Keystone Hatcheries offers a great variety of aquatic plants during the season at our retail store in Richmond, Illinois. Water garden plants available at Keystone Hatcheries can be purchased from mid April until some time in September. Below is information on the types of plants we offer.
Winter-Hardy and Tropical-Marginal Aquatic Plants
These plants grow with their roots in the water and their foliage in the air, and are the perfect choice for decorating shallow shelves on the edges of ponds. They are available at Keystone Hatcheries in mainly quarts and gallons. Hardy varieties can stay outside in most climates, but tropicals need to come indoors when the weather drops below freezing. We use a heavy garden loam that is a mix of 75% top soil and 25% sand. We always put 1 Fertilizer Tab per gallon of soil in the bottom of each container and we advocate using pots with no holes in the bottom. Also, you should cover each pot with 1-2 inches of sand, pea gravel or soil-less Aquatic Planting Media to keep the high nutrient soil from washing out of the pots. If you have Koi, you may want to put another layer of larger gravel to keep the fish out of the pots. Add one Fertilizer Tab per gallon of soil per month during the growing season.
These plants add a beautiful dimension to your water garden and they are among the earliest plants to blossom. Some irises prefer damp soils and others can be constantly in the water. They are available mostly in quart and gallon pots and can be planted as described above for Marginals. Most irises that we offer are hardy in this area, but Louisiana irises may benefit from being brought in for winter.
Submerged Aquatic Plants
These plants, sometimes called Oxygenators, are important because of their ability to absorb nutrients out of the water, which reduces algae growth. Also, they provide terrific habitat for fish and other pond inhabitants. They are available in rubber-banded bunches of several cuttings. You can plant up to one bunch per square foot of pond surface area. Submerged plants can simply be set in the pond bottom with a rock over the rubber-banded end to keep them in place, or the rubber-banded end can be placed in a quart sized pot and filled with pea gravel.
Floating Aquatic Plants
Floating Plants, as their name implies, float on the surface. Some varieties have roots that dangle in the water and others do best anchored to the side or potted as described above for Submerged Plants. You can cover up to 50% of your pond with floating plants or Water Lilies if it is in full sun to block sunlight and inhibit algae growth.
Winter-Hardy and Tropical Water Lilies
These plants grow with their roots (tuber) in soil at the pond bottom and their leaves floating at the surface. They require at least 4 hours of direct sun and provide much-needed shade to reduce algae growth and give pond fish and other pond inhabitants shelter. Hardy varieties are available in 2 gallon containers Mid spring through September and tropical varieties are available in 2 gallon containers from late spring to well into summer (exact dates depend on the weather). We grow the water lilies in 2 feet of water. Hardies can be moved to depths of 3 feet max, but tropicals shouldn’t go deeper than 2. If you have Koi, you may want to put another layer of larger gravel or small rock to keep the fish out of the pots.
Lotus are perhaps the most spectacular of pond plants, and they are also quite hardy once established. But getting them established can be a real hassle. We sell several varieties at Keystone Hatcheries potted in 3-gallon containers. They are generally available from late spring through summer (exact dates depend on the weather).