Over Wintering Hardy Pond Plants

preparing hardy pond plants for winter Preparing your perennial pond plants for the winter season, perennial pond plants such as such as rushes, water lilies, and irises. all winter hardy pond plants need to be cut back, they can be cut back to as much as only an inch or so above their root systems. Potted bog plants also need to cut back to between one and three inches above the root balls and then it should be lowered into deeper areas of the garden pond so that their crowns will not freeze. during the winter for this purpose.

I usually drill holes through the rims of my plant pots so strings can be attached to lower them to pond bottom and more easily heave them out again in the spring a lot better than having to reach into that still very cool garden pond water to retrieve them by hand. Before you lower any planted pots to the pond bottom make certain you remove any clinging string algae that may be present on pots and plant stems.

Miniature and full-size Waterlilies need to be trimmed as well.  Cut all the leaves back to about an inch above the root ball. Miniature lilies can be lifted from shallow pond areas trimmed and then lowered to deeper garden pond depths to be overwintered. Full-size lilies they too need to have there leaves and stems cut back to root level, but in the cases of the bigger deeper water lilies their pots, particularly in the case of a well-established lily, may be very heavy and not possible to be lifted from the edge of the pond, so for four years out of five I prune my deep water lilies with long-handled pruners scooping out  their debris with a fishing net, each fifth or sixth year I completely drain the pond for cleaning and maintenance.

At this time I  divide and replant and usually give away a lot of my water lilies. Make sure that if you have fish in your garden pond, you do not put them in danger by taking up too much of their very valuable pond floor space with too many overwintering pond plants. Now is the time to net out floating leaves dead plant material, waste, and scoop out sludge etc you can employ a pond vacuum or scoop it out with a net.

Pond Maintenance 3

Providing Cover for Pond Fish in the Fall

Now that you have removed all sources of pond plant cover from you fish you have left them exposed to predators such as  Blue Herons, Hawks. and raccoons in the case of birds they will actually be hungrier in the winter months than they are in the summer months as many creatures that are usually on their menu will be hibernating and not available. If pond predators are a problem in your region it is a good idea to employ a pond net, make sure the net is stretched tautly across the surface of the garden pond and that the net’s stakes are set at two to three-inch intervals around the edge of the pond. You can provide hiding places for your pond fish at the bottom of your garden pond. by propping up plant pots on top of stones to create nooks and crannies for fish to hide in if the situation arises.

Koi castles provide winter hiding holes for pond fish

You can also provide koi castles or similar, available from most pet and pond stores to provide ample hide holes to increase their safety in fall months before the garden pond has frozen over.

Pond Maintenance 4

I have found that throwing in sprays of artificial greenery into the garden pond in early fall the that is usually used for indoor floral displays. made of either plastic or silk works quite well for pond fish to seek cover in it also works well in the spring months for the goldfish to hide amongst and spawn upon. I tether the bunches of fake leaves with a piece of fishing line fastened to a peg which in turn is held down under a stone that forms part of the edging for the garden pond.I tether the greenery so that it can be easily heaved out for cleaning or if I wish it to be removed, the silk greenery bouquets don’t do the fish any harm, the same type of fake plant decoration is used all the time in fish tanks.


  • Special Thanks to Ricardo Marquez for the lovely photo!