Potted Versus Bare-Rooted Pond Plants

Potted Versus Bare-Rooted Pond Plants

Posted on Jul 26th 2021
Author: Bill Hoffman

A water garden is not complete without aquatic plants. In fact, they play an essential role in keeping your pond water clean, clear and healthy! Some plants are used for shading and keeping the water temperatures cooler, some are used for filtering nutrients out of the water to help keep algae at bay, and all of them help to establish a thriving eco-system.

There are many textures, heights and colors that can be used to decorate the pond’s surface and soften the edges. But the question comes down to when should your pond plants be kept in pots and when should they be bare-rooted.


Let their Roots Show

Plants that are bare-rooted will take their nutrients straight from the water around them. This helps filter the pond water, keeping it clear, and greatly reducing the chances for a green water algae bloom.

Submersible plants, like Hornwort, will be “bare-rooted” once they have been bundled with a lead weight and tossed into the bottom.

Floating plants like Water Hyacinth and Water Lettuce will let their roots dangle underneath them as they float on the surface of the pond - or in your falls box.

Other bare-rooted plants, like some marginals, should be placed in a bog filter, and may be placed along the edges of the pond, tucked into stone for a natural look.

Although it may seem the more filtration the better, not all aquatic plants should be taken out of their pots.


Keep them in Their Pots

Water lilies are probably the biggest culprit. They will grow in every direction until they run out of room, and then they will grow on top of each other. The best way to keep them under control is to keep them potted. Since they are planted in aquatic soil, they will need to be fertilized in order to get big beautiful blooms. Learn more about fertilizing your water lilies here.

Much like a water lily, a lotus also needs to stay potted. A lotus grows along the inside edge of whichever container it is planted in. It is best to keep it in a round pot so that the growing tip does not get stuck in a corner and break itself off; which could kill the plant.

Some marginals are highly recommended to keep in pots because of their aggressive growing nature. Others need to be root bound (super crowded in a pot) before they will bloom. Check this list for which plants we strongly urge you to keep potted:

  • Cat tails (mini or graceful)
  • Houttuynia (Chameleon Plant)
  • Corkscrew Rush
  • Rain Lily
  • Water Willow
  • Ruellia
  • Lizard Tail
  • Ribbon Grass
  • Water Celery
  • Water Clover

  • Regardless of how they are planted, your water plants will be both functional and beautiful in your pond. You can find related topics in our blog library; or follow the links below.


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