Caring for Aquatic Plants in the Fall

Posted on: September 03, 2014

Category: Maintenance

Caring for Aquatic Plants in the Fall

As much as we don't want to admit it, summer is almost over and fall will be here shortly.  The transition from summer to fall is beautiful as we enjoy the changing colours of the leaves and the brisk night air.  With the dip in temperatures there are things you will need to know about how this affects your plants in your aquatic paradise.  Here is how to care for the varieties of aquatic plants this fall:

Hardy Marginals

The dropping temperatures signal your hardy plants to prepare for their winter dormancy.  When you see their leaves start to turn yellow and brown you should stop fertilizing them.  You can leave your hardy marginals in the pond to weather the cold, just be sure to trim the dying foliage down to 2" above the water level. This will need to be done when you are using a leaf net to cover your pond.


Tropical Marginals

Unfortunately in our climate tropicals will not over winter outside.  You will need to treat these plants as you would any other garden annual, by replacing them each season.  You can try them as tropical house plants.  Most tropical marginals will do well potted in heavy garden soil in a sealed clay pot with no holes for drainage.  Keep them wet and ina sunny window or sunroom.


Floating Plants

By now, your floating plants will have expanded and exploded.  Water hyacinth and water lettuce are tropicals and need to be taken out of the pond at the end of the season.  Do not let them decay too much as this will just add to the debris on the bottom of your pond.  They make great composte.



Waterlilies do not like the cold (almost as much as me).  You will quickly notice their yellowing leaves and lack of flowers.  When this happens, the leaf and flower stems of HARDY lilies should be cut back to about 2" to 3" above the base of the plant.   

Tropical waterlilies will not over winter in our climate.  It is possible to over winter indoors, however it can be a very difficult task.



As with marginals the foliage of the lotus will need to be trimmed back after they have died back and turned brown.  Do not cut the leaves of a lotus while they are still green.  This could make them susceptible to disease.  Lotus tubers will not withstand freezing, some have success moving the tubers to the bottom, deepest point of the pond.  

Proper care of your aquatic plants in the fall will mean less work and healthier plants and pond in the spring!  Happy Fall Pondering!