New Pond Plant Care


Most pond plants are just “plug and play” in that you can take them home and pop them on your planting shelves as long as you’re putting them in the same depth of water as you found them in here.  If you’re changing the conditions they’re used to, you either need to do it gradually, or give them a bit of help while they’re adjusting to the new conditions,

Leaves are a different texture and colour depending on whether they are grown above (emerse) or below the water (submerse).  If you move a plant during its growing phase, the plant may need to shed any leaves that have changed condition and re-grow leaves better suited to the new conditions.  This means leaves that have grown out of water for CO2/O2 exchange in the air can’t suddenly switch to being underwater just because you’ve plonked them on a deeper shelf: the plant would need to shed the emerse leaves and grow new submerse leaves that can respire and photosynthesise underwater.  While it’s making these adjustments, just prune off any leaves that are starting to look yellow or brown and give it a few weeks to regenerate—it won’t disappoint you!

BOG and MOISTURE LOVING PLANTS must not have their leaves submerged at all— you can put the pot in any depth of water as long as the roots are wet and the leaves stay dry.

MARGINAL PLANTS can often cope with having the bottom of their stems and lower leaves underwater, but NOT if they’ve   already started their growing season with the leaves and stems above the water line.  If your shelf is deeper than the pot you’ve bought, you have a choice of jacking up the pot on bricks etc. for the rest of this year so the plant can crack on with growing in the same conditions we’ve started it off in, or placing the pot lower and accepting that there will be a ‘sulking period’ while the plant sheds leaves and adjusts to the new semi-submerged      position.  This is also the case if you’re moving a plant from a submerged position to a higher shelf: leaves that were  previously underwater will wither and drop off and the plant will grow new leaves after week or so.  Clever stuff!

WATER LILIES also need a bit of help adjusting to different  water depths.  The new underwater leaf growth is pointy and rolled-up until it reaches the surface, where it unrolls into the floating round “lily pad” we all know.  Once it has opened up into a surface leaf, that leaf can’t survive underwater again, so when you buy a lily that has already grown some surface leaves you have two options when you get home:

  1. Stand the pot on bricks or a shelf so the current lily pads float on the surface. This is the quickest route to a flowering lily as the plant doesn't have to do any adjusting and can carry on making leaves suitable for the depth of water it’s used to until its ready to send up flower buds.
  2. Place it in deeper water but chop off any open leaves, just leaving the rolled up new growth, which will continue to grow to the surface and open up. This lets you position the lily   exactly where you want it but might set your flowers back a month while the lily gets used to the new water depth.

Beware: you often hear advice to “start your lily in shallow water and slowly lower it over several weeks until it’s where you want it” - this is technically correct and would work, but any surface leaves that you submerge will rot off, so this is a slow and messy way of doing it. Make sure you remove any rotting leaves before they decompose and cause algae problems.


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