Can Pond Plants Really Grow in Gravel?

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Growing plants in a pond is essential, but what about the soil? It will make the water muddy and leave everything within the pond dirty. A clear pond with pretty plants is what we would all wish for, one that supports the fish and blossoms flowers each and every year. Planting plants in ponds can truly be an adventure.

Pond plants can grow in gravel and rocks. Soil is normally used to provide nutrients and support to plants but can be replicated by adding nutrients to the water and having gravel and rocks which support the plants. Pond plants will often survive better without soil.

As a matter of fact, there are many correlating topics similar to this one. There are a variety of options with pond plants, and adding them to your pond or water feature can greatly enhance the water, nutrients, and appearance of your pond.

Pros and Cons of Planting Without Dirt

Growing plants without dirt seems absurd. We all have commonly thought that one of the key things needed to grow plants was soil, but it turns out we are all wrong. Plants don’t require soil to grow, they need what the soil provides though, which is nutrients and support. Lets look into the ups and the downs of planting those pond plants directly in the gravel.

  • If you are planting the plants in nutrient rich water, you will need the supplies to do so. It will require you to buy lights for your plants, nutrients to add to your water, and other set up materials and supplies that, at the beginning, can be a rather large investment.

    But, if your pond is already supplied with such things, it wouldn’t be to big of a problem because fish waste and other elements of the pond will provide nutrients for the plants.
  • Another important thing to consider is that plants, fruits or vegetables grown in a hydroponics set up will not be verified organic because being organic requires the use of soil.
  • When plants live in a hydroponic system; they will become “fragile beauty queensSource. They no longer are as hardy and will die more easily. If the light isn’t on them or something similar changes in their day to day routine, they are prone to dying more quickly.
  • Because of the nature of a hydroponic system, often times if your plants gets a disease or sickness, the others will all get it as well, and in a matter of days or even hours all your plants could be dead.
  • On a side note, planting lilies and lotus flowers without soil is not recommended simply because they will take over your whole pond and multiply very quickly. Potting them slows down this process.

How to Plant Without Soil

Without soil, you can plant plants in a variety of ways. You can place the roots of the plants in the gravel and allow bits and pieces to swim free and gather nutrients, or you can also have them float and gather nutrients from the top of the pond. In order to plant a pond plant without soil, follow the steps below:

  1. Start by shaking of all the dirt and debris within the plants roots system, making it nice and clean as to not dirty the pond with the left over dirt.
  2. Make a hole or small spot in the gravel where you can place the roots of your plant.
  3. Cover the roots with surrounding rocks so that it is held in place and properly structured.
  4. In a couple of places allow the roots to stick out from under the rocks so that it can get and absorb sunlight.
  5. Either add nutrients to you water, or make sure there if enough by the fish and other debris that is currently in the pond.

As you can now see, it is not very hard to plant pond plants in gravel. You can really just stick them in the ground and hope that they grow. Normally, that shouldn’t be a problem with most aquatic plants.

How to Plant Submerged Plants

Another simple process for planting submerged plants, or plants at the bottom of your pond is to simply tie small but weighted pieces of gravel within the roots and toss it into the bottom of your pond, once there, it should spread out and grow. Some of the best submerged plants to consider are: anacharis, hornwort, cabomba, vallisneria and red ludwigia. Source.

Growing with Hydroponics

While throughout this passage we have repeated talking about hydroponics, it would be helpful to have it all spelled out and defined. In short and simple terms hydroponics is the “method of growing plants without soil” Source. This can actually take place a variety of ways, with the plants roots completely in the water, or being sprayed often with a nutrient rich water selection.

Hydroponics can produce amazing results with vegetables and fruits and is a very controlled environment. It is always clean and tidy within the water and around the plants so that no plant is contaminated. For this reason, if the lights go our of your tank gets low on water, you are much more likely to kill your plants.

Pond Plant Options

All pond plants can be planted in gravel and make for a great pond. When considering which plants to get; it is important to understand that there are multiple pond plant types.

  • Bog Plants
  • Marginal Plants
  • Floating Plants
  • Submerged Plants
  • Deep – Water Plants

Each of these different types can handle different amounts of water, to almost no water. Bog plants, submerged plants, and deep- water plants can handle complete water while floating plants and marginal plants and pieces which do not have to be in water at all times. Below are some popular plants that beautify a garden and provide nutrient rich water for your plants and your fish.

  • Water Lily – these are the classic pond plant that offer beauty and serenity to your pond. They are classified as a “deep water plant” but can be planted in something as small as 7 inches deep. You can plant them in gravel, but they will reproduce quickly, so if that isn’t something you want you can plant them in soil.
  • Horsetail Rush – This is classified as a bog plant and looks like baby bamboos. It grows really quickly and can be quite aggressive.
  • Ogon Golden Sweet Flag – This is classified as a marginal plant. It is a grassy plant that totally fits for a pond. It is used to look like an ornamental grass that survives in very wet conditions like ponds.
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We always wanted a fountain of some kind at our house, but professional installation was just too pricey. So, we decided to make our own little fountain and after learning how, we thought we should share our experiences to help people in our same situation.

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