Gardening Tips

Tips for taking care of aquatic plants

November 4, 2011

Water lily

Aquatic plants are more difficult to deal with than land plants because they grow on water. Moreover, these plants have different conditions to thrive in, making it mandatory to study them before preparing an aquatic garden.The job is far from over even after the garden is complete.

Being fragile these aquatic plants, need constant attention and special caring techniques to thrive. Here are some tips to take care of aquatic plants:

  1. Plant aquatic plants in fabric or plastic pond pots to reduce the maintenance. Both of these materials are easily available in gardening shops or online stores.
  2. As aquatic plants are sensitive to some types of soil, it is recommended to use either heavy clay loam or packaged soil that is specifically meant for aquatic plants.
  3. Sunlight is most vital for the development of aquatic plants, and, so it is mandatory to keep aquatic plants exposed to sunlight all the time. Remove any gravel or soil on the plants’ growing parts.

Tropical water lilies

  1. Tropical water lilies should be planted in pots of at least 10″ in diameter to have better growth, otherwise one will be left with stunted plants.
  2. Fill about 1/2 of the pot with loam garden soil, and add 2-4 fertilizer tablets. Fill up the pot till two inches from the surface.
  3. Plant the tuber vertically above the soil-surface and bury the roots gently in the soil without burying the tip of the tuber.
  4. Add some pea gravel or sand to prevent soil from leaking from the container. Keep the gravel away from the crown of the tuber.
  5. Lower the plant into the water to a depth of approximately 6 inches over the crown of the water lily. Once the plant starts growing, lower it further to 12 inches.
  6. Tropical water lilies are intolerant toward cold temperatures. So they should be planted only when the water temperature reaches 70 degrees.
  7. Tropicals bloom from late spring through early fall, depending on the weather.
  8. Add fertilizer once in 3-4 weeks.

5. Hard water lilies

  1. Procedure of initial planting of hard water lilies is similar to that of tropical water lilies.
  2. Use broad pots as hard water lilies tend to spread horizontally on the water surface.
  3. Plant the rhizome at an angle of 45 degrees with the surface, in the corner of the pot. Make sure that the crown is exposed.
  4. Use an inch or two of pea gravel or sand on the top.
  5. Lower the plant to a depth of 6 inches at the beginning. Lower it further to 12-18 inches depth once it starts growing.
  6. Hardy lilies should be planted in early spring and should be fertilized every 4-6 weeks.
  7. As lilies grow horizontally as well, it is vital to separate them once in two or three years to avoid overcrowding in the container. For this, remove the soil from the water lily using a water hose to expose the rhizomes.
  8. Select the piece with best signs of healthy growth, and cut it to about three inches long. Discard the rest of the plant. Treat the piece off excess roots and foliage.
  9. Fill three-fourth of the pot with aquatic soil, and add about ten grams of a good fertilizer for every gallon of soil. Keep the water lily plant in the shade, covered with damp paper towels or newspaper, if it is to be kept unpotted for some time.
  10. Pile up some soil against one side of the container, and place the rhizome at a 45 degree angle with the cut edge against the pot.
  11. Add more soil to within a couple of inches of the top of the container.
  12. Add pea gravel to cover the soil keeping it from covering the growing point of the plant.
  13. Add some water to the container gently and slowly lower the plant into the pond.
  14. Fertilize the water lily every month with the same amount of fertilizer during the growing season.


  1. Depending on the size of the lotus- that can vary from dwarf-size to large ones – choose the correct pond pot.
  2. Fill the container with the same soil used for water lily, and add about 10 grams of fertilizer per gallon of soil.
  3. Place the tuber with the cut portion against the edge of the potting container. Place a stone on the tuber to hold it in place.
  4. Add more soil without covering the growing point.
  5. Lower the plant in water up to a few inches till its growth. Then lower it further.
  6. Fertilize the plant every month during the growth-period.
  7. Be careful while dealing with lotus, for it is known to have high-mortality rate. Try to keep growing point safe from breakage. Also keep water warm, as cold water kills lotus.

Hardy and tropical shallow water plants

  1. These plants should be planted in individual fabric or plastic pots.
  2. Plant in loam garden soil and add 1 fertilizer tablet per gallon of soil. Fertilize regularly every 6-8 months.
  3. Lower the plants to maximum depth of 2-3 inches.
  4. They grow out of the water and are found at the water’s edge.

Hardy and tropical floaters
These are the most easily handled plants. They need no care, and, if left in potted plants, will grow on their own. Most of them are particular about climate and temperature and cannot survive frost.

Underwater Plants

Underwater plants may not appear from surface, but are quite useful. They are vital in keeping water clean and pure and preventing algal growth, which otherwise affect the growth of the desired plants. Moreover, underwater plants are beautiful and add variety to the pond.

  1. Plant underwater plants in pots placed underwater, or weigh them down with the help of gravel, stones or pebbles.
  2. Completely submerge these plants to a depth of at least 12 inches.

You Might Also Like