Whether planning or already keeping a pond, these Care Sheets will help you keep it in tip top shape and guarantee a full season of trouble-free, outdoor fishkeeping enjoyment.

Part 5 : POND PLANTS

FLOATING PLANTS

Lemna gibba Duckweed
A small floating plant with oval light green leaves, it rarely flowers, reproduces by division and can quickly cover a pond; this inhibits green water and Blanketweed but needs controlling. As most Fish eat and treat it as a food, it is often difficult to maintain on ponds containing fish.
A native plant that will over-winter.

Limnobium spongia Frogbit
A medium-sized floating plant with mid-green kidney shape leaves in a rosette form on extended shoots with long violet tinted roots extending below each rosette of leaves. White greenish flowers held above the water on short stalks, the seeds fall to the bottom of the pond to make new plants in the spring. A North American plant that should over-winter.


Pistia stratiotes Water Lettuce
A large floating plant with bluish/green hairy leaves in a rosette form, a good root formation trailing below from 15-20 cm long, will flower in a hot summer, reproduces by runners.
Can quickly cover a pond in good conditions. Inhibits green water and blanket weed. As a Mid- to North African plant it will not tolerate our winters and has to over-wintered in a heated greenhouse.

Eichhornia crassipes Water Hyacinth
A large floating plant with mid to dark green leaves pale blue flowers, reproducing by runners. Inhibits green water and blanket weed. A South American plant it will not tolerate our winters and has to over wintered in a heated greenhouse.




Stratiotes aloides Water Soldier
A large floating plant, the last representative of a very ancient order. Possessing dark green sword like leaves with coarsely toothed edges, has been likened to a floating pineapple, small white and green flowers, reproduces by runners as most plants are female.
This native plant sinks to the bottom of the pond in late autumn to over-winter, resurfacing in Spring.

Trapa natans Water Chestnut
A long submerged stem with nodes along its length each having many rootlets protruding from each side. The floating leaves when new are dark red, turning mid-green on the upper side with age but remaining red below, their shape is nearly square. The fruit is mealy and eaten in some areas. Widespread throughout the globe is hardy and will over-winter.

WATER LILIES AND MARSH PLANTS

There are reds, pinks, yellows, violets, whites and all shades in between of named Water Lilies and so many Marsh, or so-called Bog plants, available that it is not considered reasonable to list or advise on them.




Instead we recommend a small book devoted to this subject.

PLANTS FOR WATER GARDENS

by Malcolm Edwards, published by
Dempsey Parr, 4-5, Queen Street, Bath BA1 1HE.
Priced at under 8, has 250 coloured illustrations of Water Lilies and Marsh plants together with all the information you will require to make an informed choice.


PLANT CARE

To give their best all plants require some attention.

Because they are submerged, once the leaves die off Water Lilies are often forgotten. Remove dead leaves and flower heads when they close and sink below the surface, and as much of the stems as possible.

Many pond enthusiasts have discarded Lily baskets and plant Lilies in buckets, such as 5-7lt Builders' Buckets according to the size of the Lily.
This has two advantages, first the rooting compost is contained and does not leach out of a bucket (as it does with a Lily Basket) to cover the bottom of the pond with mulm, thereby providing nutrients for Blanketweed or green water.
Secondly, the Lilies are easy to remove for dividing, re-potting, introducing fertilizer etc.
If you want to see lots of Lily flowers the plants will require, in addition to lots of sunshine, plenty of nourishment i.e. fertilizer. When introduced into a bucket it feeds the lily, not the pond.

The only drawback is that if planted in a bucket or 'sealed' container, Lilies must be removed and examine annually and re-potted with fresh soil. At the same time place a slow acting fertiliser in the base of the bucket or container, reduce the root stock size and the number of 'eyes' to no more than four.

Do not purchase any plant simply because it looks good or takes your fancy.
First find out what size will it grow to?
Ask yourself if you can provide it with the right conditions to flourish?
Will it fit in with your existing plants or design?

Never purchase a Lily that requires a depth of 1 metre when your pond is only metre deep, or visa versa.

Finally, Water Lilies are plants of lakes or very slow moving waters, they do not flourish with fountains or Niagara-type waterfalls. Marsh Plants also do not appreciate the continuous soaking they receive from fountains.
It is no accident that with many large ponds in stately homes the Lilies are well away from any fountain, or are even without Lilies or Marsh plants.

© FBAS 2004 RCM/RDE                                    Pond Care Sheet 5 2/2

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Last updated July, 2005