Marginal aquatics are the plants found growing around the edges (margins) of a water garden. They add valuable filtration to the pond and they remove elements that would otherwise feed algae.
To create a natural-looking pond, a good selection of marginal plants is very important. There are hundreds of varieties – hardy and tropical – that come in all shapes, sizes, textures, and flower colors.
How to Plant MarginalsIn a rock and gravel pond, marginal plants are generally placed directly into the gravel. This allows them to thrive naturally, and filter the water more effectively. Invasive species should be kept in pots that are buried in the rocks and gravel. Well-behaved plants can be taken out of the pots and planted directly in the gravel where the roots can absorb nutrients directly from the substrate of the pond where fish waste and other organic debris settle and begin to decompose.
Choose the area you wish to place the plant, move the gravel aside with your hands, place the plant, and spread the gravel around the base to support the plant and hide the pot. If you’re planting bare-root, remove the plant from the pot and wash away any loose soil before planting. Tropicals that you plan to bring indoors over the winter, should be left in the pots to make removal easier.
Floating AquaticsFloating aquatic plants float on the water surface while their roots hang down into the water. Most are tropical, but a few are hardy perennials in climates with hard winter freezes. These plants may be used to shade the water, helping with summer algae control.
Plants such as hyacinth and water lettuce do a great job of disguising the open top of the BIOFALLS® filter, while providing excellent filtration. Use a stick across the spillway to keep the waterfall from carrying the plants over and into the pond. They can also be floated in the pond, however care must be taken to make sure that they don’t end up in the skimmer.
Submerged Aquatic PlantsSubmerged plants are commonly referred to as oxygenators, but this is a false description. These plants do produce oxygen during the day, but at night and on cloudy days, the cycle is reversed and they use oxygen and produce carbon dioxide. These plants are still important allies in creating a well-balanced water feature by using nutrients in the water. They also provide great hiding places for baby fish.
The Added TouchAquatic plants will add a new dimension to your water feature. If you take the time to learn a little about them and their requirements, you’ll find them easy to install and care for. They come in many forms and sizes, varying widely in their environmental needs. It is highly likely that, for any given situation, you can find several species of aquatic plants to fill the bill. To learn more about aquatic plants, grab a copy of The Hobbyist’s Guide to Pond Plants. Ask your local retailer or pond professional.