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Best Time To Plant Pond Plants: The Ultimate Guide

Ponds are a beautiful addition to your your backyard, and plants are one of the most important parts of making a pond really special. But planning is important when it comes to adding plants to your pond, and you should know when is the best time to plant them.  

The best time to plant your pond plants is in spring and early summer. During late summer and early autumn, pond plants are in full growth. Late autumn and early winter are not good times to plant certain pond plants such as water lilies, marginal, hyacinth, and oxygenator plants.

Climate plays a big role in planting and specifically for pond plants. In tropical or sub-tropical areas, you can plant all year round without worrying that winter will cause some plants to die. But for the areas less fortunate, it’s best to stick to the best-suited seasons for planting.

Let’s learn a little more about when you should be planting which types of pond plants to get the best success rate…

When Should I Plant My Pond Plants?

There is so much information on gardening and pond planting available that it can be hard wading through it all. There are good times to plant and great times to plant your pond plants.

A good time to plant some plants is all year, but a great time is at the beginning of spring and early summer. All plants are ready to shoot new leaves and roots after being dormant for winter. Older plants should already be transplanted into larger containers before then.

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  • Pond plants that start blooming at the beginning of spring should be planted in the autumn to be settled in the new season.
  • Plants that bloom in early spring should not be pruned too late or make new flowers.

If a pond is very deep, it’ll be best to plant in mid-spring or early summer when the water is warmer, and you can spend time standing in the pond’s soil without any discomfort.

Plants that float, like water lilies, are naturally deciduous in winter and almost completely disappear with a few stalks remaining visible. Floating pond plants are best planted in mid-spring when busy pushing new stems and leaves.

How Do I Plant New Plants In My Pond?

Introducing plants to a new pond is an exciting venture. A new pond is not unlike a blank canvas, ready to become a masterpiece, and it’s easy to design a new plant feature using the different types of available pond plants. Here are some steps you can follow:

#1: Choose The Best Plants For Your Pond

Once the layout and design of your pond have been completed, and the water is in, you should let the pond soil settle. Visit your local plant nursery, show the landscaper the design, and let them help you choose the most suitable plants.

The landscaper or nursery assistant will tell you how many plants to use to not become too overgrown. Buy some extra baskets to transplant the pond plants into bigger baskets.

NOTE: If you want to know the best time to renovate your whole pond rather than just your pond plants, check out my guide here. Or for a full step by step pond renovation guide, read my guide here.

#2: Choose The Correct Size Plant Basket

Different types of pond plants will need different care when planting

While at the plant nursery, ask the landscaper to help you choose the correct pot sizes. The pond plants should ideally be transplanted into the largest pot to allow uninterrupted growth.

Tall reeds or bullrush-type plants must be firmly anchored with a large pot and perhaps some rocks. If a strong wind should blow, this will keep them upright until their roots have attached to the pond soil and mesh lining.

#3: Prepare The Plant Pot

A good idea with aquatic containers made from mesh is to fill the bottom with a few large rocks to add weight. Fill up the basket 2/3rds of the way with special aquatic soil (here’s a great one available at Amazon), and make a hole in the middle of the basket.

#4: Plant The Pond Plant Into The New Pot

Remove the plant from its current pot, ensuring no roots break off. Place the plant in the new pot and fill it with the aquatic soil. Gently but firmly compact the soil around the plant to remove any air and secure the roots.

#5: Water The Pond Plant Thoroughly

Water the new plant until the water runs out the bottom of the pot. This will ensure the soil settles. You can use crushed stone or gravel around the top of the pot once the soil has settled. This will keep the soil inside.

Saturating the plant before placing it in the pond will settle the soil and prevent the plant from dislodging.

#6: Top Up The Soil Before Positioning The Pot

After saturating the soil, it should become compacted and drop by a few cm. Top up the soil and leave around 2cm for crushed stones to keep the soil weighed down.

NOTE: Limestone gravel is not recommended as it raises the pH level of the pond.

#7: Position The Pond Plant

Before you wade into the pond, give the pond plant some more water to make it heavy. Slowly walk into the area you intend to plant and slowly lower the pot. Once the rim is below the water, wait for a few seconds and push it down gently.

You can place a heavy stone or two on the pot to keep it in position until the roots have anchored it into the soil. The pond’s water will take a few days to settle and clear up. If any plants float to the surface, repeat the steps and anchor them with larger rocks.

How Many Plants Should Be In A Pond?

Pond plants are all unique in their growth and have different space requirements. These are the typical planting guidelines you should follow for the different varieties.

  • Water Lilies – One water lily per 50sq feet if the depth is less than 2 feet.
  • Hyacinth or other floating plants – One per 10sq feet. Be careful with hyacinths; they are prolific growers and can drain the pond of oxygen.
  • Marginal aquatic plants – One plant every 5 feet along the pond’s edge.
  • Bog Plants – One bog plant every five feet of pond edge. Alternate with or in-between the marginal pond plants.
  • Submerged Oxigenetor plant – One per 100sq feet or one per pond.

Is There A Time That You Should Not Plant Pond Plants?

If you stay in an area where winters are so cold that it freezes the pond, it would be good not to attempt to plant any new plants right before winter. There is little to no oxygen available under the ice during winter, and many plants may not survive.


Plant the annual pond plants to beautify your pond every year in early springtime. Perennials can be planted in the pond at any time of the year except in mid-winter if there is visible ice. For more information about looking after your pond, check out my other articles: