This article will provide a brief how-to for planting aquatic plants once you've decided which plants to add to your water garden.
Many people find it easier to add plants to the water garden using special pots and soil for this purpose. You will also want to add about 6 inches of soil to the bottom of your pond for the roots of other plants to embed themselves in. If you are using a pre-molded liner for your pond and it contains a shelf along the top edge, you may opt for the basket method. This shelf will give you a nice place to set your baskets on.
Traditional mesh baskets are the choice most gardeners decide on. This basket should be lined with burlap to prevent the soil or compost from washing out. Plants can be mixed in one basket, but it’s best to use only one type of plant per basket and don’t over-crowd it. Choose quality aquatic compost for your plants. They contain fewer nutrients than regular potting soil. Less nutrients means less algae growth.
Line your mesh basket with burlap - Hessian burlap is the best choice. Fill your burlap lined basket with special aquatic compost soil. Remove your plant from its original container and plant it in the basket at its original depth. You may need to add more compost to firm it up.
Once your basket is planted, add a one inch layer of some gravel or pebbles to the top to keep everything in place once you set it into the water of your pond. This will prevent disturbing the water too much. If you've added fish, they may get into the soil of your basket and muddy up the water, so using a good top layer of pebbles will prevent your fish from doing this.
Submerge your basket into a bucket of water to let it soak and remove all the air bubbles. After it's thoroughly soaked, you can carefully place the basket into your pond. If it's necessary for stability, you can add some larger rocks around the base of your basket to hold it steady. Using rocks around the basket will also camouflage it. Do this with each plant and place them in an appealing manner throughout your pond.
When planting your oxygenating plants, simply tie the roots to a rock and drop them into the pond. The plants will root themselves into the soil you've put in the bottom of your water garden. These plants are usually short and may not be seen from the surface even after they've grown.
Some people choose to plant their aquatic plants directly into the soil on the bottom of the pond. This can often be done in the same manner as the oxygenating plants, but larger plants should be planted into the soil. Adding some larger stones around the base of tall plants will give them stability.
Putting the finishing touches on your pond or water garden with plants will give you a sense of accomplishment and add beauty to your landscaping design.