Pond construction - allow for plant pockets, plant in gravel?

jcjcjcxMarch 6, 2008

I was wondering if anyone plants directly in the gravel or in plant pockets?

I've been using aquatic baskets for several years. But now that I'm rebuilding my pond, I'm thinking of adding in plant pockets, or at leaving areas where I can plant directly in the gravel. Not sure if creating a plant pocket is necessarily better than just planting in the gravel.

Also I realize that not using baskets means I have to watch that the plants don't get too out of control, but I'm always trimming and tiding the plants anyways. I read that planting directly into the pond is supposed to give a more naturalized look (which is what I'm after).

Opinions anyone?

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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Have tried many different ways over the years and IMO plain old pots sitting on the bottom is the most versatile.
Here's what I like about it.
Can quickly and easily change the media for individual plants, can fertilize just one plant and use different types. Can be removed to vacuum the bottom. If plant A is shadowing plant B too much can easily move it. Can easily change the depth the plant is growing by sitting it on another pot.
Water lilies in particular I can get bigger,more and more robust flowers . For example Blue Goddess. Growing in straight cat litter with fruit tree spikes. 14 inch flowers standing two feet out of the water.24 inch pads.
Same plant in same media for two years . 12 inch flowers
Growing in mud on bottom . 10 inch flowers much more prone to offset rather than flower.
IME the number one reason lol INVASIVE most water plants are this way and plain old pots gives you the most control. gary

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 5:16AM
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That would be the only reason I, personally, would plant in pots - to prevent invasive tendencies in some plants. Otherwise, I prefer to go potless with all of my plants. I didn't have pockets built in, so DH built a plant rack that spans across the pond shelves. :)


    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 8:37AM
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always_outside(8a DFW, TX)

I have 5 plant pockets in my pond and I really like the natural, clean look it gives the pond. I'm not a fan of baskets showing in a pond, but if a plant is invasive, I can see why you might need them. Why not consider both? I have my umbrella plant, parrots feather, and lilies in plant pockets w/ gravel. I plan on taking out the lilies this year and planting in baskets so I can actually fertilize them. I will keep the umbrella and parrots feather in their pockets bc it really looks natural and clean that way.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 10:41AM
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always_outside(8a DFW, TX)

Here's a picture of my pond's upper level plant pockets. They are surrounded by larger stones and then filled in with pebbles. Sort of like a "raised garden" technique. I think this allows the plants to sprawl out w/o getting out of hand since they're enclosed in the larger stones. The deepest area of the pond has "built in" pockets for the lilies. I took this pic later in the evening (last yr), so it's a little dark and might be hard to see.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 11:13AM
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Thanks for your responses everyone! I will definetely build in some plant pockets then.

Does anyone worry about the roots puncturing the liner over time? What about putting a piece of extra liner in the spots where the plants will be (with gravel on top to hide the liners)? Is this a good idea or unnecessary and just a bacteria trap?

Also.. normally I use PondTabbs to fertilize the plants. Can I still use them and just stick them into the gravel? Or will the fertilizer just get washed into the water?
I guess that also means I must get into the pond to reach and fertilize the plants.

Loretta, thanks for the photo. Your pond looks nice. I like the look you acheived by placing the rocks around the plants to keep them in. What size gravel did you use?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 9:14PM
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always_outside(8a DFW, TX)

J -

There are two different sizes of pebbles in my pond. One is about the size of dimes and the other is about the size of silver dollars. The plant pockets have the smaller pebbles in them to hold the plants in place. I think you're making a good choice by having some plant pockets built in. You can always add baskets if you need more planting space later on.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 7:39PM
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