What makes planting in water different?

Planting your pond 1   2   3   4   5   6  

Planting in water is different:

  • 3 areas of the pond each with different plant growth
  • depth of water for each plant group is vital
  • use of aquatic compost
  • use of mesh baskets

1. Submerged plants:

  • Totally submerged below the water surface.
  • Have few support cells in their stems or leaves as they float in the water.
  • If removed from water they will hang limply and will wilt very quickly.
  • All stem and leaf surfaces need to be kept damp or wet.
  • Leaves are highly divided and able to absorb water, nutrients and dissolved gases.
  • Drop oxygenating plants into the pond either with or without a lead strip to bunch them dependent on the species of the plant. (Drop into water just as they are sent out by us)
  • Do not plant in a basket as they float freely in the water, moving up and down according to the water temperature.

 2. Floating plants:

  • Place waterlilies & Water Hawthorn deep in the pond and the leaves will grow to float on the surface or Frogbit & Water Soldier are free floating.
  • Waterlilies 'breathe' through the pores on the top surface of the leaf. Do not place waterlilies under constantly splashing water (it blocks their noses!).
  • Waterlilies grow from the deep water and hold the leaf on the surface via stems with hollow tubes enabling air transfer necessary for the roots of the plant.
  • Cover 50% surface water with leaf growth so that the water temperature remains cool for fish and wildlife.
  • Shade created by these leaves also helps reduce algae growth. Flowers are an added bonus.

3. Shelf plants:

  • Grow from below water level with stem, leaves and flowers showing above the water.
  • Place the rooted baskets on a shelf of a pond with a man-made liner or plant in the edge of a clay pond.
  • Shelf plants use nutrients to put on growth and flower at different times of the season and create the visual interest and wildlife habitat of the pond.

2 types of shelf plants:

  • emergents or uprights - stems and flowers held well above water level
  • rafting plants - they have horizontal growth that rafts across the water surface.

 Combine all 3 of these plant types to make a successful and balanced pond.

  •  planting in water - each type like a certain depth of water above their basket and getting this right will be crucial for their survival and success.

Potting plants for a pond:


Our plants are correctly planted in aquatic compost and mesh baskets ready for you to lower into the water when they arrive.

Aquatic compost:

  • Use a clay/loam mix aquatic compost for aquatic plants.
  • Do not use ordinary, multipurpose potting compost for pond plants as this is too light and will contain peat (which will continue to decompose when submerged in water and rot the plant roots) or coir (which will float away when submerged).
  • Aquatic soil is available in bags in most garden centres and should be brown in colour and not black.
  • Aquatic compost should hold together when squeezed.
  • When you divide or repot pond plants into new, larger mesh baskets and aquatic soil you should add a fertiliser ball too.

Mesh baskets:

  • Pond plants grow in mesh aquatic baskets.
  • Mesh baskets  are available in various sizes and allow water to circulate through the compost allowing the transfer of oxygen and nutrients between the water and the plant.
  • Aquatic compost should not wash away through these fine holes as the plants are rooted and the root growth will hold the soil together.
  • Mesh holes allow the plant roots to escape from the cramped conditions inside the basket and stretch out into the water to gain more contact between the root surfaces and the water to soak up even more nutrients from the water.
  • Waterlilies can have as large a root spread as their leaf spread is on the surface of the water.
  • Move a plant into a larger mesh basket when it grows and use aquatic compost or washed gravel.