How to plant pond plants

Mid-spring through to early summer is the best time to purchase new plants. This is a good time to plant, as the water is warming up and plants should establish well.

Before you begin to plant, you will need the following:.

Aquatic Baskets: In smaller ponds, aquatic plants benefit from being grown in containers as this helps prevent them becoming too large and invasive. Proprietary containers (aquatic baskets) usually have lattice sides to allow water, air and other gas movement. Unless they have a very fine mesh, they should be lined with hessian to prevent soil washing out from the container.

Soil: Compost suitable for planting aquatic plants should be a medium to heavy loam. Proprietary aquatic compost should be used (this may contain a slow-release fertiliser that won’t seep out into the water).

How to plant:

  • Choose an appropriate basket for the size of the plant
  • For stability, particularly for taller plants, large rocks and stones may need to be placed in the base of containers
  • Part-fill the container with aquatic compost
  • Plants should be planted to the same depth as in the original container. Firm plants in well, at this point add an aquatic fertiliser tablet
  • Apply a thin layer of grit or fine gravel to prevent fish from stirring up the soil

Deep Water Plants

These can be bought as container-grown or bare-rooted plants. Container-grown plants may need potting into larger containers. Bare-rooted plants should have old roots and large leaves removed before planting. Newly planted containers may need to be raised on bricks so the plants are not too deep and any leaves that float on the surface are not submerged. They are then lowered in stages as their leaves reach the surface, until the appropriate depth is reached.

Floating Plants

Introduce floating aquatics to the pool by placing them gently on the water’s surface. Clumps may need separating first. 2 plants per square metre of surface area should be sufficient. Avoid invasive floating plants such as duck weed, although this is no longer allowed to be purchased in the UK


Marginals are grown on the inside edge of the pond, or in a bog garden. If bought in plastic pots or small baskets, replant into aquatic baskets. When planting bare-rooted plants in summer, trim back the tops by half and trim the roots back to within 2.5cm (1in) of the crown.

Oxygenating Plants

Oxygenating plants can be purchased in bunches and are planted into baskets. They will need anchoring firmly in place. Approximately four to five bunches, each containing three to four stems, per square metre of water surface should be sufficient. As these plants respire at night, too many can lead to a lack of oxygen at night during the summer causing fish to die. Avoid invasive species such as Myriophyllum aquaticum (parrot’s feather).