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FAQ's....practical information from those who actually grow pond plants.
As Australia's largest wholesale producer of waterlilies and other pond plants, we are recognised as the main source of information, that people look to for guidance. At Oz Watergardens, we believe that it is important to provide practical information to help people make the best decisions.
How to grow water lilies and the keys to a successful pond, are just some of the topics included in our FAQ's section.
Growing water lilies and other pond plants is not difficult....Learn from Australia's largest water lily grower.
FAQ's helps us to provide you with a reliable source of information based on our experience.
How deep can I place my water lilies and other water plants?
Oz Watergardens have developed an easy to use guide for plant selection, by grouping plants according to their optimum water levels (pond planting zones).
For more info…. go to our Zone Map page.
Just click on the area of the Zone Map image to help choose the plants that are recommended for that area or depth of your pond.
Will I kill my water lilies if I place them too deep?
Submerged aquatic plants such as water lilies are self adjusting to the water depth. Most pond plants, produced by Oz Watergardens, have been grown in shallow water in order to make it easier to transport to your nursery or garden centre. However, if the pond is deeper & all the leaves are below the water surface, either put bricks under the pot to raise the plant, or leave as is & the plant will produce new leaves which will grow up to the water surface. The old leaves will however die off, but this will not harm the plant.
How deep does my pond have to be?
This depends on the size of your pond, the space available, whether you wish to keep fish and also what the local government regulations are in your area. Ideally a pond should be at least 45cm deep. This will allow a better selection of plants to be grown and will help to achieve a more ecologically balanced pond environment. The deeper the pond the more stable the pond environment.
Just a little word of caution. Always make sure that you know what is under the ground before you dig. The last thing you want to be doing is repairing broken underground services like water, sewage and electricity.
What are the best ways to control algae?
Algae is not only a normal part of any pond but also a beneficial one. It is a food source for many aquatic animals, including tadpoles, however it can also be the curse of nearly all pond owners. Algae can be controlled via Biological, Mechanical or Chemical measures. However, understanding what causes algae to grow, minimising the risks through good pond design and achieving a balanced healthy pond are the best ways to prevent algae problems ….to learn more go to our page on Algae.
What is the best way to feed my water lilies and other pond plants?
Whether you are growing water lilies or other pond plants, we recommend that you fertilise all waterplants, by removing potted plant from pond, creating a hole in the soil and pushing in one Oz Watergardens Pond Plant Fertiliser Tablet into the hole, for a 14cm pot, or two tablets for a larger 20cm pot. Cover over the tablet with the soil so that you are only feeding the plants roots and not the algae. Then slowly lower plant back into the pond.
To learn more about how these slow release fertiliser tablets improve the success of growing water lilies, check out our fertiliser page….
Why are my water lilies yellowing and dying near my fountain?
Waterlilies and other pond plants, with leaves that float on the pond surface, can only breathe from the upper surface of their leaves. Water splashing continuously from fountains or waterfalls can suffocate the leaves and may cause them to yellow and die.
My pond water looks brown, like tea. Is this OK?
A healthy pond has a weak tea colour. This is normal due to organic materials such as leaves falling into the pond. Excess leaves should be removed. If it is a real concern, then activated carbon can be added to the pond to help soak up the organic tea colour.
Do I need oxygenating plants in my pond?
Oxygenating plants are a bit of a myth. They do provide some oxygen in daylight when they photosynthesize, but at night they use some of the oxygen as they respire. The real benefit, from these types of submerged plants, is that they are usually vigorous growers and help to absorb the excess nutrients in the water, hence compete against the algae and improve water clarity. To learn more about these plants just follow the links….
How much sunlight do I need for growing water lilies and other pond plants?
Most aquatic plants prefer full sun. Waterlilies, for example, need 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight in order to flower well. This is not reflected light or just daylight through a window, but direct sunlight. This can lead to problems for pond plants in shadier situations, so we have developed a list of plants that can tolerate these shadier conditions. Check out our Shady Ponds page for more info and a list of plants that will tolerate some shade....
How do I look after my new pond?
All new ponds take time to stabilise. The aim is to achieve a natural ecological balance in your pond. In a balanced pond, fish waste and dead vegetation are consumed by bacteria, snails and other organisms. They convert the waste into nutrients, that the plants can then use as food to grow on and so complete the cycle again. This cycle depends upon stocking your pond with the right amount of fish, plants, good quality water, good depth in the pond and sunlight for the plants. Ideally, any changes or additions to the pond should be done slowly or a little at a time.
To learn more about pond maintenance or achieving a healthy pond, just follow the links to these pages.
How can a stream improve my pond health and reduce algae?
Running water improves pond aeration and helps to improve the water health for most pond life, however it has little significant affect on algae. Gravel and plants in a natural stream, helps create an environment where natural bacteria and the plants act as a biological filter. A submersible pond pump draws water from the bottom of the pond. This water is low in oxygen, but is also nutrient rich, due to the settling of organic materials in the bottom to the pond. The submersible pond pump is therefore able transfer the water to a stream, where it passes over rocks and gravel and is oxygenated as it splashes back towards the pond. The plants and natural bacteria are fed a supply of nutrient rich water and help consume some of the nutrients that would otherwise be available for algae.
How many fish can I have in my pond?
Most ponds should have at least one fish to control the mosquito larvae. However, overstocking the pond can lead to health problems for the fish. Fish waste (faeces) contains ammonia and in a confined space, with too many fish, this can build up to toxic levels.
As a rule of thumb some fish breeders recommend using no more than 25cm of fish per square metre of pond. This is a simple guide where you would estimate the length of your fish placed nose to tail (eg. you could have 2 fish that are about 12.5cm long or 5 fish that are 5cm long) to give you a rough estimate as to how many fish you can stock per square metre of pond. After the pond has established a healthy balance, you may wish to add more, but remember that fish grow.
How much should I feed my fish?
If you only have a few fish, you shouldn't need to feed at all. Most fish will survive on the insects and plant life in the pond. If you have larger numbers or wish to encourage your fish to come to the surface for your enjoyment, then only feed fish, what they can eat within a few minutes. Excess or uneaten food sinks to the bottom of the pond, where it rots and feeds more algae.
Why should I re-pot my water lilies and other water plants?
Pond plants are just the same as any other plant, in that they have similar needs. Any plant that is growing in a container that is too small or overgrown is restricted in their growth, which reduces new growth and their ability to flower. Overgrown pond plants can easily be divided to produce more plants. Old growth can be cut away and the healthiest plants may be kept to produce the best show.
We have trialled many products and discovered the benefits that our Oz Watergardens Aquatic Planting Mix has in improving the properties of any aquatic soil and the results are healthy strong water plants.
How often do I need to maintain or clean out my pond?
No pond is totally maintenance free. If you have a well designed pond with a low maintenance filtration system you may only need 10 to 15 minutes, once or twice a month. Ideally a full pond clean should be done as infrequently as possible. Full clean outs mean that you need to start all over again and it takes time to establish a natural ecological balance in the pond. Partial water changes, of about 10%, can help to freshen things up and gives an opportunity to siphon out some of the pond debris.
Just follow the link to learn more about Pond maintenance.
1. To learn more about dividing, repotting, feeding and the seasonal maintenance of water plants, check out our Plant Care pages.