In shallow or deeper water, bog plants give vertical accent to the water garden. These aquatic plants vary widely in leaf size, texture and form as well as height. On the edge of the pond they can be used to hide liner, tubing or a power cord. When planted in deep water in large containers, they provide a dramatic show in the middle of the pond. Mainly, this group of plants is to accent a water garden with seasonal flower color or all season foliage accents. Proper care and maintenance will keep the plants vigorous and healthy. Most of these plants are perennials that continue growing year after year if attention is given to fertilization and repotting as needed.
Plant in as large a container as possible to allow the bog plants plenty of room to spread and bloom freely. Some plants have spreading root systems that need adequate surface area but not much soil depth. Others have a dense clumping habit that may require less surface area. When placing a potted plant on a shelf maintain the required planting depth by raising or lowering the pot as needed.
General Care Instructions
New growth will begin very quickly if planted properly. The leaves that were shipped will often die soon after planting and will be replaced by new foliage. Protect from sun if necessary for a day or two with a layer of lightweight cloth. Once growth is underway; the plants require normal maintenance like any other perennial.
Pruning & Deadheading
For the best appearance, as leaves and flowers begin to turn yellow or brown, they should be removed completely. Cut or pinch them off and discard. With floating leaf plants follow the stem to the soil level then pinch. This encourages new growth of flower.
End of Season Care
As the fall season winds down, the leaves die off at a faster rate than they are being produced. Consequently, leaves are being removed for maintenance faster than new ones grow. The plants will slowly become thinner with less foliage until there is none left. Sometimes it is preferable to leave some dying leaves to dry for winter texture and foliage effect.
Bog Plant Shelf for Direct Planting
During construction of the pond, minimize the use of shelves for potted plants and build instead planting pockets for bog plants right in the edge of the pond. Size of the planting areas can vary greatly, from a tiny sliver of space to large planting zones.
Good quality soil is needed to establish high quality plants. The use of subsoil, sand or gravel in place of topsoil will diminish growth and make the plants susceptible to damage by aggressive or large fish. Soil from a flower bed, vegetable garden or lawn makes the best potting media. Sift out organic
components that may float to the surface of the pond.
While a good soil is important, fertilization using tablets will ensure flowering and healthy growth. Without fertilizer, weak growth results in disappointing plant performance.
Planting the Bog Plants
Fill the pot loosely with soil, place the appropriate fertilizer tablets into the bottom half of the soil and cover them over. Place the roots near the surface of the soil then add a small amount of soil to pack around them. Gently compress the soil into place to anchor the plant. Leave about a half an inch of space at the top to add a layer of small gravel to keep the fish out and the soil in. For ponds with large fish, use larger stones or a Plant Protector. Take care not to cover any growth tips with stones as this will hinder growth.
Refer to the depth requirement for each plant then install it at the correct water level. Plant directly into the soil of the bog plant zone or plant into the pot first, then lower it into the pond gently. Lower the pot at a slight angle to reduce muddying the water.
Like other herbaceous perennials the leaves and stems should be pretty well gone as winter sets in. If the plants are planted directly in a bog area, they should be left alone except to clean up any dead foliage. Plants that are in pots can be lowered to the deeper water if desired, but must be brought back up in late winter before any growth occurs. Most plants tolerate being left in place without moving them at all (in Zone 6 or warmer). All dead growth must be removed if the plant is to be lowered under the water.
Container grown aquatic plants need to be repotted every two or three years to keep the soil fresh and able to support the plant. If the plant has jumped over the edge of the pot, or if it has broken through the pot, it can be re potted to keep it in bounds. There is no harm in allowing the plant to grow outside of the pot except that it tends to be top-heavy and difficult to fertilize.