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.

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Your comments below are always welcome!


Marvin said...

Great article! Very informative. You certainly know your stuff! Do you have any recommendations for some good quick and easy projects for my daughter's girl scout troop? She's 6, so the attention span is kinda short.
Thanks again!

Samual said...

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harley said...

If we want a pool to save the ornamental fish or because the voice of running water and a water garden in the shade is fine, but if one of the main reasons we have a pond is to be able to grow all of those water lilies glorious babes and other plantsand then we want one as much as possible .

Pond Kits

kelly wilsher said...

Hi im after some help I was walking home with a friend and some kids had pulled out some reeds from the rein the big long ones with brown things on the end ive brought them home and put them in a plant pot cos I dont want them to die on the side of the road but I dont have a pond so they will have to stay in the pots will they still die in the pots or if I keep them very well watered will they survive thanks for your help