How to Plant Water Plants


Caring for water plants, also known as aquatic plants, may seem like a daunting task but with a little know how you can be sure to do it right every time.  Whether you have a new water plant or are splitting your favorite water plant, the basics for how to plant a water plant are the same (except for lotus plant).

If you have a water plant to split you’ll need to remove it from its growing container.  Rinse off as much soil as you can in a bucket of water that is close to the same temperature as the water the plant came out of.  Water plant roots should be bright white and not mushy.  Look at the crown of the water plant where the growing leaves or stems meet the root mass.  Identify where the leaves grow in clumps and split the water plant in between those clumps.  If you are familiar with splitting hostas it is exactly the same idea.  Once you have your splits you are ready to plant.

Once you have your bare root plant you can simply add your aquatic plant to a gravel substrate in your water garden or put it in a plant container or pot.  Pots and plant containers with fine mesh holes or solid containers are available for aquatic plants.  Fine mesh planters allow plants to take more nutrients directly from the water.  Solid containers are preferred for creeping or aggressive growing and spreading plants.

Choose a container that is at least 2 times larger than the root mass.  The smaller the container the more often you will have to split your water plants.  Place your water plant in the pot roots first and cover the roots with soil up to the crown of your aquatic plant.  Special soil mixes are not necessary and potting soil should be avoided.  A sandy clay mix is the best soil to use and is probably already in your yard.  A good test if you have the right soil is if grass will grow so will your aquatic plants.

Push one to two pond plant fertilizer tablets into the soil.  Be sure to use fertilizer tablets designed for aquatic plants to avoid growing algae.  Cover the top of the soil with a thin layer of pea stone to keep the soil from washing out of the pot when placed under water.  Gently add the pot back to your water garden and enjoy!

Using simple and easy techniques ensure all of your water plants will grow successfully including margin or edge plants, water lilies and tropical water lilies.  Healthy water plants not only look beautiful but they also do a better job of keeping your water garden balanced and your pond water clean.