A closer look at the pond

The other day I showed you an update on the pond, and I mentioned that I added some new plants this year.

Want to take a look at them?


Last year I started the season with three pots of scouring rush (Equisetum hyemale), a small umbrella palm (Cyperus involucratus) I rescued from a friend's compost pile, and a canna planted in pots in the pond. Oh, a hardy water lily too.

By the end of the season the scouring rush had been removed because it was not doing well (with one pot at the bottom of the pond, thanks to raccoons), papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) had been added, and the submerged oxygenators (hornwort and anacharis) had to be trimmed back several times. The water lily did okay but had been pruned by wading deer, and the frogbit floating on the water's surface went crazy and formed a mat I had to keep pruning back.

This year I'll put the papyrus, umbrella palm, and canna back in*, the lily is still in place as are all of the oxygenators, but I've added a few more plants in submerged pots.

First up is the Missouri native "arrowhead", Sagittaria latifolia:

I was warned that this will spread like crazy, but this is growing in a pot. Besides, I love plants that spread! (I now have a dozen or more umbrella palm plants, and at least as many papyrus. Don't make me count my elephant ear bulbs!)

Next up is another native, pickerel plant, Pontederia cordata:

The tag on this one is encouraging: "grow in full sun or shade in shallow water". My pond is shaded until later in the day, so something that doesn't mind shade is welcome! Also, this blooms from "June to October", so I'm excited to see what this young plant does.

Finally, the native water canna, Thalia dealbata:

I'm not sure how all of these will do as they require full sun, but we'll see.

You may notice that I also have some water hyacinth. Non-native and invasive in the south, I'm hoping these plants will help to suck nutrients out of the water this year -- apparently their feathery roots are quite good for that. I had a problem with algae last year, if you remember.

I planted the various elephant ears (Colocasia) behind the pond again, and this year installed a soaker hose:

Watering those manually every day was taking too much time, especially when they got big. They did get quite huge too.

I'll be adding a few more plants to the water this year soon, so I'll give you an update when it happens.

I'm pretty happy with how the pond plants are maturing. I just wish I could see the fish...

*Note: I left the umbrella palm, papyrus, and canna pots in place under the water this past winter as a test. I had plenty of each of these plants in the garage so wasn't concerned about losing them.

My results were: umbrella palm did fine and has come back strong. Papyrus seems to have new root growth, but new stems have not started growing yet -- it may be waiting for warmer weather. The canna rhizomes appeared to have survived, but no new growth was showing yet. I pulled that plant out and put another one that had already started growing in its place. I'm debating whether I should pull the papyrus and do the same. Maybe I'll give it another couple of weeks.


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tarzanus –   – (May 27, 2013 at 11:27 AM)  

I placed one tiny little water hyacinth into my pond. As soon as it got warmer, it started growing, and growing, and spreading,... in a couple of months, it was only one plant inside the pond. I was waiting for it to start blooming, and I actually saw it in the end of August. http://mojefotke.si/photo/index/id/31739

Winter killed it off. I don't miss it, because it spread way too fast and furious.

Hoehoegrow  – (May 27, 2013 at 11:50 AM)  

Interesting plants and they are maturing beautifully. I always find it is such a difficult balance with pond plants, because I like them to be lush and verdant, but then, in my pond, there seems to be a tipping point when it just looks overgrown and as if no one loves it ! It is knowing the right point at which to take action which is hard !

outlawgardener  – (May 27, 2013 at 12:27 PM)  

Your pond is looking great and I love your new plant additions!

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (May 27, 2013 at 12:35 PM)  

Love it!!!

What is the larged-leaved plant in the last photo? It looks a little like a farfugium but has even larger leaves.

Lisa  – (May 27, 2013 at 4:33 PM)  

Do you plant directly in the pond? Or does everything stay in pots? We lost a bunch of marginals that we thought would come back - they were planted in the gravel on the shelves around the pond. This year we're trying pots, baskets and bags to see if we get better results.

We had a big algae bloom this year - the floaters have definitely helped. We're also growing watercress this year in the bog and waterfall, which is supposed to be an excellent natural filter. We just bought bunches at the market and stuck bundles between the rocks. It was growing within a few days time, so we'll see how that goes!

Your pond looks beautiful!

Alan  – (May 28, 2013 at 6:37 AM)  

Thanks everybody!

Jane: I know what you mean! At some point in the summer I'll have to do some pruning or something.

tarzanus: Yes, I expect I'll have to remove lots of water hyacinth during the summer so it doesn't take over. My pond doesn't get full sun so that may help slow it down. I really need it to absorb nutrients though.

Gerhard: Petasites japonicus, or Japanese butterbur.

Lisa: everything is in pots except the oxygenators and the floating plants: frogbit, hyacinth, and duckweed (which I think the fish eat because it only grows in the nooks and crannies).

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