How to Care for Water Plants


Ponds and other features open up the possibility of having a water garden. Aquatic plants require different care than that of most other garden plants. Many water plants are grown as annuals due to the difficulty of preserving them over winter, though native perennial varieties are available in some areas. Caring for the plants properly both before and after transplanting them to your water garden ensures that they stay healthy and don't damage the delicate pond ecosystem.

Step 1

Fill a large plastic bin with water. Place new plants in the bin for one to two weeks and watch them for signs of disease or infestation. This prevents them from bringing these problems into the established water garden.

Step 2

Check the temperature requirements of each plant. Keep a thermometer in your water garden and only transplant new plants when the temperature reaches the proper level for the plant.

Step 3

Sow each plant in the garden correctly. Weigh down submerged plants by attaching lead fishing weights around the bottoms of the stems. Plant rooted rhizome plants in the bottom of the pond or in pots. Allow floating plants to float freely.

Step 4

Prevent summer algae bloom by placing barley straw in the pond in mid-spring: its decomposition inhibits algae. Use 1 pound of straw per 100 square feet of water.

Step 5

Fertilize per the label instructions for each plant time. Generally, use slow release fertilizer tablets mixed in the soil at planting time for rhizome plants. Most floating and submerged plants get their nutrients from the water and require little if any additional fertilization.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid floating plants in koi ponds. The koi eat the roots and kill the plants. Remove the pump and hoses from the pond in winter. Freezes may harm the motor.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic storage bin
  • Pond thermometer
  • Lead weights
  • Barley straw
  • Fertilizer


  • North Texas Water Garden Society: Aquatic Plants and How to Care for Them
Keywords: water gardens, aquatic plant care, maintaining pond plants

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.