Caring for Patio Water Gardens cont...
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.
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.
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.
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
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.