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Planting Your Pond: Introduction



Not only do aquatic plants enhance the beauty of your pond, but they also play an important role in maintaining the balance of the pond and in keeping it clear. Plants absorb nutrients and reduce light levels in the water, which could otherwise promote the growth of algae, which causes green water. Plants will also provide shelter for fish and natural material on which they might spawn.


It is important in any pond or feature to have a good balance of plants that offer a variety of colour and foliage at different times of the year for your enjoyment, and the plants required for a successful ecosystem for the pond.

Research the plants you choose as you would for the garden. All the plants at World of Water are clearly labelled to show the height they attain, their spread and the depth of water they prefer. Mature specimens can be seen in our show gardens and members of our staff will happily answer any questions.

You will find that some plants are very vigorous and are only suitable for larger ponds, and some slower growing plants are best suited for the smaller feature. However if you need quick cover on any pond you can always add some fast growing, spreading plants to offer shade. Once your chosen plants have matured simply remove them or trim the excess back and transfer to the compost heap. By removing or trimming the plant, excess nutrients are being harvested from the pond, helping to keep the pond balanced and healthy.

Always remember to take into account the potential height of the plant, as some grasses and rushes can grow very tall and would obscure a pond if poorly positioned.

The table below offers a rough guide to the number of plants you may require to start a successful pond. Simply work out the approximate surface area of your pond (e.g. A pond 4 meters x 2 meters = 8 meters square.)

Plants Pond Surface Area Square Metre
  2m² 4m² 6m² 8m² 10m² 12m²
Water Lilies 1 2 3 3 4 5
Deep Marginal Plants 1 2 2 5 6 8
Marginal Plants 8 14 18 24 30 36
Oxygenating Plants (bunches) 15 30 45 60 75 90
Floating Plants 2 3 4 6 8 12

General Rules

To avoid disappointment always use the correct soil and containers in your pond, as this will promote the growth and flowering of your plants.

Using general bedding compost could have potentially fatal effects on fish as it has high fertiliser content designed for quick release.

Aquatic compost has a slow release fertilizer, thus avoiding pollution, as the plants will absorb the nutrients as they are released from the soil. The soil texture is also important; a heavy loam is best as a peat-based soil could simply float away! Aquatic baskets have been designed with mesh to help retain the soil. The use of an additional hessian liner will further reduce any soil leaching. The hessian liner will rot in time but by then the root structure of the plant should hold the soil together. The roots will eventually grow through the mesh, absorbing natural nutrients from the pond.


The following illustration shows the ideal planting zones for aquatic plants. It is important to follow this and the planting information label that comes with each plant to achieve optimum plant growth.


How to Plant Aquatic Baskets

CONSIDER basket size - Tall marginals will need larger baskets to avoid being blown over.  Using a suitably sized basket, line with a hessian or foam liner - Fine Mesh baskets do not need to be lined although it is beneficial.
FILL THE BASKET about two thirds full with aquatic soil.

MAKE A HOLE in the soil for the plant.
GENTLY TAP the pot your new plant is in and loosen any roots protruding from the bottom.

IT SHOULD then easily lift out of its original pot.
LOOSEN the root ball gently.
PLACE the new plant into the prepared basket.
GENTLY surround the plant roots with the soil in the basket.
NOW top the basket up to about 4cm from the top with more soil.
REMEMBER you will need to top the basket off later with gravel.
NOW water in the plant.
ENSURE you water gently. Allow the soil to become saturated.
IF THE SOIL reduces down below about 6cm, top the basket up slightly with soil.
NOW top the basket off with gravel.
use limestone gravel.
not to damage the plant. Do not bury the plant's leaves.
NOW water in the plant again.
lower the plant into its final position.
SOME lilies will need to be lowered to their final position over a period of a few weeks.
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