not enough aquatic plants
  • Not using DefensePAC® (natural bacteria)

The recommendation for aquatic plant coverage is 60% of your overall water feature surface. This will provide enough absorption of nutrients to help combat algae before it has a chance to grow.

Now that I know aquatic plants are important, how do I plant them? That’s a great question. Here is the rundown:

Floating Floating plants do not need to be planted. Simply toss plants onto the surface of the water or place inside a Waterfall Filter unit for added filtration and to prevent vigorous spreading. This will also help to hide the Waterfall Filter.

Submerged Submerged plants may free-float throughout your water feature. If your water feature is equipped with a skimmer, you may want to wrap a weight around the base of the plant before tossing it in to prevent the skimmer from pulling in the plant.

Bog Simply create pockets and crevices 6-8″ in depth between the gravel and boulders. Remove the marginal plant from its pot, move gravel aside, place the plant and then spread the gravel around the base of the plant for support.

Hardy & Tropical Water Lilies Prepare lily pockets by making indentations within your first or second shelf (12″ to 18″ in depth). Place the lily tuber in the lily pocket and fill
with aquatic planting media (remember to not cover the crown, a.k.a. growing tip of the lily). Finally, spread loose gravel around the
base of the lily to prevent the soil from being stirred up.

Hardy Water Lotuses Hardy water lotuses are usually potted in wide, shallow containers because of their aggressive behavior. Hard water lotuses should be planted in a round container at least 18″ in diameter with 6″ of depth. It must be round, because square pots can cause lotuses to die when the tuber gets crunched into a corner during heavy growth seasons. Gently place the tuber into at least 3″ of soil. Fill the rest of the container up to the brim with with gravel and place 10-12″ deep within the pond depending on variety.