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Correct Planting of Bare Rooted Pond Plants and Water Lilies

Correct Planting of Bare Rooted Pond Plants and Water Lilies

Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of misguided information when it comes to planting bare-rooted pond plants and Water Lilies.

What Are Bare Rooted Pond Plants?

Firstly, the definition of a bare rooted pond plant is a plant that has exposed roots.  A tuber or a rhizome is a plant that is not a pre-potted pot plant, or in the pond world, not pre-potted into an aquatic basket.

Planting Bare Rooted Water Lilies

Bare rooted Water Lilies are sold as bare rooted rhizomes with fresh spring leaf shoots – or with stems, leaves and flowers or buds in the summer.  Newly cut rhizomes should be sold with the old roots trimmed off. Once planted, the rhizome will soon develop circular roots around the rhizome at the base of the shoots/stems.  This root-producing process will only happen when the water in your pond warms up, typically in early spring. Water Lily rhizomes that are planted into cold water can sit dormant for many weeks.

Water Lily rhizomes should always be planted with the tip of the rhizome just under soil level.  Some cultivar rhizomes/tubers are long and very narrow; these types should be planted on a 45 degree angle.   Other cultivars have stocky, fat, smooth edged rhizomes; these are also best planted on a 45 degree angle but can be planted upright.  A few Water Lily rhizomes look like pineapples and Pygmaea Helvola is a good example.  Cultivars with this type of rhizome should be planted upright.

Planting Bare Rooted Pond Plants

When you purchase bare rooted pond plants, you will either receive:

  • plants that have obvious exposed roots, or
  • plants that have tubers or rhizomes with or without exposed roots, or
  • oxygenating plants and submerged pond weeds (more on these in a moment)

Pond plants with exposed roots are very simple to plant up.  Just make sure the exposed roots are planted below soil level but not too deep. In other words, a spring plant with more roots than top growth SHOULD NOT end up with its spring shooting leaves buried under soil.

Pond plants that resemble tuber or rhizomes should be planted just below the soil level on a 45 degree angle. This is of course the same way that most of the Water Lily cultivars are planted.

Planting Oxygenating Plants and Submerged Aquatic Plants

Sold as multiple foliage stems either loose or bunched, many of the submerged plants will produce floating leaves when they mature over the summer months.  They are easy to plant whatever their stage of growth; and some of these under water plants are sold with little or no showing roots. Plant up with one third of the base/cut end (not growing tip end) under soil level.   Submerged plants produce lots of roots and start growing very quickly once the weather warms up.

Please visit our website to see our huge range of over 750 pond plants and water garden ferns and all the pond planting accessories required to bring your pond to life this spring and summer, also on our website you will find over 120 informative articles on all topics of Water Gardening, pond planting, pond plant profiles and pond wildlife.