Pond Tip of the Month
Ailyn's Pond Planting Guide 2018
When the pond plants arrive, immediately immerse them 100% in a bucket of cool pond water. They can be kept in the shade untill you are ready to transplant into your pond. Here, pond plants are grown in two gallon pots. They are taken out, washed to remove dirt, dipped in a solution to kill bad stuff, then dipped in a root growth hormone and shipped bare root in sealed bags.
When potting, work in the shade, use heavy clay, not potting soil. And DO NOT forget the pond tabs/spikes. Pond Tabs are fertilizer that is a good mix of nutrients that have been compressed into small, inexpensive, slow release tablets. Always place the tabs below the roots, let the roots look for it. Once potted, immerse the completed pot into a larger container full of water. This will allow the floating trash to be skimmed off so it does not end up in your pond. After several minutes, add about an inch of clean sand onto the top of the pot, this will keep any remaining "light" stuff from floating up into your pond. Move the pot carefully into your pond and there should be no debris coming up and making a mess.
For best results use 2-3 gallon planters that are more wide than high. Place two inches of soil in the bottom, then add three 5 gram pond tabs. Build a mound of soil that will hold the crown of the plant near the top of the pot. Fill pot with soil and pack well around the plant. If you have large fish, cover the surface with flat stones or coarse sand. Select a location that will give a minimum of four hours of full sun daily. Place the pot into the pond at any level that will position the crown a minimum of 6" below the surface. If your water is clear, the pot can eventually be moved to a 2 foot depth. Gradually submerge the plant, keeping al least a pad or two at the surface. The plant will quickly put out new pads to adjust to it's depth. Feed your lilys for best results. One 10 gram pond tabs pushed deep into the soil each month will keep them happy.
Hardy lilies can be identified by their flowers resting on or very close to the water and smooth edges on their lily pads. Hardys should be left thru the winter and divided in early spring. Tropicals can be identified by flowers on stems raised well above the water and serrated edges on the lily pads. Tropical lilies should be removed from the pond before the water gets to 40F and the tubers removed from the pots, cleaned and dried.
New tubers look like walnuts or egg shaped balls along the roots. There could be several in addition to the main tuber. Store tubers in peat moss, in PAPER bags to eliminate mold, in a place where it is not colder than 40F (do not freeze) nor warmer than 50F (don't want them to start growing yet). Check them monthly and don't allow them to dry too much. When spring arrives (pond temp at 65-75F), replant them. For an early start, plunk these into your aquarium in early spring and they will make new tropical lilies for you. Look up "Raising tropical lilies from tubers" on the internet for detailed instructions.
Water Lettuce and Hyacinths
Water Lettuce and Hyacinths are floaters, as such they can just be tossed into the pond where the roots will nourish your fish's cravings for fresh vegetation. Koi and the goldfish family love to lay their eggs in the hyacinth roots. That is what they are doing when one fish is chasing another and they roll sideways around the hyacinths. If you have a skimmer, place a mesh guard outside it's opening to keep floating plants out. During hot summers and intense sun, the floaters bulbs and leaves will burn unless you can provide some shade. A neat trick is to corral them. We sell plant baskets made especially for this. I've seen hula hoops used successfully (Wal-Mart), and an old thin-wall garden hose joined with a wooden plug to form a hoop will also work. The air trapped inside should float it. Another method is to make a string of hyacinths looped with light thread around their roots just below the bulbs. Connect the ends to form a hoop or a corral and tie them to stationary objects. The line of hyacinths will hold the others where you want to keep them.
Before deciding to order water hyacinths or water lettuce, please look into any local restrictions. Both are considered noxious weeds in some places and the plants can not be shipped into several states.
Water Clover needs to be potted with it's crowns just above water level. Crumble a pond tab into the soil just below the planting area. This plant spreads rapidly, so isolate it well. It works very well wrapped around the base of any higher potted bog plant
Water Iris, Canna, Society Garlic, Rushes, Umbrella Grass and most bog plants
This group of plants are conditioned to having their crowns just above water level, and their roots in water or muck, or even hard ground as long as water is regularly available to keep them alive.
These plants are very hardy and grow well just about anywhere if they can get a little water to their roots. They can be potted, but they grow much faster if their roots are submersed. These can also be planted into the ground next to the pond. If the grass sprinkler gets close, they will be happy.
Parrots Feather will do well just tossed into the pond, but it looks much neater if anchored. We tie sewing thread around the base of 20 or so runners, and anchor that in a corner. They take well to potting but grow rapidly away from the pot, spreading in every direction. This plant is easily maintained. Want to seed a whole area with parrots feather? In late fall, just cut them in chucks that have at least one root section each and plant them in a bog area. Soon you will have a carpet of green.
Our Mini Salvinia is NOT the variety that is outlawed by many states. This tiny variety is easily managed, and is a welcome addition to any pond, but is not a good choice if you have a high flow skimmer. The fast moving water will suck in all of your floaters. Fish eat Salvinia and Duckweed, so, consider that if you have large fish.
Primrose Creeper is an aggressive growing very green plant with tiny yellow flowers. It is a good mate to parrots feather. Here we sow one Primrose Creeper to 10-20 Parrots Feather for a little variety in the bed. This plant should be potted or sown into a bog area. Pull and trim the blackened runners in spring.
Our Cat tail is the tall generic variety. It grows to 6-7 feet tall and makes the brown "cat tail" seed pods in the fall. Plant this in a solid, heavy walled pot and divide it when needed to avoid it becoming pot bound. This plant is aggressive and should be watched closely. It loves to put out runners thru any hole it can find, and then new plants will be popping up all over your pond. Let me stress this again, plant this in a solid, heavy walled pot for runner control.
We add new equipment and supplies yearly. Check out the website for new additions.
We are now selling our own pond vacuum system and a pond Emergency Air System. If you live in an area where the water gets warmer than 85F degrees, and you have valuable fish, you need to protect them with an air supply that works when the local electric grid fails. Our standby air systems will keep four air stones bubbling steadily for 24 hours or more without electricity.
Never add fertilizer to the pond water unless you are begging for an algae bloom. Always use tabs or fertilizer spikes inserted under the plant roots.
We do accept walk-ins, and would be happy to help you with advice and to select what you might need.
We have Iris, Cat Tail, Water Canna, Society Garlic, Ruellia, Duckweed, Azolla and Water Clover all year.
In mid-April, we have Lilys, Parrots Feather and Primrose Creeper. Tropical Lilies and Anacharis are normally ready by May, and Salvinia likes really warm water and is last to multiply, so we don't sell that untill June.
We are normally around during part of every day and also on weekends. We are up on the Pine Ridge dunes between Crystal River and Beverly Hills, Florida.
Please give us a call to be certain that someone will be here when you come.
Dick & Ailyn
Crystal River, Florida 34465