Texas Wetland Plants L.L.C.
Aquatic Plant Tips for Your Water Garden or Pond
Tips for Healthy Containerized Aquatic Plants:

  1. Plant in plastic pots or decorative clay pots (pots will be heavy once sediment is wet) filled with a soil mix low in organics and high in clay (Schultz Aquatic Plant Soil or non-organic topsoil available at Lowe's or Home Depot).
  2. Place newspaper over the drainage holes in the pots to prevent soil leakage.  Fill pot 1/3 full of sediment, add all purpose fertilizer (slow release all purpose works best), then fill pot to top. After planting, cover the surface of the soil with gravel (if desired) to limit nutrients from leaving sediment and entering the water column.
  3. Set pots directly on the bottom of the water feature, or on bricks or inverted pots to raise plants to the desired level.  Emergents should not be placed in more than 6 inches of water. Floating-leaved (waterlilies) and submersed can be deeper.  Emergent plant soil must be kept moist.  Floating-leaved and submersed above-ground biomass species must remain inundated or plants will suffer and eventually die.  Fountains, in addition to adding to the aesthetics of your water feature or pond, will increase aeration and create circulation, both of which will deter algae growth (you will have algae, how much depends on maintenance).
  4. Fertilize the soil, not the water.  Use plant stakes or tablets placed under sediment surface for plants showing signs of nutrient loss, i.e. yellowing of leaves and less flower production.  Fish will add to the enjoyment of your pond, although too many fish will cause excess nutrients in the water and contribute to algae.
  5. One gallon of water per inch of fish should be adequate, although larger fish (greater than 6 inches) will require more water, otherwise invest in additional filtration.  Chlorine kills fish!  Use a de-chlorinator when adding water to feature or at initial setup. 
  6. As in your landscape for your yard, aquatic plants also need to be pruned to stay healthy - cut spent leaves and remove unwanted growth to keep your water garden healthy.
  7. Perennial plants will become dormant at the end of the growing season and return in spring. Keep soil from freezing.
  8. Biocontrol products such as BT Mosquito dunks or BT Mosquito Bits (BT = Bacillus thuringiensis) are highly recommended in controlling mosquito larvae in your water feature.
  9. Western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) will also predate upon mosquito larvae in your water feature, although unintentional introductions of this species into nearby waterbodies should be avoided.  As beneficial as this species is to reduction of the mosquito larvae, its overuse has led to many non-indigenous introdutions throughout the United States.  
    Western Mosquitofish Fact Sheet - USGS

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