A pond is a special biotope because plants like water lilies grow there without any soil. Pond plants get their nutrients from the water and can easily cope with the permanently damp environment. However, they must be anchored at or near the bottom so that they do not float to the surface. Proper planting is important to maintain balance in the water.

Avoid potting soil

When planting a pond, potting soil is usually completely dispensed with. This is because the water prevents the soil from forming a solid base, which can cause numerous problems. The potting soil can even pose a threat to pond plants or aquatic life such as fish.

Abandoning potting soil has many advantages:

  • clearer water
  • reduced risk of nutrient excess
  • little target for parasites
  • better water quality
  • less formation of plankton and algae

If you do not use potting soil when planting the plants, you can enjoy many advantages and the water does not discolour if a pump keeps the pond water moving. Above all, a strong formation of algae is a frequent problem when additional soil is introduced into the pond. These are particularly difficult for fish, but also make the water look unsightly.

Substrate for pond plant baskets

When planting the baskets, however, you cannot do without a substrate entirely, which is why different types of gravel and crushed stone are used. In principle, almost all types of stone can be used, but these have prevailed:

  • Lime Freier Choose
  • Tongranulat

In any case, the substrate should be free of lime, because pond plants do not like calcareous rocks or calcareous water. Granite, for example, which is largely free of lime, is ideal. As an alternative to gravel, you can also use clay granules. It also has the advantage that the granules can absorb and release oxygen inside. As a result, the clay granules make an important contribution to aerating the water.

When choosing the substrate, it is important that the grain size is not too small. A fine grain or even sand can have similar effects as earth. The sand can cloud the water again, but it can also cause problems with pond pumps. A grain size from 2 mm to a maximum of 4 mm is ideal. Although larger stones can be used to weigh down the plants in the pond plant baskets, the substrate should not be too coarse. Otherwise it can happen that the plants come loose from under the coarse stones or that the roots are permanently damaged by the weight.

Note: Gravel or clay granules have the advantage of being sterile. Compared to soil, there is hardly any risk of bringing diseases or germs into the water.

Coarse rock also offers a welcome refuge for aquatic life, as it can hide in the interstices. Fish also benefit from this choice of substrate, because they are also offered opportunities to retreat and they can also better search for food in the pond.

choose a planter

If you want to put plants in a pond, you should choose suitable planters in addition to the substrate. Pond plant baskets are preferred for water lilies. The baskets are perforated across the board, but not so much that the substrate could trickle through when planting.

The plant baskets for inserting the plants are available in different shapes and sizes. This has the advantage that the plant baskets can be adapted to the size of the plants and there is also design potential. Another advantage of the baskets is that the plants in the pond can be better controlled. Although they can develop through the close-meshed network, many do not manage to grow beyond it.

The advantages at a glance:

  • controllable spread
  • easier relocation to winter quarters
  • easier cleaning of the pond
  • better positioning of the plants

The pond plant baskets offer many advantages, especially for pond plants that are not hardy, because you can take them out of the pond in a few simple steps and move them to a frost-free winter quarters. It is just as easy if the plants have to be removed for cleaning.

Note: If reeds or cattails are used, particularly robust pond plant baskets should be used. Otherwise, the strong roots of the grasses are capable of destroying the baskets, allowing them to spread unhindered.

Insertion instructions

As soon as the plants, substrate and pond plant baskets are ready, the concrete planting of the pond can begin. The following instructions can be used for all pond plants:

  • measure water depth
  • always avoid soil at a depth of up to one meter
  • Fill plant baskets with clay granules or gravel
  • use plants
  • possibly put several larger stones on top
  • Place the plant basket at the appropriate water depth
Notes: Make sure that the plants have enough distance from each other in the water and do not have to compete with each other for light.

When planting, the water depth is crucial for many plants. As a rule, the plants indicate in which area they feel most comfortable. The following categories are available:

  • up to 10 cm: swamp zone
  • 10 – 40 cm: shallow water zone
  • ab 40 cm: Tiefwasserzone

Depth is also important when choosing plants. Many water lilies require a minimum depth of 80 cm. If this is not available, then the leaves no longer lie on the water, but even grow above the water level. On the market, however, there is a large selection of plants with different water depth requirements. For example, there are dwarf water lilies that only need a depth of 30 – 60 cm, depending on the variety.

Planting instructions for water lilies

As a rule, almost all pond plants can be potted like house plants. With water lilies, however, there are some special features that should be taken into account when inserting them.

If the water lily has a rhizome, lay it flat in the plant basket. For this purpose, the basket is first filled 2/3 with substrate and then the water lily is inserted. Finally, the rest of the basket is filled with substrate. Compared to potted plants, there is no need to leave a watering rim and the plant basket can be filled to the top, which also gives additional stability. Eyes and saplings should still protrude from the substrate, however.

If the water lily does not have a pronounced rhizome, follow the instructions below:

  • Fill the plant basket 2/3 with substrate
  • Stick the water lily vertically into the substrate
  • Fill the plant basket with substrate

In the case of water lilies without a pronounced rhizome, you can also add some clay to the substrate. This gives the water lily a better hold and also encourages the formation of roots or the development of a rhizome.

In contrast to other pond plants, newly planted water lilies should not be submerged to the maximum depth straight away. They should be gradually lowered into the water. This facilitates the formation of leaves that come to the surface, but without demanding too much strength. A water lily that is planted at the maximum depth would also come up at some point, but with a significantly higher consumption of resources. This can affect new plantings in particular and lead to stunted growth or the absence of flowers.

Planting of natural ponds

A natural pond usually does not require a pond tub or liner. Compacted soil forms a natural barrier against leakage. However, additional soil should also be avoided in such ponds. The reason for this is that potting soil often contains an above-average number of nutrients. Even natural ponds cannot compensate for this excess of nutrients. Gravel or clay granules are also used here again for planting.

In the case of natural ponds, however, there is the possibility of planting the pond plants directly, which are mainly found in the swamp zone. However, floating aquatic plants such as water lilies should also be replanted in pond plant baskets.

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