Floating plants are fairly simple. Bundles of parrots feather, keep stems slightly submerged. For vigorous fast growth and more flowers on snowflakes, sensitive plant or water poppy, they can be planted if you choose. Just a quart size container of soil in 3" to 8" of water with floating plants getting extra nutrients makes most of them go bonkers with growth and flowers. Water Hyacinths and Water Lettuce upon receiving, you will want to float them in a shaded area for a day or two and allow them to re-hydrate before putting out in the hot, direct sun. They will then simply float on the surface of the pond absorbing nutrients from the pond water and helping to control algae.
Submerged plants should be placed in the pond immediately upon receiving them. They may be planted in a plant container or basket of pea gravel. Or if you purchased plant anchors with your submerged plants, wrap the anchor around the base of the bunch of plants and simply toss them into the pond. Submerged plants should be submerged to a depth of 12" or deeper.
PLANTING HARDY WATER LILIES - See picture below - Hardy water lilies have a starchy/almost wood like rhizome that grows out on one direction. There will be new growth at the one end of the rhizome, this is referred to as the crown. Place the tuber at a 45 degree angle with the non-growing end against the side of the container. Add several fertilizer tablets. Lilies are heavy feeders and should be fertilized every three to four weeks after planting throughout the growing season. Be careful that the fertilizer is not touching the roots as this will burn them. Press the soil around the roots being careful not to cover the crown of the plant. It is better to plant lilies too high, than to plant them too deep. Hardy lilies go to the bottom of the pond 12" to 30" deep, depending on variety. When placing lilies in the pond, keep them away from waterfalls and fountains as they prefer still water.
PLANTING TROPICAL WATER LILIES - See picture below - Make a mound of mud in the middle of the pot and around the sides of the mound push several fertilizer tablets into the mud. Tropical water lilies should be fertilized at monthly intervals. Place the lily in the middle of the pot and let the roots go down over the mound. Add mud to about 1" below the crown of the plant, and then add a thin layer of gravel up to the crown. Be careful to not cover the crown. Tropical water lilies go to the bottom of the pond 12" to 24" deep. Place the potted water lilies away from waterfalls and fountains as they prefer still water.
PLANTING BOG MARGINAL POND PLANTS - See picture below - Plant bog plants as you would tropical water lilies, again making sure you don't cover the crown of the plant. Most all of the bog plants that we ship come in 2" net pots, using a pair of scissors, carefully cut the net pot away and gently remove the plant, saving as many roots as possible. Place the plants in a shady area for them to adjust to the sun, wind and outdoor environment, as most of the plants are coming out of a greenhouse and need a couple of days to adjust to being outside. Bog Plants after being planted in their new pots prefer moist soil until established and should only be in water deep enough to keep the soil moist. Once they are established and growing heartily, the water above the top of the pot can be as deep as 1/2" to 3" depending on the size of the plant.
LOTUS POND PLANTS - See picture below - Lotus are simple to grow, but have specific cautions when planting and trimming them. They can grow in a pond and survive winters in all the USA. You can even grow them in a container on the patio, but too much freeze/thaw may damage the plant. Lotus need water temperatures to be at least 60 degrees to plant. If you receive your lotus before water temperatures are warm enough to plant in your zone - Simply store your lotus tuber in its’ original packaging, in the refrigerator until it is warm enough to plant outside. Lotus tubers are fragile, be very careful when handling to not break any of the growing tips on the tuber. Lotus, even if a smaller variety need a wide, shallow planting container. Lotus need a lot of leaf growth to provide sugar to the plant to produce flowers. Stuffing a large lotus in a 12 inch container, likely won't provide the plant enough foliage to flower. Plant them shallow with only poor soil. Lotus like to start out using the stored energy in their tuber. Plant shallow, so this energy isn't wasted making 1 leaf from a deep depth. We start them at between 2 to 4 inches of water, for small varieties, and no more than 8 inches from the waters' surface for large varieties. A single small flat rock can be used to hold the tuber on top of the mud when planting, DO NOT COVER THE PLANT WITH STONES. First, you will get surface pads, then aerial leaves. Once you have one or two aerial leaves you can fertilize for the rest of the summer. In summer/fall trim stems only above the water line, as to not drown the hollow air chambers of the lotus.
Suggested Containers for Planting Lotus
Any water-tight rounded container with no holes is acceptable for growing lotus. The size of the pot is determined by the type of lotus you are growing with larger varieties requiring larger pots. The mature size of a lotus will be affected by the size of the pot in which it grows. Using a bigger pot allows more room for rhizome production, thus resulting in more and larger leaves and flowers. Larger pots will encourage the lotus to grow to the larger extreme for their variety. Planting the same lotus in a healthy pond environment will allow it to reach its full potential resulting in a plant much larger than if it had been planted in a small pot. Lotus classified as Bowl Lotus are prized for their ability to grow in the smallest pots, producing miniature lotus that can be brought inside easily for a day or two when they are in bloom.
Suggested pot sizes are:
Bowl Lotus: Container less than 11" in diameter
Small Lotus – Container 15" or less in diameter
Dwarf Lotus – Container 16-20" in diameter
Medium Lotus – 18"-30" in diameter
Large Lotus – 24"-48" in diameter
Round containers allow the runners of the lotus to grow around the bottom of the pot in a circular pattern rather than being jammed into a corner.
PLANTING CONTAINERS & PLANTING MEDIA
The soil that you use can be out of your flower or vegetable garden. Heavy soil with some clay is good to use. Stay away from commercial potting soils, as they are too light and will float out of the container.
We carry a full line of planting containers, baskets and fertilizer for you to plant your water plants or you can use any container that you may already have, as long as it is the recommended size for the plant. If the pots have holes in them, line the bottom of the container with burlap, newspaper or some other heavy fiber material. Most bog plants will grow well in 1 to 2 gallon pots. Water Lilies perform best if they have more room, so a 2 to 5 gallon container is recommended.
To prepare the soil, mix the soil with water from the pond to make a nice thick mud. Then fill the pot that you have chosen to about 2" from the top with your mud mix. Newly potted pond plants can be placed at shallow depths until they become established. Adding a thin layer of gravel will help keep the soil from floating out of the pot.