Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pond Potting Soil Loam and Containers

What do I use to plant
pond plants?
It's a toss up between using baskets or no-holes containers. Baskets are great, because they allow the water and fish nutrients to flow through and reach the roots. However, it can work so well that the roots will grow straight through the the basket mesh. I choose to plant with no holes containers, because it offers more control.

The best pond plant soil mix is not found in stores.

Mix together:
1 part Decomposed Granite
1 part Steer Manure Blend

Where to purchase the mix...

Decomposed Granite (or DG) can be purchased at a sand and gravel yard. Most locations will deliver right to your home or business. Heavy soil is necessary for root structure, growth, and for a clean pond. Light and fluffy potting soil will not work, because particles will float to the water surface.

If you do not have deomposed granite available, a good substitute is a heavy rocky soil... such as top soil mixed with small pea gravel or aquarium gravel. Heavy clay soil mixed with small gravel will also work. Plain clean kitty litter (not the type intended for oil spils and with no purfumes or fillers) mixes well with the soil and is a good substitute for pea gravel. The ingredients can be purchased at any large hardware garden nursery center.

Steer Manure Blend can be purchased at any garden center such as Lowe's or Home Depot. You can purchase prepackaged pond plant soil, but it is light weight and is the consistency of kitty litter. Light weight soil also spills easily and will not hold down plants such as water lily.

Which fertilizer is best?

Buy cheap pond plant fertilizer and you will achieve cheap results. I use a commercial grade 13-13-13. For the home I recommend Highland Rim or Laguna pond plant fertilizer. Fertilizer can be tricky. Too little and the plants will not bloom as much as desired. Too much and the plants will expel what they do not use into the water. The result will be algae that spreads across the pond within one week. However, there are algaecides that are safe for fish and plants and will counteract this problem. Water hyacinth will also help (but not cure) a severe algae attack.

How to add fertilizer:

1. Apply fertilizer apply at the bottom of the container
2. Add soil
3. Add the pond plant
4. Then and then the remaining soil

Fertilizer helpful tips: The best time to fertilize is in early spring; such as March or April. If you are using a container with holes, line the bottom of the container with newspaper to prevent soil and fertilizer from spilling out. By the time the paper decomposes, the fertilizer and soil will swell and remain in the container. Be sure the tender roots do not touch the fertilizer. Never add fertilizer straight in the water. This is a recipe for disaster and will create a huge green sludgy bog. Also, only use fertilizer designed for pond plants. Other fertilizers will not be as effective and are prone to harm both fish and plants.

Find out more about pond plants and where to buy big and healthy plants at

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