Patio Joe Lily

Caring for Patio Water Gardens cont...

Climate Control

Water temperatures above 85 degrees can be detrimental to fish and plants. During extreme heat spells (90 degrees +) it is best to partially shade your water garden during mid-afternoon. Placing a few potted plants around the perimeter to shade the sides of the pot is also effective. A more permanent solution is to sink your water garden into the ground or cut an insert into a wooden deck to lower the side out of direct sun.

Algae Control

Your water garden may go through a 'green pea soup' phase before your pond plants become well established. This is normal, harmless to pond fish and plants and will clear up as your pond plants grow and absorb the nutrients algae needs to survive. Do not drain your water garden and put in fresh; water, it will just repeat the same green water phase until a balance is reached.

The green film you may see form on the sides of your pot below water is normal, desirable and a sign of a healthy pond. Once balanced your pond should remain clear enough to see near the bottom of the water garden. Any excessive string algae can be scooped out occasionally. Tadpoles and snails may help also.

Winter Care

Trim back all hardy pond plants to about 3-6" after November 1 and then, ideally the entire pool is best moved to a location with natural light but where temperatures stay above freezing. An unheated florida room or enclosed patio is a good choice. The pond pump should be disconnected from any spouting ornament and placed about 2-4" below the water surface so that the moving water helps prevent total freezing of the surface. Another option is to replace the pump with an inexpensive birdbath de-icer, or an aquarium heater (set at its lowest setting) during the coldest winter months. Once the chance of prolonged freezing spells are past you can move your water garden to its summer placement.

If you have tropical pond plants you can bring them indoors as houseplants over the winter or discard and replace them next spring. Papyrus and umbrella palms do especially well indoors over winter. Tropical water lilies and floating pond plants are best replaced each year unless you have access to a greenhouse that stays 55-60 degrees through the winter. Any tropical pond plants you wish to save be sure to move to a warm location before the first frost. Floating plants killed by frost should be immediately removed so that they do not add to the plant debris in your water garden. Tropical pond plants should not be placed back into the water garden in the spring until water temperature reaches 65-70 degrees.

Annual Cleaning

Once or twice a year you should give your patio water garden a good cleaning. Late fall is a good time while you prepare your water garden for winter. Drain your pond and place your pond fish in a separate container (of pond water), remove all pond plants and clean out any debris that has collected at the bottom of your water garden. Refill your garden with fresh water and return all plants. Before adding back your pond fish give them a chance to adjust to any change in water temperature and treat the water to remove any chlorine that may be found in tap water. We recommend Oase "Water Prep", "Water Prep Plus" or a similar product for this purpose. Water can be added to replace evaporation as needed during the summer. Adding a couple inches of tap water weekly does not require use of a chlorine remover unless your water supply contains chloramines (usually found only in large cities).

Cleaning can be repeated any time during the year your water becomes "dirty" with floating debris or waste. However, with proper balance and care it should not be required more than once a season.



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