Posts Tagged ‘ph’

Enemies of Water Garden Plants

December 12, 2008

Before we dive into each type of aquatic plant and each species let us discuss what pond plants do not like.

1. Rough Water and splashing

Overall pond plants enjoy calm water, a fountain or “spitter” that splashes water on the upper side of leaves and foliage will get them to begin rotting.

Water lilies planted close to a waterfall that is turbulent or causing the top of the pads to stay wet will cause the plant to die back.

Splashing water, few water plants surround splashing in the pond but outside is ok.

Splashing water, few water plants surround splashing in the pond but outside is ok.

2. Annuals and cool water temps

Cool water will cause tropicals to die back, if you plant annuals. when it is lets say 74 degrees outside in May, the water at 12″ deep in May will probably still be pretty cool. Water warms and cools MUCH slower than the air temperature. If it isn’t time to put tomatoes in the ground it is too early to add annual plants.

Every year I hear from people its after the last frost and safe to plant. Cool weather can kill some tropicals and damage others. Water lettuce will turn yellow and begin to die overnight when temps go below 52 degrees. Tropical water lilies will begin to die back under 60 degrees. 

Now lets say you plant a little early, there is minor damage to some to tropicals, only a little discoloration. It will come back correct? Yes, but you have probably set the plant up to think its fall or winter and they will go dormant for 2-6 weeks before new growth begins to develop rapidly. Hold off for a week in the spring and your plants will be full grown and blooming much sooner than adding them a week or two early and then waiting for them to come back.

3. Extra high PH … (though note PH is fine up to about 8.8)

Bad pond companies will tell you your plants need to be in neutral water around 7.0, this is not true at all, most pond plants are grown in slightly alkaline water to begin with. Fertilizers and good soil will generally increase pond PH slightly and tap water comes out of the faucet in much of the country between 7.6 and 8.4 anyway. Leaves do not begin to brown on many plants before 8.8 or 9.0. Fish too do fine in slightly alkaline water so if you would like to buy overpriced ph down and buffer be my guest. It wont last at the lower level more than a few days and your fish are more likely to get stressed and become ill from bacteria or parasites with swings in the PH. Leave the pond as is and all will be fine.

Salt and Microbe Lift (a beneficial bacteria used in filtration) are the only two addatives I reccoomend ever putting in the pond. No chemicals are ever necessary.

Chlorine remover is also for the most part not needed, if your tap water is more than 24 hrs old all the chlorine has already evaporated. If your only adding a little water (less than 33%, the fish wont care at all about the small amount of chlorine).

4. Constant Shade

Most pond plants are not going to be good bloomers in full shade. There are plenty that do well in shade but if water lilies grew in ponds and lakes big enough to hold them naturally few big lakes are in full shade. This means under a tree is probably not ideal for a water garden full of blooms but you can still have a great water garden and some bloomers.

5. Plants without soil.

Removing floating plants like water hyacinths and water lettuce and oxygenating plants like anacharis and hornwort. Planted plants like water lilies, lotus, and marginal bog plants all need real rich heavy soil.

Bog plants need a minimum of 1-2 gallon containers of heavy loam soil. Loam is a mixture of about 40%  rich topsoil, 40% clay dirt, and 20% sand or sandy soil.  Potting soil is of course too light and will float out of the container when you place the plants in the pond. Topsoil is great as it has some nutrients and is heavy enough to stay in the container.

6.  Rocks around my plants

In the potted containers, plants need to have there crown exposed, this is the part of the tuber or root ball where the plant emerges from the root and begins the foliage or leaves. If you cover the top of your containers with pea gravel and dont watch the crown the plant may be unabel to emerge. The crown must be out of the soil and visible to the sun as seen below. Im sorry the image is scanned and a little pixilated.

Planting a young water lily with crown exposed

Planting a young water lily with crown exposed