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Pond plants

I think I might have just killed a water lily :( We planted our wildlife pond two years ago and I forgot to check the water lily last year. Seeing the first leaf at the surface today reminded me and when I pulled it up the rootball had completely outgrown the basket it was in. I had a bigger basket so decided to repot it but when I cut and pulled away the old basket, nearly all the roots came away with it. Will it recover?

And talking of pond plants, all mine are planted in baskets as the pond is lined with butyl and we didn't know to put some soil on top of it. Now there's a layer of silt all around, could I just remove all the baskets and let the plants sit in the silt? I imagine I might have to put some stones around them to stop them floating off at first, but would they grow? And would they damage the liner?


  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    You could plant them in the silt but if you ever have to remove them, you will have a terrible job. In baskets you can keep a check on their growth rates, remove easily if necessary, pot on as necessary. 
    There should not be too much silt in the bottom of your pond after only 2 years. Just scoop it out with a pond net. If there is a lot do you know where it is coming from?
    Water lily - just plant the roots in the new basket. They will be fine.
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,683
    I heard recently that "they" are now recommending we plant them in gravel in baskets, no soil at all. 
    Has anyone tried this?
  • ThankthecatThankthecat Posts: 421
    Thanks hogweed, think I'll keep them in the baskets for now.

    How much silt is too much? There's hardly any on the planting shelf but in the bottom I can feel a layer. I haven't taken a ruler to it yet but I'd guess there's about a couple of inches and I was going to scoop some of that onto the planting shelf if planting without baskets was recommended. I get what you say about them being easier but they are so ugly with the marginals, where the baskets are visible - any tips about disguising them?
  • ThankthecatThankthecat Posts: 421
    Oh, and when is the best time to scoop out any excess silt (thinking at the moment there are loads of larvae etc in there, but in winter won't newts be hiding in it? 
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    It could be that your shelves are too high. My baskets sit just slightly under the water level. You could put some gravel on top of the soil but in a few years the plants will have filled the baskets and then you won't see them!
    As for the silt - do you know you have newts? If not, do it now so you can get any fallen leaves out as well - you don't want to leave them in as the decomposing bit will deprive the pond of oxygen. If you do have newts, scoop out and leave the silt in a shallow basin on your shelf, or a seed tray without holes, and they can crawl/swim out and away. 
    Planting without baskets - depends very much on your style of pond/garden/ethos. If you have dug a hole, filled it with water, planted a few plants and then are going to walk away and let nature take its course ie a true wildlife pond - planting without baskets is fine. 
    If you want a 'managed' pond which attracts wildlife, then planting in baskets is recommended. As before, in baskets you can keep a check on their growth rates, remove easily if necessary, pot on as necessary. 
    Hope that helps.
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • ThankthecatThankthecat Posts: 421
    Thanks Hogweed - the pond is alive with newts and I think that's why we don't have frogs anymore :( There were no trees nearby last year so I don't think there will be many leaves at all in the bottom - this year will be different as we have planted a lot of trees. So perhaps I'll leave the silt-scraping til next year! Thanks for all the good advice.
  • ThankthecatThankthecat Posts: 421
    PS Bummer about the shelves - yes they probably are too high but it's too late to do anything about it now :(
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