Planting A Pond

  • Planting A Pond

Give your water garden a little maintenance now for a lush display throughout the summer months.

Late spring is when the water temperature begins to rise and marks the beginning of the year for pond plants. 

There are five types of pond plants. Deep-water varieties grow over 400mm deep, shallow from 200 to 400mm, and marginal at 200mm. Bog plants grow around the edge and floating aquatic plants sit on the water’s surface.

A good balance of plant types will stabilise water temperature, reduce evaporation and algae, oxygenate the water, provide shade and shelter for pond life, and help control erosion.

For an easy-care pond, grow deep and shallow water plants plus marginal plants in rigid plastic mesh baskets. 

TIP Always use a specially formulated aquatic potting mix for water plants.

Keep it healthy 

To maintain the delicate balance of life in your pond, now is the time to control rampant water plants and ensure part of the surface is kept clear.

DIVIDE PLANTS that are overgrown or old, creating healthy young plants.

TOP UP the gravel in the baskets of submerged plants to weigh them down.

CLEAR weeds from one-third of the water surface. Use a rake to drag out big layers of blanket weed, leaving it on the side overnight to give water snails and beneficial insects a chance to crawl back into the pond.

TRANSPLANT aquatic plants while
in active growth to give them a long time to establish in their new position before the onset of winter weather.

GROW oxygenating plants from 150mm long tip cuttings. Tie eight together at the base then plant each bunch, with the string buried, at the bottom of the pond. 

PLANT three bunches of oxygenating plants for every square metre of pond. They absorb minerals and carbon dioxide in the water and are essential to maintain its clarity and quality.

ADD floating plants like native bladderwort and fairy moss to the surface to provide shade and stop the build-up of algae and blanket weed.

blanket weed, handyman magazine,
Once removing blanket weed, leave it on the side overnight giving water snails and beneficial insects a chance to crawl back into the pond

Choosing a variety 

Most backyard ponds are created using a preformed shell or dug to a uniform depth, so their needs are simple. Use deep or shallow water plants that can be planted about 300mm down, and bog varieties around the edge for landscaping. 

Deep water 

  • Water lily
  • Lotus
  • Water hawthorn
  • Water violet
water lily , plant a pond, handyman magazine,
Water lilies are a great deep water plant option. Image: Thinkstock 

Shallow water

  • Water snowflake
  • Tall spike rush
  • Water poppy
  • Ribbon grass
shallow water, handyman magazine,
Water snowflake flowers get their name from the delicate fringing on their petals. Image: Thinkstock 



  • Japanese sweet flag 
  • Canna tropicanna
  • Elephant ears
  • Water buttons
japanese sweet flag , handyman magazine,
Plant Japanese sweet flag around the edge of your pond. Image: Getty Images

How to plant water lilies 

Water lilies are deep-water plants that need a pond depth of 450 to 600mm or more. To pot up for a water garden, trim the fibrous roots and cut off any dead or rotted sections of the stem or rhizome. 

Step 1. Line the basket

Line the basket with hessian to keep the growing medium contained then half-fill with a specialist potting mix formulated for aquatic plants.

Step 2. Position the lily

Position the lily in the centre, add mix to 30mm from the rim and firm it down. Add coarse gravel, trim the liner and saturate the mix with pond water.

Step 3. Lower the basket

Lower the basket into the pond until the shoots reach the surface. Sit it on bricks if needed and remove them as the plant grows.

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