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Planting pond plants

When to plant

Plant pond plants in spring or any time during the growing season on a warm sunny day.

Which plants to buy

Submerged plants are essential to keep ponds algae free. They help oxygenate the water and absorb any excess nutrients that green algae feeds on.

If you grow your pond plants in suitable containers and are prepared to lift them out and divide them when they get overcrowded, most plants will not get out of control. If, however, you allow the plants to root in the sediment so that they can spread at will, then small and medium-sized ponds can soon become choked with the more vigorous kinds. Avoid vigorous plants, which are better suited to a large pond.

Large pond plants

  • Nymphaea 'Amabilis' (waterlily 'Amabilis')
  • Juncus effusus (Soft rush)
  • Mentha aquatica (Water mint)

Small pond plants

  • Caltha palustris (Marsh marigold)
  • Carex elata 'Aurea' (Bowles' golden sedge)

Supplies you will need

You will need aquatic baskets for both deep-water and marginal plants (usually the plants come planted in these, so ask at the garden centre if you need any extra), special aquatic compost to prevent algae growth, washed gravel, you may need some old bricks to stand plants on to the right height. If your pond is large and you don't want to get into it to plant, make sure you have long rope or twine (enough to cross the widest part of the pond and then some). Wellies and gloves are also useful gear to have.

How many plants

You'll need 10 submerged plants per square metre of surface area. Marginal aquatics (plants which grow in the shallow water on a shelf at the edge of a pond) will spread to area of 30-50cm so they eventually need to be spaced at this distance along the shelf.

If you can't wait for them to grow you can group the marginal plants closer together and use pots or containers filled with flowers and foliage around the pond to help soften the edges. As they grow, move them further apart.

How to plant
  • First, plunge each basket into a bucket of pond water until the air bubbles stop coming out of the compost.
  • Then place the plant and container in the appropriate place in the pond. If you need to plant something in the center and can't get to it, use rope to string through the baskets and extend rope across the pond to someone else on the other side. With each of you holding one side, position the plant correctly, lower and then let one end go. Pull the rope out.
  • Stand waterlilies on bricks so that their leaves are just below the surface. As the leaves grow, lower the basket in stages until it is sitting on the floor of the pond. Alternatively, trim off all the mature leaves and position the plant directly at the correct depth. All new leaves will naturally extend until they reach the surface.
  • After planting, cover the surface of the compost with a 2cm layer of washed gravel which will prevent fish from stirring up the compost.
Ongoing - newly planted ponds can be prone to pests, however this sorts itself out when the pond is more established. Add the plants you have planted to your personal garden account, and we will tell you how to provide ongoing care for them.