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Feeding pond plants - any tips?

Rob LockwoodRob Lockwood Midlands of EnglandPosts: 328

Hi all - got a few established plants in my small pond - mainly marginals (marsh marigold, typha minima, iris, starwort) and a small pond lily, but have never fed them  I planted them into large baskets of aquatic compost a year or so ago, but:

should I be feeding them?

what type/brand of feed?

and how (eg assume I need to drag the lily up from the depths!)?

Any of your advice/experiences welcome!



  • darren636darren636 Posts: 666
    I like to use root plugs

    You'll need ones that contain n.p.k.

    Or you could fertilise the water column directly with dry salts from

    Aquarium plant food UK.

    Generally speaking, root plugs are easiest
  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Rob you don't need to feed pond plants. All they need is water and sun. They make their own food. They get all they need from their environment. If you upset the balance of the pond with extra feed you'll have problems.

  • Rob LockwoodRob Lockwood Midlands of EnglandPosts: 328

    Thanks both - bit of a difference of opinion there...  I'm sure neither of you will be put out if anyone else comes down on either side!

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,319

    Chap I spoke to at Hampton Court Flower Show recommended Osmocote capsule. I think that's what Darren means, I think.

    Try freecycle Edd. You might find someone having a bit of an overhaul at this time of year. 

    A noticeboard locally in a newsagents for example might also generate some interest/ volunteer help ??

  • darren636darren636 Posts: 666
    You'll have problems through poor nutrition.

    Pond plants need npk for healthy leaves, roots and flowers.

    Algae spores are everywhere. Just waiting for the right moment- usually damaged leaves are a prime instigator.

    Of course some nutrients will be supplied by bacterial action and detritus from fauna.

    Pond soil you buy from garden centres are loaded with nitrogen, even though they claim not to be, I've tested them and they release huge quantities of ammonia.(n)

    This will be consumed after the first summer, perhaps sooner with hungry plants such as nymphaea.

    A root plug, pushed into the soil will make nutrients available to the plant and help keep opportunistic algae at bay.
  • Rob LockwoodRob Lockwood Midlands of EnglandPosts: 328

    Darren636 - coud you give me a bit more on that - never heard of root plugs before.  As Hostafan1 suggests, I imagine it's some kind of hardish capsule you push into the soil near the root, but just wanted to be sure - thanks!

  • darren636darren636 Posts: 666
    You can make root plugs at home with an ice cube tray , freezer and liquid plant food

    Root plugs are just capsules/ tablets containing slow release fertilisers which you push into the soil around the plant.

    I use ones designed for aquariums from the nutrient company and aquarium plant food UK.

    But you should be able to get them from pond plant sellers , such as puddleplants etc.

    There's plenty of misinformation about nutrients and water, for instance poor Monty is stuck in the 80's when he covers this subject. The science moved on years ago !
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,144
    Monty may be stuck in the 80's but wrong with his pond. Everything looks to be flourishing to me.

    If you're going to use liquid feed, why bother to put it in the freezer, it will have melted by the time you get it down to the pond.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • darren636darren636 Posts: 666
    .Monty is under the impression that nutrients are bad

    Pond plants need nutrients just the same as any other organism.

    In fact, the most critical reactions in plant leaves depend on phosphorus.

    Without Rubisco, we wouldn't be here to have this conversation

    Monty's pond appears to be getting enough nutrients through redox and fauna fertilisation.

    Too much nitrogen and you'll get luxuriant growth that sprawls with few flowers, but I don't see the pay off in running lean when it comes to aquatic plants- the healthier the better. I capsule per basket and forget about it

    1 capsule might mean the difference between 10 flowers on a nuphar luteum or just 4 and it certainly won't affect water quality , in fact healthy plants produce oxygen at the roots and leaf surfaces during daytime.
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