Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Aquatic Plants for the Pond

After completing the construction of the pond and checking for leaks, it was time to add a few aquatic plants.  I selected water lilies, cat tails, and a common underwater plant.  The plants will oxygenate the water and keep the algae under control.  Most importantly, the plants will provide shelter for the fish, provide a spawning area, and consume nutrients to keep the algae in check.

Because our pond is not that large, we choose two water lilies from the home improvement center. It was recommended that the lilies be planted with the pots near the middle of the pond because they require lots of room to grow, spreading from tubers to lily pads.  The lilies also need full sun shine some of the time and the morning sun is ideal.  Once established the lilies require little care. (This water lily opened this morning.  How is that for timing?)

We selected variegated cat tails to put on the east side of the pond, the side furthest away from the sitting area.  The cat tails were planted directly into the soil in the pond.  We used a generous handful of gravel to hold the plants down.

The variegated cat tails don't grow as tall as the more familiar green cat tails.  They have a tendency to spread and before too long we found them cropping up in the middle of the pond.  Cat tails improve water and soil quality and I have heard that every part of the cat tails is edible for humans ; however, at this time we were mostly interested in beauty.

Lastly but not least important are the fern like underwater plants.  They can be bought at pet stores. These plants are most vital for keeping algae at bay and providing oxygen for the fish.

 It is a good idea to put the submerged plants in pots to prevent excessive spreading.  It may be necessary to make a protective mesh cover (bird netting) to keep the fish from overgrazing; however, they will be able to nibble and at the same time trim the plant.

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