Autumn has arrived and the growing season is slowly winding down but there is plenty for the water gardener to get on with.
As the weather turns colder your pond plants will need to be overwintered if you want to keep them alive through the winter months and ready to spring into life the following year.
Hardy water lilies and lotus can be left in the water as long as you have a deep enough pond were their roots will not freeze solid. Remove them from your pond and trim back the foliage to about 1 or 2 inches above the root ball then just sink them to the bottom of your pond for the duration of the winter. Hardy plants go dormant in the winter and will reappear in the spring.
If you don’t have a deep pond then remove them and take them indoors to store them while they are dormant.
When spring arrives the greenery will appear from the crown of the plant and you can raise them up from the bottom of your pond and place them on a shelf for the warmer months.
Marginal and bog plants can be pruned back when the stems and leaves begin to die off, leave about 2″ of the plant above the soil. If they are planted in containers they can be sunk to deeper parts of the pond but if they are planted straight into the ground they can be left where they are for the winter.
Any dead or decaying plant material should be removed to stop it finding its way into your pond which could cause water problems. Certain plants like cattails can be left alone to give some interest through the winter.
Non Hardy Plants.
Tropical plant and non hardy plants such as water lilies, water lettuce and water hyacinth prefer warmer temperature and should be treated as annuals. Remove them, put them on the compost heap and buy new next year unless you really want to try and save them.
If you want to keep these plants and overwinter them you need to remove them from your pond and take them indoors to protect them for the winter.
The plants should be kept in a large bucket of warm water or better still an aquarium and kept warm throughout the winter, a heated greenhouse or sunroom would be ideal.
If you have tropical water lilies you will have to take a bit more care with them if you want them to survive, once you remove the plant from your pond remove dead foliage and rinse the plant. The tubers must be kept moist in distilled water and the plants should be placed under a grow lamp until spring arrives.
Unfortunately even if you care for your tropical plants by overwintering them as above they might not survive the winter.
Plants such as water lettuce and water hyacinth should be treated as annuals they will die over winter and need to be removed when they begin to go yellow and replaced every year, they are inexpensive to buy and wail quickly grow once added to your pond.
You could try and overwinter them if you really want to. Remove them before the first frost and place them in a deep tray of water, then place them were its warm and they get a lot of light. At the end of the day you have nothing to lose by trying this method.
All you need to do with submerged plants is to give them a trim to get rid of dead and decaying foliage and submerge them in the deepest part of your pond.