Iowa ponds plants ?

Maggie4(4-5)April 15, 2005

We have put in a sm pond 8x6 3ft deep. I was wondering what kind of H20 plants to you have. I was thinking of trying some of the ditch snake weed?? this is the tall stuff you see that breaks in sections. Doesn't have any leaves. Don't know the name. If I put some in a pot will that work? Just for height. Do you winter over, what?

Need cheap Idea. Have goldfish. Where do you buy yours or trade. Do they trade well and do you get what you want?


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whatcheer(z4 Ia)

Hi Maggie,
The snake plant will work in a pot. Your pond is deep
enough to winter lilies too. I get my plants online. Water hyacinth is one of the best floaters to have. It helps keep your water clear. It only takes about 3 or 4 of them. They really multiply. I have a lot of water plants. What town are you in?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2005 at 2:35PM
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We live outside Pella, Tulips are blooming, Who do you buy from online? I have one Lily so far from a friend. Do you leave yours in your pond all winter w/fish? I have had Water Hyacinth in tubs and like them. Do they ship well? Love there bloom. How big is your pond? I see now why they say to make the ponds twice as large as you think it should be. They are neat!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 10:32AM
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randyw(4-NW Iowa)

We live in NW Iowa near Orange City. We keep our goldfish in the pond over winter, as well as making sure all of our pond plants (water lilies, pickerel weed & rushes) are lowered to our pond's 2nd level ledge (about 18" from the surface.) We disconnect the tube from our waterfall pump & instead attach a short PVC tube so that the pump acts like a bubbler. Our pond is 3' deep & never freezes thick enough to hurt plants or fish. Sometimes there's 1 or maybe 2 weeks of extremely cold weather that we use an inexpensive cow tank heater to make sure there's a hole in the ice, but otherwise the bubbling is enough to keep a decent-sized hole in the ice for waste gases to escape & oxygen to enter. Our pond is 19 x 10, 3 ft deep, originally set up in 1999.

We annually purchase 5-10 water hyacinths (usually from Del's in Spencer) which by the end of some summers we're removing with pitchforks b/c they're filling much of the pond. We also use underwater "oxygenator" plants (I don't remember the name), some of which usually survive overwinter, so we don't often buy them.

Best wishes,
Randy W.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 10:55PM
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whatcheer(z4 Ia)

I buy my plants from J&J Aquatics online. I buy 48 Water Hyacinth at a time. They always send at least 60. A lot of those have little one's on them. I sell some of them. I only put about 3 or for in a pond. I have four ponds. I live on a farm and have lots of gardens. The hyacinth multiply like rabbits after the water gets warm. I have Papyrus also. I raise it in the winter. It's an umbrella looking plant. I hope you have good uck! If you were closer I 'd be glad to give you some. I'm in Waterloo though. We aren't going to the tulip festival this year. (I hope there are tulip in bloom than. They sure are blooming early)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 11:26AM
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jspece(Josh - z4 IA)


Like the others said, your pond is deep enough to over winter hardy water lilies and your long as you don't let it freeze over.

Other hardy water plants:

Forget-me-not...great little plant for streams or very shallow water...bright blue flowers mid spring

Cattails...should be easy enough to find the native species or go a little more exotic with dwarf or variegated varieties.

Lotus...beautiful and dramatic. There are smaller varieties that wouldn't look out of place in a smaller pond or give it its own bog beside your pond!

Parrot's, surface spreading plant.

Floating Heart...resembles a little water lily with yellow star shaped flowers.


Marsh Marigold...yellow flowers is all done blooming for this year.

Iris...yellow or blue flag. Grow them bareroot for a fantastic natural filter.

There are many others...and the tropical plants offer a whole new group of neat plants. Lots of possibilities!!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 8:29PM
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Wow! what a neat pond. You winter over all of your lotus ? Do you use heat in the winter or let them dry. Thanks everyone for the info. I have sent for Parrot feather, Water Hyacinth and lotus. They should be here this week. Now send the warm weather back!! I love our pond. Have alittle green H20 but the fish are still moving. Have only lost 2 out of 13. Not bad. I know we will make more ponds. You see we live on a farm too. Retired hubby loves to travel so we'll be looking around at ponds this yr. If you know of any let me know where they are. We love day triping.
Thanks again for all the info.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 9:55AM
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jspece(Josh - z4 IA)

Thanks, Maggie!

Yes, the lotus all go to the deepest part of the ponds for winter. We don't normally use a floating heater...just use a pump as a bubbler, like Randy described above.

A word of is too cold to put the water hyacinths outdoors!! The do grow like made under good conditions, but they are very tropical. I always recommend waiting til mid May for the floaters. If the water temp is not at least into the 60's, the hyacinths will just set there...or die.

If you ever get up to the Independence area, look us up. We have 3 ponds. You can go to "My Page" to see more...this is our largest pond...still a work in progress after 2 years, but it *will* get "finished" this year!!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 1:18PM
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lilycrazy(Zone 5- Iowa)

Maggie, you can use alot of non-pond plants in your pond also- I use impatiens in my waterfall basins and use watercress, sweet potatoes, annual "spikes" in pots of gravel, vinca vine is nice potted on the edges of the pond and allowed to hang over into the water. That snake plant you're talking about is horsetail rush- and I have that also- its in just about every ditch near where I live (Des Moines) and it does overwinter right in the pond. I also have cat tails plucked from a ditch. As for online ordering- there are lots of great sources. I like Rickers and Stillwater Gardens- both have websites and are very generous with the plants !!!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 4:16PM
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what's J&J aquatics web address or any others for that matter.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 12:49AM
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Nevermind, Site listed below.

Here is a link that might be useful: J & J Aquafarms

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 11:59AM
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I was wondering why water hyacinth has to be bought every year? Can't people just collect the seed from the plant. Or doesn't it flower and set seed this far north. Wondering in Iowa.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 11:09PM
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whatcheer(z4 Ia)

The Water Hyacinth just doesn't do much. I demands warmth and Good light. My neice keeps some of hers over the winter in her green house. They are pretty spindley by this time of year. They take a few weeks of warm weather to start growing. I like them to look healthy right of the bat. I just buy new every year. Josh has a neat set up out his way. I highly recommend a road trip to see it. I buy alot of my plants from In The Country and Gifts in Independence. The prices are very fair.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 7:12PM
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Maggie4, a friend at church said that someone just gave them gold fish that were caught from Sunken Gardens in Pella. The city municipal workers told him that people put there gold fish from fish tanks in that pond and they have been taking over the pond. He said that they were hard to catch because of the murkie water. Now would not be a good time to go to Sunken Gardens because of all the tourist from the Tulip festival, but if you are a good net catcher, it would sure be worth the fishing!
We were eating breakfast one day this week, and saw a blue heron land by the edge of our bog/pond, he walked in and came up with one of our biggest gold fish, that was not a good start to our day. The bird was beautiful, but dont want them hanging around.
He or she must of gotten hungry before arriving at the big lake!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2005 at 7:07PM
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Hi Trudy,
We have seen some goldfish in the sunken gardens. If I tried to catch one , with my luck I'd fall in! I have only lost 2 out of 13. I have plants in the pond now and our fish are going crazy. They have grown almost a inch. (We think). We'll be coming to see you someday. when all of your hosta are up. We have coffee time everyday by our pond. Love it!
Can't wait untill later so we can go and visit the Iowa ponders. Get ready!
Thanks for all the plant ideas guys. I have a lotus, lilys, plus floaters and others. Now Hubby is looking forward to redoing it in a yr or so. Bigger!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 2:07PM
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Glad to hear your pond is doing great. Our bogs are full of water now, with all the rain that we have had.
The Iowa pond tours are great, a person could come home with a lot of new ideas. We should try and look up a site that has the info. of the pond tours in Ames.
See ya soon.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 9:04AM
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ChillyToes(Z4 NE Iowa)

If you are near Burlington, there is an amazing pond store just west of town. TenderTop gardens...let me know if anyone needs directions. We had a pond in our last house (just moved out) and our favorite plants were the lotus (Huge WOW factor) and something we picked up for next to nothing called "mare's tail"...NOT the noxious weed our farmers hate! It looks a bit like parrot's feather, but is VERY hardy - ours actually rooted into our pond lining and we ended up having several plants. I also enjoyed a variety of the rushes. If you go to Tender Top, most pond plants are (or were last year)$7. My parents live in NC Iowa, and they always made at least one pilgramage down there each year for their pond.

Regarding the hiacynths, we had them for 5 years, and only one of those five were they beautiful - but boy were they great that year...good enough that we kept on trying. The problem with hyacinths and water lettuce is that your fish ADORE eating their roots. That keeps them from really thriving. If you have a newish pond with smaller fish, I'd certainly try the hiacynths. Each plant spurs off several others, and they bloom all summer (if your fish don't get to them first!)

All in all, it is really worth the time to go to a pond garden center. The people there know so much and can help you with almost anything.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 12:07AM
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Thanks Chilly Toes,
I would like the directions to the pond store in Burlington. We will be in that part of the state soon.
I have plants in the pond. (Traded at GW) but would like a new lily. Also want to hit jspece so if your reading this please send a note with directions.
Thanks, maggie

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 2:01PM
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jspece(Josh - z4 IA)

Maggie, if you send me an email, I'd be happy to give you directions!

jspece @

...without the spaces, of course...

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 10:29PM
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