Caring for Water Gardens Properly
Aquatic plants, like regular plants, will need to be well cared for so that they thrive and continue to grow. Aquatic plants live in the water, so they need to be cared for in different ways then plants grown in regular soil condition. These steps will help to keep your plants beautiful and developing!
When it comes to fertilizing your aquatic plants, there are many factors to consider. The amount and type of fertilization will depend on the needs of the plants. Some factors to consider are the sun, the water temperature, the water itself, and the type of the plant. When it comes to fertilizing the plants, remember that if the environmental conditions are not correct, no amount of fertilization will help your plants. Be careful not to over fertilize your plants as well. This can lead to growth problems, as well as lead to an overgrowth of algae.
The basic types of fertilizers that are recommended for water plants are slow releasing tablets or granular versions that have an analysis of 20-10-5, 5-10-5, 10-6-4, and 12-8-8. The amount for plants like lotus and water lilies are four ounces of fertilizer for every one cubic foot of soil, mixed into the soil. After the initial fertilization, you can make monthly applications up until August. Tablets are the best form for this, as you can push them right into the soil. If granular is the only option, wrap them into some type of biodegradable paper and gently push that into the soil. Emergent water plants should be fertilized at planting and once midway through the season, at half the rate recommended for water lilies.
Water lilies and emergent aquatic plants can be stored over the winter. The key is to allow the plants to go dormant and keep them in a cool location. This rule applies to all water plants. You do not want the roots to dry out, but also be sure they will not freeze either.
For water gardens done in shallow and small containers, plants can be brought in for the winter. The container will need to be brought inside just after the first frost. Trim off any debris or dead leaves on the plants, and remove any dead stems. The entire container should then be placed in plastic bags and stored in a cool area where the temperature will not rise over 50 degrees or go below freezing. The plastic bag will help for the container to keep moisture. The planter should be checked on periodically to make sure there is enough moisture in the bags. These conditions should be kept constant until spring. Another way to winter through your water plants is to remove the rhizomes, and remove all the old leaves and stems. These can then be stored in a damp sphagnum moss and put into plastic bags. Again, store the bag in a temperature around 50 degrees until the spring.
Tropical water lilies must be wintered through in another way. They have a tropical nature, and therefore they must be removed before the first frost occurs. Remove the plants and trim off their leaves and stems. They should then be re-potted into small pots and stored in an aquarium tank or similar container where they get a lot of light, but the temperature can be kept to 68 degrees.
Following these tips will help you to maintain beautiful flowers during the growing season, and also keep them healthy through the winter for seasons more of enjoying these stunning water gardens!