Helpful or Hindrance: Pond Plants In Your Water Feature

Greetings from the world of waterscapes! Pond plants make a great addition to any water feature. They add color and life, make your feature look more natural, and act as a biological filter to help keep your water clear. I absolutely believe that no water feature is truly complete without plants. That being said, water plants grow quickly and, once overgrown, can become a hindrance.

Pond Plants On The Loose!

Water plants root systems can more than double in size in one summer. In some cases, they can completely take over a water feature in a matter of months. These root systems will grow behind and in between the rocks in your pond. If you don’t cut them back regularly, before you know it you have a wall of roots behind your rocks and no way to get them out without de-rocking the whole water feature or at least pulling three or four small boulders out with it. When your plants spread and start to mix in together it can look much more natural. However, once this happens it gets hard to distinguish which roots belong to which plants, so you don’t know what to cut. If the pickerel you planted on the right side and the iris you planted on the left side have both spread to the middle and mixed together, it means you most definitely have a giant root system that can’t be removed without tearing the whole wall apart.

Keeping Control With Pots

Don’t panic or let this scary you away from planting in and around your water feature. There are several ways to keep these things from happening. The easiest way to control your plant growth is to keep them confined to pots. Each time your plant outgrows the pot it is in you can put it in a bigger pot, or you can divide the root system and repot what you divide and put it back in your pond or get rid of it.

The Natural Approach

Some people don’t like the idea of keeping their pond plants potted. They prefer the more natural approach of planting directly in the rock. This is fine, if you stay on top of the plant’s growth. It may help to create an invisible line around your plant. Decide on a certain size you want your plants to get and whenever they cross that invisible line cut them back. You may have to divide the root at least twice a year to keep them under control. Once in the spring and again in the fall is usually sufficient. However, no one plant grows at the same rate as another. If your plant is getting a lot of nutrients it will grow at a faster rate and need more maintenance than typically recommended.

If you feel overwhelmed by your pond plants and need help, or just have questions about water plant care, don’t hesitate to give us a call or come by for a visit. Catch you downstream!

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