Posts Tagged ‘water garden’

The SPRING Algae Bloom

March 26, 2009

feed3What causes algae blooms? Sometimes natural causes, runoff of nutrients from around the pond after a storm or rain. Most common culprit of Algae blooms is the pond owner him or her self.

Algae is the result of nutrients, sunlight, and water. As pond owners I never recommend algae products as it is a vicious cycle. A balanced ecosystem of plants and fish can lead to a simple pond to enjoy rather than fool with. The number 1 problem with water gardening is feeding the fish. Read on my friend…

feed2

Feeding fish before the water temperature is above 55 degrees is always a bad idea, in the winter fish go into a hibernation like stage. Their stomachs are inactive. Pellet or processed foods are dry and if fish eat them too early in the spring you can actually rupture a fish stomach as the food expands quickly inside the stomach and shortly after feeding your fish can go belly up.

Also before you plant plants in the spring you will foul the water by feeding the fish. Pond fish “NEVER” need to be fed. Yes every fish-food container will tell you to feed fish 2-3 times per day but take a second to figure out where they make there money. Fish can eat 10 times a day if you wish, they do this at fish farms. However this is normally too much waste for a pond and the extra waste produces a quick bloom of algae.

String Algae

String Algae

Fish including koi and goldfish naturally eat string algae and bug larvae and eggs keeping mosquitoes and nats to a minimum. Supplementing their natural diet not only stops that part of the natural ecosystem but adds to the nutrients for algae. Adding Submerged plants can highly reduce algae, hornwort, red star ludwigia, lemon bacopa, and anacharis all help starve algae and can even work in cooler water before floating plants like hyacinths and lettuce can takeover on the surface.

Welcome Spring…

March 22, 2009

     Friday spring officially arrived. She may just be sitting on the calendar as morning frost covers the ground again in the Midwest through the east. Colorado and Wyoming and across the northern half of the Midwest are preparing for snow. Not at all uncommon as Denver’s snowiest month is March.

      Next weekend it looks like cold air will again be shoved to northern Texas and snow  is a possibility as far south as Oklahoma City east to St. Lois and north to IL. All week I have been getting requests for order to be sent north for customers as far north as Michigan. When I ask if they will keep the plants inside customers tell me its 70 degrees today or yes in the Garage or greenhouse.

Normal Last Freeze Dates in the USA, proper planting is 7-14 days later.

Normal Last Freeze Dates in the USA, proper planting is 7-14 days later.

       This is common every year but I promise if you can hold out your plants will like you much better. Putting them in a cool or cold pond too early can stunt their growth, keep them dormant for up to 8 weeks. If my proper planting time is May 10th I would rather get my plants May 10th than April 15th, have them begin to go yellow in a garage and then wait until July before they begin bursting into bloom because they have been tricked into thinking it is fall. Our nurseries in Ohio are kept hot and in Florida are very hot. Going to lukewarm weather makes them think its geting cool (IE fall not spring). Having them arrive 2 weeks early they will stop flowering and growing when they get to yuor cool water or feel a few 38 degree nights. Or they begin yellowing indoors without enough direct sunlight. Love your plants, don’t ask for them too early. They are happy in their nice warm greenhouse. Just some advice. But yes we will send them now if you would like them.  

       Today’s blog is half a weather report. As a rule of thumb, I decided years ago its time to put pond plants in the week you plant tomatoes or annuals. The waters warm so much more slowly than the afternoon temperatures, especially below the surface of the water.

Shelf plants like Louisiana Iris start growing in early spring.

In the south spring flowers are probably starting to grow along the shelf as that is where the water will become warmer first, lilies and submerged plants begin growing a little later. Soon spring Louisiana Iris and Marsh marigolds will be in bloom.

MIAMI ROSE, my favorite water lily, we have brought to the homeowners market to date!

January 18, 2009

Miami Rose. In 2008 I declared this my favorite water lily to date.  I intend on showing you some new varieties that have just been hybridized that  we will be bringing to the mass market in 2010,  that may surpass this. There are NEW reds and purples that I cannot wait to show you this summer that are not available to anyone yet, you find them here first!

Zac's Favorite Water Lily to date! Miami Rose. Intense, long lasting, mottled foliage!

Zac's Favorite Water Lily to date! Miami Rose. Intense, long lasting, mottled foliage!

Miami Rose,  brought to market in 1999. A amazing cultivar from Florida Aquatic Nurseries (you will notice as you read through each species the same names over and over, its not that I just have favorite water lily developers it is more that there are so few people and companies that specialize in this and every generation has many developed species. The Annual or Tropical varieties will have many species developed by William Tricker from the late 1800s to early 1900s and then much more development by Craig Presnell of Luster Aquatics and Brad McLane of Florida Aquatic Nurseries from the 1980s-2000s. It seems like mainly winter hardy lilies were hybridized between the 1930s and 1980.)  

The Miami Rose is amazing from its intense blossoms and vibrant color to its heavily mottle purple foliage. The pads are lined and specked heavily with purple and teased with dark green patters inside the purple. I love showing people who have never seen anything but common, sometimes boring yellow or white hardy lilies with green pads something like the Miami Rose.  Once you go to the tropical lilies I don’t think you can ever come back! To me hardy water lilies have become boring except for a few species (I like Clyde Ikins for its ability to bloom no matter what, pink grapefruit is amazing, and the deeper reds like black princess hold a special place in my heart). Why no distributor is in love with the Annual water lilies is astonishing to me! Gardeners love annuals, they are the spice and flavor of a garden. There is nothing difficult about growing the annuals in any part of the 48 continental states or Hawaii. They bloom much more than hardy lilies, come in intense wonderful colors, have unbelievable pads, and few have ever seen these plants. They are not found at Wal Mart and I do not suggest they attempt to sell these as boxed roots as they do other species.

Tank of Miami Rose from the side, underside are specked with purple while heavily striped on top.

Tank of Miami Rose from the side, underside are specked with purple while heavily striped on top.

 Plant in a 2 to 5 gallon container with heavy loam soil. Fertilize heavily, loves sunshine and warm water. Plant when constantly above 75 degrees in late spring. Water temp must be in the 60s no 40 degree nights. The more shallow the more warm your water and more blooms you will get!

Rated as a perfect 5 or 5. Miami Rose is a award winning champion water lily. An over-achiever in the water garden.

On another note off topic. Funny but terrible story from 2008. Recently I began writing some generalized tips to include in a water garden newsletter I hope to get out this Summer.  Note for those of you who don’t know me I only get about 1 in 10 ideas finished and out the door on Water Gardening. I have found that if I dedicate a large sum of money into projects I am more likely to nurture them. Last summer we sent out 3 mailings which I am not sure bring in many new customers and they cost us around $23,000 with printing and mailing costs. The first two we spent months putting together and the third we threw together in about 4 days and it was a little shorter but the best of the 3. However we printed the wrong phone number on the first page of that catalog (inside front cover). Luckily the correct phone number was on every one of the rest of the pages however after Miami Rose. In 2008 I declared this my favorite water lily to date. Though I intend on showing you some new varieties that have just been hybridized we will be bringing to the mass market in 2010 that may surpass this. There are NEW reds and Purples that I cannot wait to show you this summer that are not available to anyone yet, you find them here first! a few weeks what I believe was a teenager called us and asked us why all our customers were calling her boyfriend. I apologized. I was hoping it wasn’t a real number and had not called it because I was afraid it would be. After discussing it with a coworker and feeling horrible I called the number back only to get a voice mail “I am not a company”.  We offered to pay phone bills for the guy but we never received a response and I think the phone number was changed soon after. I feel terrible about that and you would think I would check details more closely but I find typos on here daily. Given I don’t have 10 people to proofread it for me, I am glad I have been persistent in blogging except the first 10 days of the year when I decided to get a bad sinus infection.

Barbara Barnett Water Lily (Nymphaea Barbara Barnett, Hybridized 1997)

January 15, 2009

Barbara Barnett is an exquisite water lily hybridized and developed in 1997 by Brad McLane at Florida Aquatic Nurseries.  Described by its creator as “one of the few sunset water lilies”.  This species is non-viviparous and is similar to size and color of the Albert Greenberg water lily.

Barbara Barnett, sunset water lily Hybridized 1997

Barbara Barnett, sunset water lily, Hybridized 1997.  The flowers are described as yellowish-orange with pink tips. The sepal color is descried as orangish-pink with outer greenish to bronze with dark specks.   Stamens are yellow and the flower is cup shaped.  Adult plants have multiple blooms daily about 6-8″ across depending upon container size and regular fertilization. This water lily has a sweet fragrance and makes a decent daily cut flower. The Leaves / Pads: Each pad is dark green with a heavy light and dark burgundy splashed mottling. Adult pads should grow 10-12″ round. Medium to Large spread (3-5′ round).

This champion water lily gets 4.5 of 5 stars

Easy to Grow: Yes

Free Flowering: Yes (Multiple Blooms per day)

Sun light & plant requirements: Minimum 4 hrs direct sunlight to bloom, Calm water – no splash on foliage, plant in 2 – 5 gallon container, 6-24 inches deep. Note the more shallow you plant water lilies the more blooms you get. In cooler climates always plant lilies shallow as warmer water is at the top of the pond.

Water Hyacinths #1 Selling Pond Plant in America! (Eichhornia crassipes)

December 16, 2008

Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) are truely an amazing species. They are extremely easy to grow. I have talked to a few people who have managed to let these  plants not perform well or die, but it’s rare. They grow so well and so quickly that they cannot be shipped to 11 states.  You can still have these plants in many of these states,  just keep them in private waters. The trouble comes when plant loving people take the extras to waterways and release their excess into no native waterways. The good news,  in more than 90% of the united states gets a hard freeze each year, one hard freeze zaps these wonderful plants and they will no longer be a problem. This means they are annuals and must be replaced each year. Not a problem for most as they cost about $2-$3 and if you buy in quantity, can be as low as $1.50 each.

These plants are amazing filters of the water, in Europe in fact huge vats and greenhouses of Hyacinths are used as primary water treatment tanks. They grow and multiply so quickly and absorb almost all nutrients in the water.

Water Hyacinths Growing, To Flower let them grow in clucsters, fertilize with miracle grow, and they like sun and heat 85*+

Water Hyacinths Growing, To Flower let them grow in clucsters, fertilize with miracle grow, and they like sun and heat 85*+

 These plants like still water, they like to grow in clusters, do not break old foliage apart only new if you must. They enjoy sunshine but will do well in shade. Add them only after wether is warm, cold night will prohibit growth for up to 6 weeks and cause yellowing! They love nutrients, you can add a granular fertilizer like regular old miracle grow to a pond. Fish wont notice anything and plants will thrive. Add a few tablespoons per week anywhere in the pond, THERE IS “NOTHING” SPECIAL ABOUT POND PLANT FERTILIZER. (it will contain no iron but thats it, most fertilizers dont contain iron which is a cause of algae).

Below is how a water hyacinth looks normally upon arrive. If too tall it may lay on its side for a few days but all new growth will be upright.

Water Hyacinth at arrival when ordered or bought from store. Buy in quantity for quicker blooming.

Water Hyacinth at arrival when ordered or bought from store. Buy in quantity for quicker blooming.

KEEP AWAY FROM SPLASHING WATERFALLS AND FOUNTAINS! A wet plant is an unhappy plant, they need to exchange oxygen through the leaves and water inhibits this process.

Water Hyacinth Farm

Water Hyacinth Farm

 

This plant will prevent algae and keepwater crystal clear once 30-40% of the pond has coverage by plants (lilies, lettuce, or hyacinth).

The roots are a great place to hide from herons and raccoons. An all around wonderful plant.

Red Star Ludwigia (Ludwigia glandulosa) NEW 2009!

December 16, 2008

Of the four new submerged oxygenating pond plants ,we are introducing to the homeowners of water gardens in 2009, this I think will be my favorite. A fan of Ludwigia  glandulosa for years , this new market variety is bright red and grows from below the waters surface to above. The foliage is absolutely fantastic, a deep wine red in color brings something new and amazing to the surface of the pond.

Red Star Ludwigia near waters surface
Red Star Ludwigia near waters surface

ludwigia_red

 This plant enjoys sunlight so it may not be suitable for ponds in full shade. it also likes warm water, it can be overwintered indoors with mild temps and a source of sunlight. Growth is slower than other submerged plants. It can be planted as a bog plant as well.  Great hiding source for small fish and for all fish from predators.

NEW! Lemon Bacopa (Bacopa Caroliniana)

December 16, 2008

New for 2009, Lemon Bacopa, named for its lemon scent,  is a very interesting pond plant. This plant comes bunched like anacharis but grows up to the surface of the water and then slightly above. Not only that but once above the surface it begins to bloom with tiny 1/2 inch wondrous blue flowers. This plant can also be planted as a bog plant and will love the soil and bloom more often. A great oxygenator I hope we can keep this  in stock for 2009.

Lemon Bacopa, wonderful oxygenator that blooms once it gets to the waters surface.

Lemon Bacopa, wonderful oxygenator that blooms once it gets to the waters surface.

Provides great hiding spot for fish when predators come around.  Highly reccomended.  Native to zone 8-10.  Other than submerged, great ground cover that is easy to grow in a diverse range of locations including bogs, streams, waterfalls, pond edges and container gardens; foliage lemon-scented.

submerged in an aquarium, this is how each bunch will look at the bottom of the pond.

submerged in an aquarium, this is how each bunch will look at the bottom of the pond.

Seasonal Care:
Cut tips down to 3 in. and float in a cup of water in a warm, sunny location indoors

Vallisneria, Jungle Vallisneria (Vallisneria Americana).. not sea weed

December 16, 2008

This plant will remind you of sea weed.  It is a freshwater submerged pond plant. One of the few submerged oxygenating pond plants that does not come banded and bunched as each is an individual plant. It begins with a root and small bulb underneath the stem, the leaves grow tall toward the surface. You can still use lead weights on the vallisneria to anchor each plant. Fish like the plant to hide around and most of them will leave the plant alone. It may not be as easy for baby fish to hide in as hornwort or anacharis but its a great plant and looks great under the water. It will overwinter in the bottom of ponds.

Two vallisneria plants. About 12" tall can grow to 36"+ depending on depth.

Two vallisneria plants. About 12" tall can grow to 36"+ depending on depth.

I am writing about the underwater plants so that all the less exciting plants are out of the way for the spring and summer.  Next we will have some newer varieties of submerged plants to the water garden industry. Rotala, Bacopa Lemon, and Red Star Ludwigia.