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Frequently Asked Questions about Ponds
I receive many emails and telephone calls asking for advice on ponds and pond plants. Here are a few of the most common questions.
What is a Plug Plant/Bare Root Plant/Bunch?
A plug plant is a small plant which has been grown from seed or cuttings into a more mature plant ready to be planted out into its final planting position. If planted in spring it will quickly grow to become a good sized plant within the same season.
Many pond plants are traditionally supplied as bare root plants. They are established plants with the soil washed from their roots and should have old roots and large leaves removed before planting. They need to be planted immediately on receipt and the roots must not be allowed to dry out.
Many oxygenating plants are supplied as bunches early in the season. Each bunch normally consists of at least four stems and they need to be potted up into planting baskets/bags immediately on receipt. Three bunches are sufficient for one square metre of pond surface. If planted in spring they will quickly grow to become a good sized plant within the same season.
Pond Planting Soil:
plants should be potted up into either a proprietary Aquatic Soil
or a medium to heavy garden loam. Aquatic soil can be
purchased from most Garden Centres. If using garden soil, it must be
free from fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. Planting
Instructions for Pond Plants can be accessed by clicking here.
Plants suitable for Moving Water:
There aren't many plants which will do well in moving/splashing water
- most pond plants prefer still or only gently moving water. Here are a
few which will withstand moving water:
Plants suitable for a Stream Side:
are many difficulties in planting stream sides. Plants which will
grow rapidly to bind the soil of the bank, may prove to be vigorous and
invasive eg Norfolk Reed. Although the stream may appear to be slow
flowing, it may still be quite strong and eroding the bank. Depending
on the strength of flow, many small plants may be washed away. Fluctuating water levels may
also cause problems for certain plants. The
safest option would be to construct some sort of physical barrier to the
water and then plant behind it eg driving strong stakes into the bank and
back filling with soil. Plants can be encouraged to cascade over the
edge to make the structure look more natural.
One other point; make sure you know who the stream belongs to and whether
there are any restrictions on planting. It may be a good idea to
contact your local Wild Life Trust and ask their advice.
One other point; make sure you know who the stream belongs to and whether there are any restrictions on planting. It may be a good idea to contact your local Wild Life Trust and ask their advice.
Marginal Plants for a Partly Shaded Pond:
Most pond plants require at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sun to flower and flourish. Some plants will grow in shade, but won't flower and others may grow 'leggy'. The list below includes plants which will tolerate shady sites with as little as 4 to 6 hours of sunlight per day.
Trees provide shade for a pond and the water is therefore cooler for wildlife, but they will add to debris falling into the pond. Leaves and twigs will decompose slowly and may produce toxic gases (toxic to wildlife and plants), so it is best to try to remove any debris before this process occurs. It is sensible to reduce the number of plants in a shady pond so that competition for available sunlight is reduced.
Oxygenating Plants for a Partly Shaded Pond:
pond plants require at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sun to flower and
flourish. The list below includes plants which will tolerate shady
sites with as little as 4 to 6 hours of sunlight per day.
Bog Plants which are
suitable for a Partly Shaded Site:
Bog Plants which are suitable for a Partly Shaded Site:
Plants suitable for a Fish Pond:
I wouldn't recommend fish for a small wildlife pond as they may damage the plants, eat the tadpoles & young newts and add organic matter (potentially increasing the amount of algae produced).
Plants suitable for a Duck Pond:
I'm afraid that ducks and plants don't mix very well - the ducks will pull the young plants up to eat them. You would need to physically protect young plants from the ducks until they get well established.
Pond Care during Autumn:
Remove as much debris (leaves, twigs etc) from the pond as possible to prevent it decomposing and polluting the water. If there are trees nearby, you may like to consider using a net to prevent the leaves from falling into the water, but care needs to be taken that the net doesn't pose a hazard to wildlife. Don't remove the silt from the bottom of the pond as it will contain over-wintering buds from floating pond plants and wildlife larvae.