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Plants for Koi Ponds

by Elmer Epistola

Posted: September 3, 2004




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Deep Water Aquatics (continuation)


There are many types of lilies - some do better in shallow ponds, while others grow so large that they need relatively large and deep ponds in order to thrive.  The hobbyist must therefore try to get familiarized with the specie he's getting for the pond to ensure success with it.  The most popular lily varieties belong to the genus Nymphaea.  Lilies love sunlight, and should not be placed near falling water or where there are strong currents.


To plant lilies, the following steps have been recommended by some hobbyists:  1) choose a plant that has no flower to help it get acclimatize to its new home more quickly (except when the seller is not sure of the variety you're getting); 2) line up a suitably-sized aquatic planting basket with a fine-mesh sheet before filling it with some loam or aquatic soil; 3) plant the lily in the soil, making sure that the soil around it is firm; 4) top off the soil with a half-inch layer of gravel to discourage the koi from foraging around the base of the lily; 5) lower the basket into the pond about 8 inches below the water surface and have it acclimatize there for about 2 weeks; and 6) move the acclimatized lily to its final position.


Marginal Plants


Marginal plants are those that you usually see around the edge of the pond, often placed on shelves several inches below the water line.  Aside from helping in the biological filtration by consuming nitrates and toxins in the pond water, marginal plants provide the following benefits: 1) control of wildlife traffic in and out of the pond; 2) concealment of flaws in the pond and its features; and 3) improvement in the aesthetics of the pond.  Marginal plants include the reeds, the rushes, and the irises. 


As usual, marginal plants must be secured in aquatic planters or baskets before being laid down on the pond shelves. It is not advisable to mix several kinds of marginals in one basket since they tend to compete with each other.



Figure 3.  Irises are popular

marginal plants



Floating Plants


Floating plants, as the name implies, are plants that float on the water surface.  Floating plants are not considered to be as important as the first three plant categories.  The only use for them is to complement the lilies in providing cover for the pond, especially if the latter is still in the process of getting acclimatized to the pond.  Of course, floating ponds also consume nutrients in the water, helping get rid of algae in the water as they do so.



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