Documents: Special Interest: Water Gardening:

Suggestions on Purchasing Aquatic Plants
by lilypad@oxford.net
November 24, 1999

The plants should look healthy and be of good size. If leaves are limp and browning significantly, and/or the soil of potted plants has a rotten foul smell....... walk away.

  • The garden centre staff should be knowledgeable, especially in the area of balancing the pond naturally. This means using a variety of plants, snails and very few fish. If you find they don't understand this concept, then you could end up spending big bucks. The choice is yours whether or not you walk away. If your dream is to have a Japanese Koi Pond or an over abundance of fish, you will need to spend money on a biological filter in order to maintain good water quality.



    Mail Order Purchasing:

    Contact other pond owners who use this service. If you don't know of anyone then here are a few basic rules:

    First rule of thumb, order early, sold on first come first serve basis.....

    a. b.Do they seem to know the principals of balancing the pond naturally?
    c.Do they offer a Customer Service for when problems do arise?
    e.Do they offer to replace plants which fail to grow? Usually you have to pay the shipping costs.
    f.What method of shipping do they use? Aquatic plants should be shipped the fastest way possible, preferably overnight or two day express. It may cost more, but your plants will love you for it and you'll be impressed with the condition the plants arrive in. If the plants arrive in poor condition, it could takes weeks for them to recover.Canadians can't afford to lose this much time. Our summers are short enough.
    g.Will the supplier ship plants and hard goods separately? This could save money in shipping costs and a lot of headache if the liner, pump and plants all arrive together.If you are ordering a liner, then make sure they don't ship your plants at the same time unless you have another warm pond to keep them in. The plants should not be put into fresh water, even if it's well water. The water has to age and warm, this usually takes at least one week. To save money, plan ahead, ask the supplier to ship the liner the cheapest way and then you can spend that extra money on getting your plants there the bestway. If the supplier suggests you will save money by shipping everything together, then chances are they haven't done their homework.
    h.Ask whether or not the plants are grown in Canada. If not, they have probably been harvested from a tropical climate. Ask your supplier if they have hardened them off ?...or are the the plants being shipped right out of a warm greenhouse?
    i.Make sure your supplier is knowledgeable about growing zones, especially yours. Do they track the weather in your area? June lst or later is the normal shipping time to colder zones in Canada. If you have an abnormal cold spring, make sure your supplier is aware of this. Call or fax them.



    Water Hyacinths and Lettuce: There should be at least 4 leaves on them and they should feel firm to the touch.Their roots should be a minimum of 3" long. It is normal for the outside leaves to yellow or brown as they age. . If the plant feels mushy, most likely they have been chilled. This is a common occurrence with tropical plants in the spring and early summer..so don't buy them.

    Hardy Water Lilies: If purchasing an average size lily (not a minature), the tuber should be at least 1"in diameter. The tuber should feel firm to the touch and it should smell like a pond. Reputable suppliers only ship mature healthy lilies.Water lilies are usually shipped without their leaves. This stripping of the leaves does not harm the plant and it saves in shipping costs. It's important to know, the lilies you just purchased probably were taken from a pond that was only around 2 feet deep. If your pond is deeper and/or your water is cold, we suggest gradually lowering the lilies to the deep colder water. Shocking them by placing them in cold water could kill them.

    Reputable nurseries and garden centres will be pleased to answer any questions you may have, don't hesitate to ask.

    Water Gardening is fairly new to Canada, but Canadians, being what we are (besides apologetic) are very resourceful. We have many wonderful natural ponds, streams and lakes from which to draw knowledge. Just take time to visit one, notice how and where the plants are growing. Backyard ponders are just ordinary folks who take pride in reproducing Mother Nature at her best!.

    Happy Water Gardening!!!!!

    Specific water gardening problems can be answered by writing lilypad@oxford.net

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