Step-By-Step Guide To Potting Up Your Bare-Root...

Step-By-Step Guide To Potting Up Your Bare-Root Pond Plant


Each plant variety you order from us will arrive wrapped in damp newspaper and packed in a plastic bag or tub with an identifying label. Unpack your plant as soon as possible after arrival by cutting off the plastic outer covering, carefully easing the plant out, and removing the newspaper (taking care to keep the right label with the right plant). The plant should ideally be planted up immediately. If this is not possible, it should still be unwrapped and placed in a bucket of water in a cool but frost-free place out of direct sunlight.


When potting your plant, firstly make sure that you have as many pots as you need, of the appropriate sizes, and any hessian liners that you need. Ensure you have enough soil for all your pots. (See our page here for advice on choosing soil, pots and whether you need a pot liner). You might also want to have some gravel to hand – a thin layer of fine, washed gravel over the top of the soil will improve the look of the plant, and help to prevent fish from digging it up. 


If using a hessian liner, start by placing this in the pot and checking it is big enough to cover the inside. Now fill approximately one third of your pot with soil, and press it down very firmly. Fold and smooth the hessian liner as necessary as the soil goes in. Place the plant in the pot, and spread its roots out.


Holding the plant at the base of the growing point, carefully fill the rest of the pot with soil, firming it up as you go, and continuing to fold and smooth the liner, if using. Leave a small space at the top of the pot for the layer of gravel, if you are adding this. Make sure the base of the plant’s growing point is just above the soil level when you have finished.


Add the layer of gravel to finish off, if desired. Cut off any excess pot liner, if using this.


Sprinkle the plant with water using a watering can or similar until the soil is thoroughly soaked through. If you do not do this the soil may float away when you put the plant in the pond.


You are now ready to place the plant in your pond. The label will specify a minimum and maximum depth; the plant will grow best at the shallowest end of this range, as it will get the most light. Similarly, remember that most flowering pond plants will flower best when placed in a sunny spot.


Don't want to pot your plant? If you are planting a bog garden, if you have put soil on the base of your pond, or if you are lucky enough to have a natural pond, you can simply plant your plant straight into the ground as you would any garden plant. Most pond plants appreciate plenty of room for their roots, and will grow well when planted out like this. In this case, if the area is above water, prepare the soil by digging it over and removing any weeds. If the area is under water, clear away any weeds, leaves or other debris, but there is no need to dig the soil over. Then simply use a spade or trowel to dig a hole where you want the plant to grow, deep enough and wide enough to comfortably accommodate the whole of the roots. Place the plant in this hole, spreading its roots out. Holding the plant at the base of the growing point, carefully fill the hole with soil, firming it up as you go. The base of the plant’s growing point should be just above the soil level when you have finished. Gently firm the last of the soil back down with your hand or the heel of your foot. If your natural soil is very poor, consider filling the hole back in with shop-bought aquatic soil rather than your own soil – this gives the plant a pocket of better soil to help it establish.


Occasionally, you may want to grow plants directly in the ground in an area under water too deep, or too far from the bank, to easily dig a hole. In this case, you can place the bare-root plant in a ‘bag’ made from a square of hessian, together with some soil and a medium-sized stone as a weight. Draw together the ends of the hessian to create the ‘bag’ and tie them loosely with biodegradable string so that the stems of the crown are emerging from the top. Drop the bag into the water where you want the plant to be, making sure it will not be too deep for the plant to thrive. Keep an eye out to ensure the plants are not disturbed by fish or water birds while they gradually root into the pond.


If the weather is hot when the plant is first planted up and it begins to wilt, simply trim the wilting foliage back. This will not harm the plant. 


If you have any questions, please just ask us.


Step-By-Step Guide To Potting Up Your Bare-Root Pond Plant