The amount of sunlight, depth of water and the type of surroundings can all affect the success of pond plants. Most ponds contain two types of plants--submerged varieties and floating leafed ones. Floating leafed plants limit the amount of sunlight that reaches the water below, regulating algae growth. Submerged plants provide oxygen to the pond. Those two types, along with the occasional free floater, creates a balanced water environment. Fifty to 75 percent of the pond's water surface should be covered by floating plants of some type. The most common floating leafed plants are water lilies. Submerged plants include water Milfoil, Cabomba and Vallisneria.
Create a soil mixture to pot floating leafed and submerged water plants. Combine equal parts of sand, ground clay and manure.
Transfer pond plants such as tropical water lilies, cattails and water poppies from their nursery container into larger containers. Plant the crown of the plant near the top of the pot.
Put just enough of the soil mixture on the pond plant it to cover it. Water to pack down the soil. Add one inch of gravel on top of the soil. This will help keep the soil from floating away.
Place plants up to 18 inches under the water surface. Tropical and hardy lilies should be at a depth that allows the leaves to float to the surface of the water. Place some of the containers on bricks to raise them up to achieve varying heights.
Put hardy lilies' rhizomes in tubs that are wide and shallow. Place the tubs at 45-degree angles. Cover with soil and top with one inch of gravel.
Add free floating plants for a finishing touch. This includes Giant Duck Weed and Water Lettuce. Rinse them well. Place them on top of the water surface.
Add pond plant fertilizer tablets to the water garden. Follow the instructions on the packaging.