IMPORTANT - Keep the newly delivered plants in a tub of your pond's water and out of direct sunlight for the first day. When you then start to plant them, the soil can be out of your flower or vegetable garden. Heavy soil with some clay is good. Avoid potting soils like 'Miracle Grow Planting Soil' as is too light and will float out of the pot. Dirt from your yard is just fine. Use any plastic or clay pot that you have. If the pots have holes in them, line the bottom of the pot with burlap, newspaper or some other heavy-fibered material. You don't want any holes in the pot as drainage is not an issue as the pot will be submerged in water. The most important thing is to keep your dirt/mud mix in one place. To prepare the soil mix the soil with water from the pond to make a nice thick mudpie. Then fill the pot that you have chosen to about 2" from the top with your mudpie mix. Newly potted plants can be placed in the shallow area until they become established and you can move them deeper. Keep lilies away from waterfalls and fountains as they don't do well with water droplets on the leaves. Follow any specific directions as noted on the plastic tags that come with the plants.
FERTILIZER - Put a fertilizer tab in the pot away from the plant root when you first plant and then again once a month. Some plants like Lilies and Lotus are big eaters and need 2 tabs a month. WAIT to fertilize lotus until the new sprouts are coming up as you don't want to burn the delicate plant tips.
PLANTING FLOATING OXYGENATOR PLANTS - These are the easiest to plant. Just lay them in the pond! Shade them for a few days before exposing them to full sun. If you want to contain them so they don't float into your skimmer you will need to make a floating fence for them. Just take a few sticks and form them into the shape you want and tie the ends together with fishing line. Lay the stick fence into the pond and lay the floaters inside of it. This will keep them located in one spot if you anchor the fence with a big fish sinker. An old Hula Hoop spray painted flat black, with a large fishing weight anchoring it in place, works very well too.
BEST FLOATING POND PLANT? - In my opinion, the #1 plant for fast growth and powerful water filtration is the water hyacinth and the jumbo's are the best way to go. In fact many cities in the USA use them to prefilter the waste water in their water treatment plants. If you put them in direct sun the first day the leaves have no fluids and the sun will burn the leaves. But once they are acclimated you can put them anywhere you wish. We have many customers who order full boxes (1 full box is 25 jumbo plants) each year. In my opinion, they are the best floaters for any purpose and the rest of the floaters are good, but not the high powered cleansing factories like hyacinth. However, if you have Koi they love to nibble on hyacinth root tips. Always keep some in the top of your waterfall box to replace the ones the koi tear up! Periodically the hyacinth will get their root masses entangled and it is suggested that you pull the root masses apart to encourage new growth.
PLANTING SUBMERGED OXYGENATOR PLANTS - These do well if you have gravel in the bottom of your pond. Just clump the roots in a bunch and push gravel over them. If you have no gravel you can get some lead sinkers at the sporting goods department and then put a rubber band loosely around a few plants and then crimp a fishing weight onto the rubber band and drop the plant bundle where you wish. They will feed just fine off of the nutrients in your pond water, especially if you have fish that produce waste. Another option is to find some shallow plastic trays. Make a mix of dirt and gravel and plant the submerged plants into it and then lay it in your pond bottom. There are a lot of creative ways to plant these plants from simple to complex. Your imagination is your guide to how you want to use them.
PLANTING BOG PLANTS - Plant these as you would lilies, again making sure that you don't cover the crown of the plant. The bog plants that we sell come in 2" net pots. Care should be taken when removing the plants from these net pots so you don't tear up the root system. Bog plants should only be in water deep enough to cover the pot.
FERTILIZER - Put a fertilizer tab in the pot when you first plant and then again once a month. Some plants like Lilies and Lotus are big eaters and need 2 tabs a month. NEVER put the tabs right next to the root mass as this may burn the roots. Take a stick and push a hole near the side of the pot and drop the tabs in the hole and cover them up.
PLANTING WATER LILIES - Place the tuber at a 45 degree angle, with the non-growing end against the side of the pot and the growing end in the center. Press the soil around the roots being careful not to cover the crown of the plant. Add a layer of gravel over the soil, again being careful not to cover the crown, to prevent koi from rooting them up. Koi by nature are constantly nosing around and are curious. We like to use gravel that is a least ½" in diameter to discourage koi. Start them in shallow water and move them deeper as they grow. Lilies are heavy feeders and should be fertilized once a month after planting. Be careful that the fertilizer is not touching the roots as this will burn them.
PLANTING WATER LOTUS - Float your lotus tuber in pond water for 10-14 days in a warm sunny place (water temp 70-80 degrees) before planting. Change the water frequently. If the water is allowed to get too cold at night this can kill the new growth and the tuber will rot. You can use a heating pad set on the low setting under the pan of water to keep them warm. This allows the tuber to sprout and will increase your success in growing lotus. Don't plant the newly sprouted tuber in a cold pond. Wait until your pond gets up to 65-70 degrees. Once established in your pond they are a hardy plant and will come back year after year in even the coldest of climates when the water warms up. When your lotus is ready to plant, fill up a 5 to 10 gallon or 12” x 12” pot with 6" of topsoil with pea stone at a rate of 75% topsoil 25% pea stone. This will improve aeration in the soil. Place the lotus tuber with the growing tips straight upwards centered in the pot. Gently press the tuber into the mud being very careful not to damage the new growing tips. Add a 1" layer of gravel to cover the tuber and to keep the tuber from floating. Lotus are very heavy feeders, but should not be fertilized until they have put up two or three leaves. After they have set leaves they should be given 1 or 2 tabs of fertilizer per pot. Place it in the pond no more than 8 inches deep of water over the top of the pot. In the fall move the lotus to the deep water. Don't cut all the stems off as they provide oxygen to the root system.