Documents: Special Interest: Water Gardening:

Water Gardens - Tips and Plants
by The Blooming Bog
November 24, 1999

Water garden ponds can be an inexpensive focal point to your garden, and at the same time provide a miniature sanctuary for dozens of small plants and animals.

Ponds can be installed for as little as $100 and range in price limited only by your imagination. They can be as simple as a small wooden barrel or as grandiose as your entire back yard!

The secret to a successful and thriving pond environment is a full sunny location with at least four hours of full sun each day.

Having chosen a suitable location, you need only to decide whether to install a pond using a liner, or a fiberglass/polyethylene molded pond shell. Liners have the advantages of being economical, long lasting and allowing you more flexibility in your pond design. Molded pond shells are easier to install, withstand very cold temperatures, and are more durable. For the first time pond owner, a molded pond is recommended.

Once the pond has been installed, it can be filled with water. It is recommended that you allow the pond water to sit and "age" for at least 36 hours before introducing aquatic plants and animals. Advantages of the aging process are that:- (a) the pond life cycle can develop; (b) a healthy bacteria balance can be established; (c) the water can warm up; and (d) the chlorine in the water has time to evaporate. Chemicals are available to speed up the aging process, however the more artificial additives you introduce, the more you jeopardize the growth and health of fish and plants.

Now your pond is ready to become a living thriving ecosystem. It is essential to have a few goldfish in your pond for the control of mosquitoes and algae. Frogs, tadpoles and snails are also available to help control the algae, and keep the bottom of the pond clean. To protect your aquatic animals, and reduce algae growth, it is advisable to have enough foliage cover on the pond to ensure a 70% minimum surface coverage. Salvinia, Duckweed, Azolla, Water Hyacinth, Water Lettuce and Frog Bit are ideal floating aquatic plants. Oxygenating plants are also important. They help keep pond water clean, and at the desired pH level. Try adding Elodea, Hornwort, Jungle Vallisneria or Coontail.

If you are adventurous you can add charm and beauty to your pond by attaching fountains, waterfalls, pumps, stone-work, underwater lighting and multi-level tiers, thereby creating a dynamic, tropical and natural setting.

The Bloomin Bog carries an extensive assortment of aquatic plants, goldfish, pond supplies and water garden accessories. Below is a summary of tropical and hardy plant information.

WINTER HARDY AQUATIC PLANTS INFORMATION SHEET

Arrowhead

Winter Hardy marginal.
Arrow-shaped leaves with white 1in flowers during Summer.
Grows in full sun to partial shade; thrives in shade.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 8in water; leaves must be above water.
Can grow from 8in - 3ft in height.

Bulrush

Winter Hardy marginal.
Slender plant with brown pokers for flowers.
Vigorous grower suitable for larger ponds.
Must be potted, due to its invasive growth.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf with a maximum of 2in of water above the pot rim.

Bur-reed

Winter Hardy marginal.
Slender leaves with round prickly seedheads from mid-Summer to early Fall.
Vigorous grower suitable for larger ponds.
Grows 2ft - 3ft in height.
Must be potted, due to its invasive growth.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in 3in - 5in water.

Cattail (Regular and Miniature)

Winter Hardy marginal.
Resembles a bulrush; velvety brown flowers.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 1ft water.
Grows in full sun to partial shade.
Vigorous grower; will easily reach 4ft.
Miniature Cattail grows to a height of 2ft.

Cypress Sedge

Winter Hardy marginal.
Green slender leaved plant with green soft prickley flowerheads hanging from stalks during Summer.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in 4in water. Can grow 1ft - 3ft in height.
Grows in partial shade; thrives in full shade.

Floating Heart

Winter Hardy marginal.
3in round green/maroon variegated leaves which trail water and send out runners.
Yellow five-petalled flowers from late Spring through Fall.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in 4in - 12in water.
Grows in full sun to partial shade.

Flowering Rush

Winter Hardy marginal.
Grass-like leaves with white and pink flowers in late Spring and Summer.
Grows in full sun or partial shade; thrives in shade.
Will reach 2ft in height.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 10in water.

Horsetail

Winter Hardy marginal.
Grass-like green leaves with small brown cones at joints. From the cone sprouts a small brown tuft resembling a tiny horsetail.
Grows in partial sun; prefers shade.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf with up to 2in of water above pot rim.

Japanese Water Iris (Blue, Yellow)

Winter Hardy marginal.
Blue and yellow 4in flowers in June. May flower again in September. Trim off spent blooms.
Blue Iris can grow to a height of 2ft; yellow to about 3ft, in sun or partial shade.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 4in water.

Lotus

Winter Hardy.
Large round green leaves 2ft - 3ft across.
10in blooms are spectacular and fragrant and last four days. Requires full sun for good blooming and a large pond.
Range of colors; white, yellow, pink, red-tipped and changeable.
Plant in a very large tub and fertilize following the same method as for water lilies. Sink tub 2in - 6in below water surface.
Over-winter by lowering tub to the deepest pond section. Rootstock must not freeze.

Manna Grass (Variegated)

Winter Hardy marginal.
Green leaves variegated with yellow/white stripes; grass flower heads.
Vigorous grower. Divide clumps in Spring.
Can grow to a height of 2ft - 3ft in sun or partial shade.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 6in water.

Marsh Marigold

Winter Hardy marginal.
Prolific bright yellow 2in flowers in mid Spring; one of the first aquatic plants to flower following Winter.
Can grow to a height of 1ft in sun or shade; will thrive in shade.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf with up to 2in water above the rim of the pot.

Pickerel Rush

Winter Hardy marginal.
Shiney green lance-shaped foliage; purple/ blue blooms from Summer through Fall.
Can grow to a height of 2ft - 3ft in full sun or partial shade.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 1ft water.

Sweet Flag (Green and Variegated)

Winter Hardy marginal.
Sword-shaped leaves which may be entirely green or variegated with cream stripes. Leaves emit sweet fragrance when crushed.
Flowers mid-Summer; brown cone-shaped and insignificant.
Can grow to a height of 2ft - 3ft in sun or partial shade.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf with 3in - 6in water above pot rim.

Water Lily (Winter Hardy)

Winter Hardy.
Range of colors - white, yellow, pink, red, peach and changeable. Lightly scented blooms in either star or cup shape from May to Fall, lasting 3 to 4 days. Full sun.
Require fertilizer for bloom/foliage enhance-ment.
Plant bareroot in large tubs (no root-holes in the tub). Fill 1/3 tub with clay, lie fertilizer spike in clay. Fill another 1/3 with clay and plant the lily at the edge with root facing center of tub. Take care that the crown is exposed above the clay. Submerge tub 6in - 18in below water surface. Over-winter by lowering tub to the deepest pond section. Rootstock must not freeze.

Fertilizer Spike
Lilies require fertilizer for enhancement of bloom and growth. Locate the lily crown, and be careful not to allow the fertilizer spike to touch it. At the edge of the lily tub, firmly press the fertilizer spike into the clay angling it towards the lily roots and the center of the tub. Be sure that the fertilizer spike is completely covered by clay and you've pressed it to the bottom of the tub. The fertilizer spike will take about six months to slowly release and dissolve. Use one spike per lily tub; once yearly in Spring.

Water Plantain

Winter Hardy marginal.
Oval-shaped green leaves, with three-petalled tiny pale pink flowers on long stalks during Summer. Trim off spent blooms.
Can grow to a height of 2ft - 3ft.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in 3in to 6in water.

OXYGENATING AQUATIC PLANTS

Anacharis

Winter hardy oxygenater.
Dark green foliage ideal for spawning fish.
Grows in sun, filtered light and partial shade.
Plant in clay; place in pond to a depth of 5ft.
Rigorous grower. Thin out regularly.

Cabomba

Winter hardy oxygenater.
Green fern-like plant with purplish tips.
Plant in clay; place in pond to a depth of 3ft.
Grows best in filtered light, but tolerates full sun and partial shade.
Rigorous grower. Thin out regularly.

Coontail

Winter hardy oxygenater.
Green wrinkled-leaf plant with purplish toning.
Plant in clay; place in pond to a depth of 3ft.
Rigorous grower. Thin out regularly.

Elodea

Winter hardy oxygenater.
Small bright green leaves.
Plant in clay; place in pond to a depth of 3ft.
Rigorous grower. Thin out regularly.

Hornwort

Winter hardy oxygenater.
Green fine fern-like plant.
Floats in water to a depth of 5ft, or may be sunk using a stone.
Grows best in sun or partial shade; will thrive in shade.

Jungle Vallisneria

Winter hardy oxygenater.
Translucent green ribbon-like plant.
Can grow to 2ft long, spreading rapidly via runners.
Grows well in shade, partial shade and sun.
Plant in clay; place in pond of a depth of 2ft.

TROPICAL AQUATIC PLANTS INFORMATION SHEET

Chinese Water Chestnut

Tropical marginal.
Grown for edible tubers (nuts).
Fragile round green stems reach 20in long.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in 3in - 6in water.
Treat as an annual.

Japanese Umbrella Palm

Tropical marginal.
Green lance-shaped leaves which radiate from top of stems, with brown/reddish flower heads.
Can grow to 3ft in height.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in 3in - 5in of water. Vigorous grower; may need thinning.
Treat as a houseplant in Winter. Sit plant in basin of water near a window for good light. Do not allow to dry out.
Dwarf variety is also an attractive, marginal plant growing up to 2ft in height.

Moneywort

Tropical marginal.
Green round leaves 1in - 2in across, with small white seedhead flowers.
Grows via runners.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 8in water.
Treat as an annual.

Papyrus (Regular and Dwarf)

Tropical marginal.
Tall green stems and green feathery tops, with wheat-colored flowers.
Grow in full sun or partial shade; can reach 6ft - 10ft. Dwarf variety will reach 2ft in height.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 6in water.
Treat as a houseplant in Winter. Sit plant in a basin of water near a window for good light. Do not allow to dry out.

Parrot's Feather

Tropical marginal.
Green needle-like feathery leaves which float below the water surface, with stem tips curving a few inches above the water surface.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in 4in - 12in water.
Treat as a houseplant in Winter. Sit plant in a basin of water near a window for good light. Do not allow to dry out.

Spider Lily

Tropical marginal.
Sweetly scented white spider-like flowers which bloom in Spring and Summer.
Grow in full sun or partial shade.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 6in water.
Treat as a houseplant in Winter. Sit plant in a basin of water near a window for good light. Do not allow it to dry out.

Taro (Red Stem, Green Stem, Imperial)

Tropical marginal.
Huge arrow-shaped dark green foliage on red and green stemmed varieties. Maroon and green leaves on Imperial variety.
May grow to 3ft tall in full sun or partial shade.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 10in water.
Treat as a houseplant in Winter. Sit plant in a basin of water near a window for good light. Do not allow it to dry out.

Tropical Water Lilies (Night Blooming)

Tropical.
Leaves are large, round and either green, maroon or variegated; colors; pink, white, red.
Blooms are held on tall stems above leaves and water surface. Prolific bloomers with very heavy fragrance.
Blooms have many petals and may be star-shaped or rounded. Blooms open at night and close by noon the next day.
To over-winter, remove tub from pond, and bring indoors. Basements are ideal. Wrap the lily in a burlap bag. Every two weeks check for clay moistness. It must not dry out; nor should it be saturated.

Water Canna

Tropical marginal.
Swordlike green stems will reach 4ft tall. Stunning flowers in red, yellow, orange and pink.
Grows in full sun.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 6in water.
Treat as a houseplant in Winter. Sit plant in a basin of water near a window for good light. Do not allow to dry out.

Water Four Leaf Clover

Tropical marginal.
2in - 3in wide leaves are green with yellow and brown variegation.
Trail across water surface rooting where they can, and does well in shade. Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in 4in - 10in water.
Treat as an annual.

Water Poppy (Regular and Giant)

Tropical marginal.
Glossy round green leaves 2in - 3in across with deep yellow three-petalled flowers measuring 2in. Giant water poppy has larger leaves (4in - 5in) Flowers often, though blooms only last a day.
Spreads via runners and trails across the water.
Grow in full sun or partial shade.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 6in water.
Treat as an annual.

Water Primrose

Tropical marginal.
Bright green foliage covers very long stems.
Yellow flowers measure 3/4in, and blooms in Spring.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 2in water.
Treat as an annual.

Water Sensitive Plant

Tropical floater.
Fern-like leaves are dark green.
When touched, leaves close.
Grows via tubers on the surface of the water.
Grow in full sun or partial shade.
Treat as an annual.

Water Snowflake (Yellow, White)

Tropical marginal.
Tiny fluffy white or yellow flowers held about 1in above the water.
White snowflake leaves are green with chestnut markings; yellow are chocolate-brown with green veins.
Ideal for miniature ponds; prefers shallow water.
Grow in full sun or partial shade.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 6in water.
Treat as an annual.

Watercress

Tropical marginal.
Prefers moving water, especially waterfalls.
Leaves can be eaten; best during Spring and Fall.
To plant, wrap the roots around small anchoring rocks and place around the waterfall. It is a rapid grower.
Treat as an annual.

White Arum Lily

Tropical marginal.
Glossy green leaves are arrow-shaped and grow from short fleshy roots.
Large white flowers with yellow stamens.
Grow in full sun or partial shade to 2ft in height.
Plant in clay and place on pond shelf in up to 6in water.
Treat as a houseplant in Winter. Sit plant in a basin of water near a window for good light. Do not allow it to dry out.

FLOATING AQUATIC PLANTS

Azure Water Hyacinth

Tropical.
Dark green shiney leaves with dark purple flowers - similar to floating Hyacinth but smaller.
Shallow water grower. Prefers to be planted as it grows via runner. Full sun. Provides shade and helps fight algae.
Treat as an annual.

Azolla (Fairy Moss)

Tropical.
Provides shade for the water surface.
Resembles a tiny fern, each piece measures 1/2iin across with its own root system.
Dense mats of green 'leaves' grow rapidly.
During Summer turns red and seeds.
Treat as an annual.

Duck Weed

Hardy.
Provides shade for the water surface.
Bright green blanket of three-leafed plants will grow rapidly; each plant has its own root system.
Fish will readily eat duckweed.
Treat as an annual.

Frog Bit

Tropical.
Provides shade for the water surface.
Bright 1in green leaves with small white flowers during Summer. Resembles a tiny water lily.
Ideal for small ponds.
Treat as an annual.

Salvinia

Tropical.
Green floating plant with trailing roots helps algae control by consuming excess nutrients.
Leaves are about 1/4in across.
Grows well in shade.
Treat as an annual.

Water Lettuce

Tropical.
Bright green plant resembling a lettuce floats on the surface and provides shade for the pond. Roots are feathery and great for spawning fish. Prefers shade. Reproduces rapidly.
Treat as an annual.

Water Hyacinth

Tropical.
Dark green shiney leaves with purple/blue flowers during Spring and Summer.
It's long root system absorbs excess nutrients in the water, filtering it; excellent algae fighter. Provides shade and shelter for fish.
Treat as an annual.

SCAVENGERS

Ramshorn and Melantho Snails

These snails graze essentially on algae.
Multiply quite rapidly; trails of eggs will coat plants and the water surface. Ramshorn are about 1in round and curled like a ram's horn; Melantho are about 1in long and resemble a small cone.

Article written by Isa and Nick, The Bloomin Bog.

THE BLOOMIN BOG

The Bloomin Bog is a local family business which was established 15 years ago. Over the years we have continued to expand, and thanks to the patronage of our customers, will continue to grow and develop providing a wider range of quality products and expert advice for the water gardening enthusiast.

1996 saw the opening of "The Lilypad", a small novelty giftshop which caters to everyone's specialty gift needs. Gift lines include aquarium supplies, posters, T-shirts, cards, ceramics, and original novelty items which you will be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

www.icis.on.ca/homepages/nwebb/

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