Pond planting marginal shelves:
When you build your pond make sure you create the right depth shelves into your construction – shelf 0, shelf 1 and shelf 2.
As a guide we recommend planting shelf 0 at 5-6″, shelf 1 at 6-9″, shelf 2 at 10-17″ deep with a base of maximum 2’6″. (or 0-13cm, 14-22cm and 23-44cm and a base of maximum 75cm).
2/3rds of the pond should be shelved at these shelf depths with 1/3rd of the area being at the base level. This gives the right proportions of space for a plant or a wildlife orientated pond. A fish orientated pond would need more deep area – 1/2 deep water and 1/2 shelves.
Planting depth measurements given in each plant description in our shop are from the top of the basket to the water surface level.
You need to take into account the depth of the basket to calculate how deep the plant will be in the water when placed on a particular depth shelf. Basket heights: (9cm = 3 1/2″, 1 litre=11cm/4 1/2″ and 2 litre=15cm/ 6″ tall).
Water depth is vital to marginal pond plants – too deep and one variety will not thrive, too shallow and some varieties will not receive the frost/ice protection over their crowns that they would receive from deeper water.
On our website plants are categorized as requiring shelf , or .
Hover over/touch the symbol to see each plants requirements.
Shelf : Plants that sit with their crowns at/near water level – on a 0-13cm(0-5″) depth shelf:
These plants will sit between cobbles or rocks and will be happy with their roots in water but with little or no water over their crowns. These shelf pond plants can be divided into 2 types – those that spread horizontally across the water – rafting plants and those that grow vertically up and out of the water (emergent plants).
These plants can also grow in wet mud in a muddy bog garden or on a wet, muddy stream edge with their crowns exposed above water level.
These are also the plants used most frequently in our container pond planting collections as the plant support grid sits in position with approximately 2cm(1″) of water over the top of an 11cm basket.
If you have taken over a pond with no shelves in its construction but want to plant aquatic plants in it you will either need to create a shelf system with bricks or plant up our floating planting islands that float the crown of the plants on the water surface. These will use plants from shelf category.
Shelf : Plants for a shallow 14 – 22cm(6-9″) depth shelf:
These shelf pond plants can also be divided into 2 types – rafting plants that spread horizontally across the water and emergent plants that grow vertically up and out of the water.
Your pond should contain a mix of both to create the habitats different wildlife will enjoy.
These plants are listed in the pond plant pages as accepting up to 10cm(4″) of water over the top of the basket. If you have dug the shelf too deep for a particular plant species you want to include – try replanting that plant into a taller basket so that the top of the basket is at the correct depth or raise it by using blue engineering bricks or another basket filled part way with gravel. Place your chosen plant basket on this gravel base and fill around the sides to firm the planted basket inside its new outer basket.
As a guidance we recommend a minimum of 3 x 1 litre marginal aquatic baskets per metre length on a shelf, with more if the shelf is wider than 30cm(12″) or if a full look is required quickly.
Shelf : Plants for a deeper 23-44cm(10-17″) depth shelf:
These plants will enjoy a deeper shelf that will place the crown of the plant in water throughout the winter without risk of ice penetrating the pond to that depth. The crown of the plant will be 12-33cm (5-13″) below the water level when grown in an 11cm basket.
The miniature and dwarf waterlilies can be placed onto a pond shelf or at the base of our patio container pond at the equivalent depth of shelf or shelf .