Are my garden pond plans satisfactory?

Joshaeus

Water hawthorn, Aponogeton Distachyos
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Hi everyone! I did not have a water garden this year, but I am going to have one next year :) I need some advice to ensure that it succeeds (which, in this case, is defined by the water lily blooming). Here was my plan;
1 - in April, I will purchase a hardy water lily and start it in an aquarium.
2 - at about the same time, I will get a 40 gallon rubber water trough (about 40"*27"*13"H), fill the bottom inch and a half with a pond soil mixture (1/3rd topsoil, 1/3rd clay, 1/3rd sand), fill that with water, and add hornwort.
3 - in May, when frosts have become rare, I will plant the water lily in the soil layer and give it a fertilizer tab or two. Each month it will get two fertilizer tabs.
4 - come fall the water lily will be trimmed, placed in a plastic bag with some water, and stored in a fridge until next April, when the process would start all over again.
Any changes I should make to this? And is there any way that I could reasonably incorporate a tropical water lily up here in zone 5? Thanks :)
 
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mrsclem

mrsclem
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Joshaeus- If you are planning on purchasing a hardy water lily, I would wait till you are close to last frost date. A water lily doesn't fit in an aquarium very well. The stock tank idea is good but save yourself some time and $$$ and use pure clay kitty litter. Non-clumping, unscented. Walmart special kitty- red bag. No need to pull a hardy lily in the fall-Hardy! If the container will freeze solid, then you would need to move the lily inside. Tropicals are another story, I have tried several times to overwinter mine and have had no real success.
 
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You're a planner I see! I think your plan sounds fine. Like @mrsclem , I'd skip the pond soil mix and just use kitty litter. And I'm not so sure about your plan to store the lily in your fridge. What zone are you? Could you just move the whole thing into a protected space like a garage or enclosed porch? As long as the container doesn't freeze solid, your lily would be fine. Here in zone 5B, I have kept large containers with water and lotus tubers in my garage successfully over winter and it gets cold here! We just wrapped the container in a few layers of bubble wrap and an old blanket and it was fine.

Also be careful about what type of lily you choose. Some varieties want to spread their pads 6 or 8 feet. You'll want a dwarf variety that fits in your small container. Otherwise it will look like you've just crammed a too big plant in a too small space.
 

Joshaeus

Water hawthorn, Aponogeton Distachyos
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Thanks! I wasn't going to use an actual pond mix...I was going to use an equal mix of sand, top soil, and clay kitty litter. Sadly, I lack such a protected space...honestly I am leaning towards trying out water snowflakes, which would be much cheaper to replace than a water lily if overwintering them does not work out. Would aponogeton distachyos (water hawthorn) work for early spring/late fall interest?
 
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Not sure if you have a pond. If you do and it's deep enough where the bottom doesn't freeze solid, just trim the branches and sink any plants you wish to winter over. They have to be hardy, no tropicals.
 
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Joshaeus

Water hawthorn, Aponogeton Distachyos
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It is an above ground container...it will freeze solid up here, alas :(
 
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