Early surface cover plant for pond

Hi everyone,

We've got a small garden pond (roughly 2m x 1.5) in a full sun position. Our main surface cover plant is frogbit which is only just starting to emerge and spread, and I remember that  in previous years it wasn't until mid Summer that it really took off. The pond is very prone to algae building up and I'm guessing the main reason for this is that the surface at the moment is barely covered. I was quite taken with the idea of getting a small lily, like Perrys Baby Red, but I don't think our shelves will allow for enough of a planting depth for it - it'd only have about 10-15cm of water above it, and usually less as the pond evaporates a lot in the Summer. I'm trying to figure out if there is a good surface cover plant that will get going reasonably early in the year, that also doesn't need to be planted very deep - or is a floater like frogbit. Does anyone have any recommendations? 

Lucid  :)

Posts

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 2,895
    Unfortunately I cannot remember the names of any of the pond plants we have used, but yes, you need to cover at least 50% of the surface, Have a look at Beaver Aquatic plants, Hobbs Barracks, Felbridge.  We had to put a UV filter in, in the end, although most of the surface of our pond is covered.  How deep is your pond, any chance of a pic?
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,916
    I don't get algae and my surface is uncovered. Pond roughly the same size and 3 ft deep in the middle. In full sun almost all day. Is frogbit the same as duckweed? If so it only really gets going when the water warms up - with me that is August. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • LucidLucid Posts: 318
    Thanks for the replies @Nanny Beach and @hogweed. Our pond just goes to about 60cm deep. I believe we end up with lots of leaves getting in there during the Autumn so this is probably another factor, but I have read that full sun can also promote the algae blooms. I think I will get hold of some of the sludge buster type stuff and give that a go in the hope it will break down lots of the dead matter at the bottom. Frogbit is a separate plant from duckweed (which we also have). Frogbit has mini lily pad like leaves - it starts very small and gradually spreads later in the year. I would still like something that could give enough coverage early on in the season as well.

    Here is a current photo of the pond (after a huge algae clearout):



    I can't quite see to the bottom of the pond at the moment as the water is quite murky, but I am wondering if the oxygenators are still going or if they've died off. If they've died off then I guess that's another potential cause.

    Ideally I'd like a plant that will cover at least a 3rd of the surface in Spring, which as you can see above the frogbit isn't anywhere near yet. My partner thinks we could get the water lily as planned, but place the pot on the bottom of the pond. However what I'm not sure on is whether the lily gets going early on, of if it's similar to frogbit and won't have much lily pad coverage for a while?

    The good news is the pond is very busy with our smooth newt residents, and we've seen some newt efts already over the last few days. We also both saw a small frog (young adult) but didn't have a camera and no sign of it since. Hopefully we'll have more frogs visiting during the year though.





    Lucid  :)
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,916
    I just use a net to scrape along the bottom of the pond to remove any leaves..
    try water hawthorn, it is evergreen and will give you year round coverage.
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 2,217
    I have a couple of water lilies in my much smaller pond, the leaves are starting to grow but don't reach the surface until mid May. My pond is two thirds full of Canadian pond weed, aka elodea, which is cheap as chips and requires zero maintenance. It has grown from a handful I bought for about 50p.  I have hardly any algae.  
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 2,895
    you can definitely plant a water lilly in that depth, ours is on the bottom, not a shelf, you are lucky hogweed to be in full sun and not get greening up
  • LucidLucid Posts: 318
    @hogweed - thanks very much, I'll look in to water hawthorn as it sounds interesting. We have got a net but I don't want to disturb anything that's on the bottom right now. I'll make sure I do a proper sludge removal in the Autumn this year.

    @josusa47 - thanks for your reply. That's good to know that the lilies aren't quite at the surface yet. We've got the hornwort oxygenator but most of it is underwater still (I'm hoping) and I still can't quite see to the bottom of the pond to check. I have a feeling a lot of places don't sell the Canadian pond weed now because it's an invasive non-native. I'll check it out just in case I'm wrong and as a potential alternative if our hornwort has mostly died off.

    @Nanny Beach - Yes, I was hoping to keep potted plants to the shelves to make it easier for access, but whichever I go for out of a lily or water hawthorn will need to be planted on the bottom of the pond as they need that kind of depth. You can get pygmy water lilies but apparently these are really high maintenance.

    Lucid  :)
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,916
    I’ve never had much success with water lilies so rely on the water hawthorn to give me cover. Comes through our cold and snow no bother and remains evergreen all year. A good do-er!
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
Sign In or Register to comment.