Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to Grow Pond Plants in the Shade

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Pond plants typically grow best in full sun, but what do you do when you have a pond in a shady area?
There are many plants you can grow in a shaded pond, but if you are looking for flowering plants your options are limited. There are a few things to consider before chosing your plants...

Shaded Ponds
A good rule for any pond in limited light is choose plants that are cold climate hardy for zones 3-6. Plants that are hardy for colder climates do better in complete shade. You can grow water lily and water iris in the shade, but they may not bloom.
Plants that grow well in shaded ponds:
Cattail, Rush, and Reeds
Red Stem Parrot Feather

Water Clover
Water Hawthorne (picture above)

Partial Sun Ponds
I have a very successful pond located in filter light under an apple tree. The same "complete shade" rule applies for filtered light ponds. Choose plants that are zoned for cold climates 3-6. Depending on how much sun your filtered light pond receives, you might be able to grow blooming pond plants.
The plants in my partial light pond grow very tall, because they are stretching up toward the light. This made for some very unusual water hyacinth this year, that looked more like pickerel rush. It is also important to remember to add a professional grade fertilizer, such as Highland Rim; which promotes healthy growth and flowers too. I have used several different kinds of fertilizer and found this is the absolute best to use.

Plants in My Partial-Sun Pond:

Water Lotus - Water Poppy
- Water Hyacinth
Primrose Creeper - Water Mint - Pennywort

Fairy Moss - Pickerel Rush

Red Stem Parrot Feather (left)

Morning Light Ponds
Pond that only receive morning light will probably not produce flowers. Most pond plants require 4-6 hours of sunshine per day in order to produce flowers. If you want to grow water lily, a good choice would be the night blooming tropical water lily. You can grow water hyacinth and water lettuce in morning light ponds in the summer season.

Morning Light Pond Plants

Frogbit (picture above)

Red Stem Parrot Feather

Grasses, Rush, and Reeds


Water Mint

Fairy Moss

.More Partial Sund Pond Plants: For a complete list of partial sun plants with pictures available see: Cold Climate Plants zones 3-6. Some plants are available all season long (such as pennywort and water lettuce). Others are available starting every February and March.

Contact Me for more information at:

Your comments below are always welcome!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

How to Start Parrot Feather Indoors

Parrot Feather is a wonderful fern-like pond plant that resembles a parrot's feather. It grows long stems that can reach 2-3 feet long. This is a cold climate pond plant, growing zone 6. Parrot feather can be planted in a shallow bog in-soil or can free float. After establishing, it will resemble a tiny forest in your pond. It is a perfect container pond plant and looks lovely in bathtub ponds too.
Starting Indoors

What You Need

1. An aquarium with fresh water.
A pump and filter is not needed.

2. Goldfish, Guppies, or Minnows.
Do not add any fertilizer or other chemicals. The fish will act as natural fertilizer for the plants!

3. A sunny window

4. A florescent light or Aquarium Light

Parrot Feather is simple to start and propagate indoors. This aquarium is actually filled with baby water lotus, floating frogbit, and parrot feather too.

Other plants you can start this way are primrose creeper and frogbit!

. . .
1. Place aquarium in a sunny window. Fill with fresh water and at least 2 fish. Do not add too many fish as they will compete for food and may eat your plants!

2. Peal the leaves off the parrot feather. This will promote new growth and roots. But, do not peal back the parrot palm on the top.
3. Break the parrot feather stems into 4" sections. Allow the stems to float. The palm-top stem will grow new roots, and the other stems will grow new roots too.

4. Hang a florescent light directly over the aquarium close to the plants. Light each day for at least 4-8 hours per day.

.....After 1 Week: You should begin to see new roots appear.

.....After 10 Days: You should see new growth appear!

A Great Head-Start on Spring
While everyone else is scrambling for a beautiful pond in the springtime, yours will be all ready to go! Other plants you can propagate indoors are: water lotus, frogbit, water lettuce, and water hyacinth too.

Find out more about wintering over ponds and pond plants at:

Monday, December 6, 2010

How to Move Pond Fish

What a great topic! This was inspired by my Facebook friend, Anja.

Moving to a new home is always a huge chore and is especially challenging when you own large fish. This is how I moved my koi from Northern California to Southern California... about a 7 hour trip:

.What You Need

1. A 30 gallon clean rubbermaid tub with lid

2. Stress Coat

3. Water

4. An aquarium bubbler with air hose (aquarium pump)

5. A 50 watt or 100 watt power inverter

6. A large fishing net and extra help!

1. Placed the fish in a clean 30 gallon Rubbermaid tub filled with water. A clean ice chest will also work. Make sure no chemcials were used to store in the container or used to clean the container.

2. Add stress coat drops. This can be purchased from any pet or fish store.

3. Set up an aquarium bubbler with an air hose to add oxygen to th
e water. Make sure the air hose is secure and the hose remains submerged in the water. Check the line every few hours to make sure the air hose does not slip out of the water.

4. Cover container with the fitted Rubbermaid lid.

5. Plug a power inverter into the car cigarette lighter and plug in the electric bubbler. I purchased my converter from Radio Shack.

6. When you drive, be careful of bumps and turns... drive carefully and your fish should do just fine!

Just a Note: Koi are very strong creatures. If you are moving large koi you will need a large fishing net and at least 2 people to move the fish. They will struggle and fight as you transfer them over to the container and then back again to their new home. Between me and my husband, it was a BIG task trying to move Champlain the Koi.
Find more cool pond articles and how-to tips on my website:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brian's Tahoe Greenhouse

This is my friend, Brian, in South Lake Tahoe, Northern California. Tahoe is located at 6,200 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Zone 6-7. Temperatures in the summertime can get down to 32 degrees! And, it is known to snow in Tahoe any month of the year. But this doesn't stop Brian. His tomato plants now grow strong inside his greenhouse. The inside is heated with Christmas tree lights. The frame is constructed with branches from local area trees. The siding is 6 mil thick clear visqueen plastic; which is stiff plastic sheeting used to insulate windows. One side of his greenhouse is on hinges that open like a door. This is certainly an attractive greenhouse, Brian!

Growing in Subfreezing Temperatures:

You can grow a water garden even if your climate zone experiences subfreezing winter temperatures; such as 10°-20° Fahrenheit, zones 3-7. The growing season can be short and in some areas is only 2-3 months out of each year. Shopping for plants can be frustrating. "Will these plants grow in my area?" is often asked. The answer is as simple as looking up your growing zone number. Zones 4-8 typically receive snow and long freezing winters. Zones 9-10 are mild and rarely receive severe cold weather. Make sure you purchase the right plants for your local area. Check your zone number and then check the growing zone listed on the plant you wish to purchase. ((read more))