no luck with plants


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second year and plants are even more sparse than the previous except for flag irises
Even the bog bean and parrot feathers are just a few. I have about 20 pots and use jobe fertilizer. This year more than half did not come back. All the lotuses died and the lilies are stunted. The water depth is about 2-3 feet where the pots are, is that too deep?
 
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2-3 feet is not too deep for lilies. This last winter was hard for a lot of pond owners. How often are you fertilizing and how much? Are you using any salt in your pond? My bog bean died out, lotus needs to be established going in to winter. Young plants don't usually survive bad weather.
 

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My bog bean is growing like crazy, parrots feather coming back that should have died. I bought some that said they would not survive winter and they did.

But most likely most of my plants survived because they are all established plants. The Parrots feather was new, I was surprised to see it come back.
 
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Getting plants established is the hardest part of a new pond, I think. @qclabrat - the turning point for me was when I ditched the pots and planted directly in the pond. Everything except my waterlilies are now naturalized in the pond and come back year after year. No fertilizer needed. Plants in pots never came back for me - and they were a big pain in the you know what to deal with in the fall and spring. Everyone says "lower them to the bottom of the pond". I looked at all the pots I had and wondered "where will the fish stay all winter?" That's when I figured out how to plant directly in the pond and I'd never go back to pots again - unless it was an annual that I planned to keep only one year.
 
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Getting plants established is the hardest part of a new pond, I think. @qclabrat - the turning point for me was when I ditched the pots and planted directly in the pond. Everything except my waterlilies are now naturalized in the pond and come back year after year. No fertilizer needed. Plants in pots never came back for me - and they were a big pain in the you know what to deal with in the fall and spring. Everyone says "lower them to the bottom of the pond". I looked at all the pots I had and wondered "where will the fish stay all winter?" That's when I figured out how to plant directly in the pond and I'd never go back to pots again - unless it was an annual that I planned to keep only one year.
Addy, I have pickerel rush in pots on a shelf and am wondering how I can naturalize them and ditch the pots.
 
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That was me @MajorDan - I used lots of different methods, depending on the plant and the depth of the shelf. This was lots of experimenting to see what worked. Here are a few things that worked for me:

1. Add enough gravel to the shelf to plant the plant directly in the gravel. Super simple and works great on shallow shelves.
2. If the gravel won't stay in place or you have an extra deep shelf, i would use two or three small-ish rocks to form a "bowl" that would contain the gravel and plant in that. Kind of a natural pot. Eventually the plant will settle in and you can remove the extra rocks or just leave them - you probably won't even see them anymore.
3. I had some plants in those cloth bags they sell for aquatic plants. The plants got so big they literally burst out of the bag. I cut the whole root ball in half, forming two half circles and popped them on the shelf, with the flat sides up against the side of the pond. I left the remains of the cloth bag in place but I could have pulled it off, too. I used a few rocks to prop up and stabilize the whole thing. You could do the same thing with anything has a solid root ball in a pot - just cut the pot off and drop it on the shelf. Keep it intact or cut it in half like I did to fit the shelf. Once again, rocks are your friend when it comes to planting in the pond.
4. I planted some things between the rocks on the edge of the pond with the roots in the water. I'd just cram them in there so they would stay put or, again, use some rocks on the pond side to keep them in place until they start to grow. Once they've settled in, I dare you to try to get them out! (That's kind of a real warning... watch your plants as they grow so they don't take over your pond.) I started some really teeny plants this way and they are now full and beautiful. They will spread from their original location so make sure you are happy with where you put them. I've had to remove a few of my naturalized plants and it ain't easy! My plants also reseed themselves around the pond and yard - so watch those little things that sprout up and make sure you really want that particular plant in that location!

We focused on keeping the taller plants at the edges of the pond where we didn't care to see past them. Any edges where we want to have a view of the pond we kept to only low growing plants.

It's so fun to see the plants return year after year. My first few years I spent a fortune replacing things that died or disappeared over winter. Now I rarely buy a pond plant. Even my little patio pond gets planted with things I pluck from the big pond and bog in the spring.

Hope this helps!
 
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That was me @MajorDan - I used lots of different methods, depending on the plant and the depth of the shelf. This was lots of experimenting to see what worked. Here are a few things that worked for me:

1. Add enough gravel to the shelf to plant the plant directly in the gravel. Super simple and works great on shallow shelves.
2. If the gravel won't stay in place or you have an extra deep shelf, i would use two or three small-ish rocks to form a "bowl" that would contain the gravel and plant in that. Kind of a natural pot. Eventually the plant will settle in and you can remove the extra rocks or just leave them - you probably won't even see them anymore.
3. I had some plants in those cloth bags they sell for aquatic plants. The plants got so big they literally burst out of the bag. I cut the whole root ball in half, forming two half circles and popped them on the shelf, with the flat sides up against the side of the pond. I left the remains of the cloth bag in place but I could have pulled it off, too. I used a few rocks to prop up and stabilize the whole thing. You could do the same thing with anything has a solid root ball in a pot - just cut the pot off and drop it on the shelf. Keep it intact or cut it in half like I did to fit the shelf. Once again, rocks are your friend when it comes to planting in the pond.
4. I planted some things between the rocks on the edge of the pond with the roots in the water. I'd just cram them in there so they would stay put or, again, use some rocks on the pond side to keep them in place until they start to grow. Once they've settled in, I dare you to try to get them out! (That's kind of a real warning... watch your plants as they grow so they don't take over your pond.) I started some really teeny plants this way and they are now full and beautiful. They will spread from their original location so make sure you are happy with where you put them. I've had to remove a few of my naturalized plants and it ain't easy! My plants also reseed themselves around the pond and yard - so watch those little things that sprout up and make sure you really want that particular plant in that location!

We focused on keeping the taller plants at the edges of the pond where we didn't care to see past them. Any edges where we want to have a view of the pond we kept to only low growing plants.

It's so fun to see the plants return year after year. My first few years I spent a fortune replacing things that died or disappeared over winter. Now I rarely buy a pond plant. Even my little patio pond gets planted with things I pluck from the big pond and bog in the spring.

Hope this helps!
Thanks so much for some great advice. I made some concrete rocks that form a semicircle that will be great for holding gravel and plant on a shelf. Only will hold about 2” of gravel though. Will that be enough for pickerel rush? That would put the crown of the rushes pretty deep, about 14” or so.
 
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I'm in the 6a zone, what are some plants to recommend. Seems like the only hardy plants are my lilies
 
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Also looking for reliable online retailers for plants. Don't seem to have many offers on CL and local ponds shops are so expensive...
 
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Thanks so much for some great advice. I made some concrete rocks that form a semicircle that will be great for holding gravel and plant on a shelf. Only will hold about 2” of gravel though. Will that be enough for pickerel rush? That would put the crown of the rushes pretty deep, about 14” or so.
Uncured concrete could alter your water parameters but a small amount of concrete is probably ok. Concrete leaches. I would either coat it with pond safe paint or better yet, let it cure for a couple of weeks.
 
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Fresh concrete can leach lime. This is a first hand story: In the early 1980's my boss was building a new house and I convinced him to put an indoor pond in his living room. He was a fish keeper and I 'assumed' he would cure it or coat it with a sealer before adding fish. The pond was concrete about 550-gallons not counting the falls. He added a couple of small fish and they died very quickly. A pH test showed alkalinity off the scale. Refilling, waiting and draining (doing so several times over a month) helped. Ultimately, the pH readings were acceptable but the damage was done. The pond had go. His wife always looked at me with one eye closed after that! I changed jobs soon after. In my opinion, fresh concrete is not good but over time, it cures and is fine to use. You might soak your concrete in a container first and test the water after a day or so and see if there are any pH changes. Besides, a small amount in your pond probably won't make any difference but it doesn't hurt to check. To present both sides of the story, here is a link disputing my above experience although the concrete blocks this person used were certainly not new:http://www.waterbugdesign.com/pond/myths/cement.html
 
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Yep, you need to cure new concrete in a tub of water. This also produces harder concrete. So if your pond has a high PH, concrete provides a buffer to PH swings from rain. Not an expert on this but it serves the same purpose as putting a bag of crushed oyster shells in your filter.
 

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