Planting Your Pond Plants
Aquatic plants are a great asset to any garden pond. Not only do they give the pond a more natural appearance, but they can help the pond's biological ecosystem.
Aquatic plants are essentially planted in baskets and kept afloat. The baskets are designed specifically for that purpose and come in different shapes and sizes, which are usually priced between $2 and $4.
There are four categories of aquatic plants:
Marginal Aquatic Plants: these are for shallow areas. Good examples are rushes and skunk cabbages. These plants do not float.
Deep Water Pond Plants: plant these at least 30cm down. An example of this type of plant is the water lily. Water lilies help with shade, landing pads and egg holders for wildlife and insects - plus they look pretty when flowered.
Floating Plants : these are aquatic plants which float on the surface and have fine, hair-like root systems which are beneficial for shade for fish. An example of this type of pond plant is the water hyacinth.
Oxygenator Aquatic Plants: these functional pond plants are submerged. They feed on mineral salts at night and during the day provide oxygen. These plants also provide food and shelter for pond fish. Usually, oxygenator plants are distinguished by their thin, delicate leaves. The water chemistry and balance should be at a constant level in order not to kill these plants. You should also combine many different varieties of these pond plants to be effective. An example is the parrot feather.
Planting aquatic plants is not like planting procedures for a garden. To plant aquatic plants, first fill the basket with 3-4 pages of newspaper. Then, for the best results, fill the basket half full with untreated kitty litter. Plant your aquatic plant in the basket and then fill the rest of the basket with more untreated kitty litter.
Keep in mind that different aquatic plants need to be planted at different and specific depths. Also, to prevent your fish from burrowing into your plants and uprooting them, which will cause many problems, an inch of large rocks or pea gravel might be wise to put on the surface of the basket.
There are fertilization products you can apply when preparing the plants for the pond to support the best growth and health of your aquatic plants. Also available are nets that surround the plants' perimeter to keep them protected from the fish.
You must resist the temptation of digging up plants from local natural ponds. Some of these plants may have diseases, may have thorny roots which may burst your liner and the removal of some pond plants can be restricted by law.
When planting aquatic plants, a good tip to know is to plant your piece de resistance' on the far corner. This will draw your eye to it and your eyes will peripherally take in your garden pond's beauty in one full swoop.