Selecting and Adding Plants
Roughly 80 to 90% of the plants you add to your pond are considered "marginal" or "bog"
plants.  These are plants that like their feet to be wet, sometimes up to 6", but will not
tolerate the whole plant being submerged.  The only truely "submerged" plants you will
have are water lilies and oxygenators (hornwort, anacharis. etc.)  You may also elect to
incorporate some "floaters", like water lettuce, water hyacinth, duckweed and such.  In
all three of these catagories, marginal, submerged and floaters, there are both hardy
and tropical varieties.  If you are looking for something you won't have to over-winter
or replace next year, be sure what you are buying is hardy for your area.  We here in
Illinois are Zone 5, and most of the plants you can purchase at any retail location will list
whether the plant is hardy or tropical on the label.
Back under "Dig Your Pond", I suggested you dig the first plant shelf 8" - 10" below the finished water line.  There really is a
method to my madness.  You see, most large nursery pots are 8" - 10" tall, so if you dug your plant shelf at the right depth, you
will be able to set your marginal plants on that first shelf without having to prop them up with bricks or milk crates.  If you
haven't been saving your large nursery pots, you can ask your local nursery for some, or find that friend who saves everything.  
Pots without holes in them, which are intended for use with marginal plants, can be purchased, but regular 8" - 10" tall, black
nursery pots do just fine.

Take your empty pot and line it with newspaper to cover the holes at the bottom and prevent any of your potting medium from
escaping into the pond.  I plant my own marginals in either plain river rock, or the nastiest clay soil I can find.  You don't want
to use anything with a lot of organic material in it because this will decompose quickly and foul your water.  Plus it's STANKY!!  
You especially DON'T want to use potting soil, as it is LOADED with organic material.

Take your newspaper lined pot and add two or three fertilizer tabs to the bottom of the pot.  Fill the pot up with river rock or
clay, to about 3" from the top.  Set your plant roots in the center of the media (green side up) and fill in around them, tamping
down lightly to hold the plant in place until the roots become established.  Lastly, add a 1" - 2" layer of river rock to the top of
the pot to help prevent your fish from poking around in there and stirring up the planting medium.

You are now ready to place the plant in the pond.  Set the plant in with the pot AT AN ANGLE, not straight in.  This will help
eliminate bubbles coming up through the planting medium and clouding the water.

    To learn how to repot a water lily, CLICK HERE.
    To see marginal plants we currently have for sale, CLICK HERE.
    To see water lilies we currently have for sale, CLICK HERE.
    To go to the Main Plant Page for other options, CLICK HERE.
<<<GO BACK TO STEP 10:
CREATING A WATERFALL
GO TO STEP 12:
SELECTING & ADDING FISH
<<<GO BACK TO STEP 10:
CREATING A WATERFALL
GO TO STEP 12:
SELECTING & ADDING FISH
Step 11:
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When you go shopping for plants, look for something that has a good root structure.  
Sometimes you can get two or three starts from one pot, if you're paying attention.  
The foliage will come later, so don't be too concerned with that now.  A good root
system will help your plant get off to a strong start.

When you get your new plant(s) home, it is important that you re-pot them.  Yes, that's
many organic materials in it to add to your pond, especially if they have been potted in
When you get your new plant(s) home, it is important that you re-pot them.  Yes, that's
When you get your new plant(s) home, it is important that you re-pot them.  Yes, that's
right.  Re-pot them.  The media they have been packed in for sale usually has far too
right.  Re-pot them.  The media they have been packed in for sale usually has far too
many organic materials in it to add to your pond, especially if they have been potted in
peat moss.  Also, the pots they come in are intended for retail display and are far too
small to accommodate healthy root growth, which is essential for strong foliage later
on.  Carefully remove the plant from the pot and wash as much dirt off the roots as you
can.