Your aquatic plants are likely the highlight of your outdoor pond or water feature. You have also probably noticed their aggressive growth throughout the warm spring and summer months.
Re-pot your aquatic plants regularly
Re-potting your aquatic plants is important, as this allows them to grow properly and to obtain enough nutrients as they grow. Because pond plants grow so quickly, they often outgrow their containers in just one season (or even less for some species). This can not only hamper their growth, but can actually kill them because their roots choke them.
A good time to think about re-potting your pond plants is early in the spring, after the winter thaw, but before they begin their aggressive summer growth pattern.
Supplies you need to re-pot aquatic plants
You’ll need to have on hand several plastic pots that are slightly bigger than the ones you currently have. If the water is still very cold, you may also want to consider waders (if your pond is large) and aquatic gloves, which extend all the way to the elbow to keep your hands and arms warm and dry.
You’ll also want to round up a good pair of gardening shears for dividing your plants, fertilizer tablets and an aquatic planting medium. A clay-based planting medium, which is easy to work with, is ideal for most types of aquatic plants.
Re-potting steps to take
To begin, remove the pond plant from its container and gently rinse it off with a hose. Examine the plant to determine if you want to separate it at this point. A good indication is if you can determine any individual plant stalks which begin at the root system. You can either pull the stalks apart by hand or cut them apart with your pruning shears. Make sure your shears are sharp so they can provide a clean cut between stalks.
Some plants are difficult to cut because they don’t have clear stalk separations. In this instance, you can group together a small group of stalks and separate them at the root. Some plants, such as the lotus, are very sensitive to re-potting, so it is important to handle it gently as to avoid damaging the roots or any new shoots. The lotus typically grows very quickly. You may also want to re-plant your lotus when you notice that it didn’t bloom well last season.
Once you have separated the plant, situate it into the new pot, fill about half of the pot with the potting medium and then insert and space the fertilizer tablets as recommended by the manufacturer. Add more potting medium until it rests about an inch below the crown of the plant. Add a layer of lava rocks or small river rocks to prevent the potting medium from floating out of the pot.
Year-round care for aquatic plants
Depending on which area of the country you live, you may want to consider bringing in your aquatic plants during the winter. If you live in a milder part of the country, or if you have hardy aquatic plants, you may not need to do this.
The two things to remember about your aquatic plants is that you need to give them the room and the nutrients they need to grow, and they will provide you with years of beauty.