Live Plants

*Plant orders ship via FedEx Mon., Tues. and Wed. of each week, excluding holidays. Please allow extra delivery time if the order is placed Wed.-Sun. Orders typically ship the next day. During the busy season, you can expect a 3+ day lead time. Orders are not held due to customers individual weather/temperature conditions. 

Live plants and snails have a 14 Day Guarantee. If anytime within 14 days of receiving your item(s) they appear to be dead, please call us at 866-819-7663 or email as soon as possible. This guarantee does not cover associated shipping costs as they are not refundable. A credit on account would be issues.

*When you first receive your plants; remove the plants from wrappings and immediately place your plants in water and shade for the first couple of days. Your plants need time to recover and adjust after shipping.

Floating Plants

These are plants that float on the water surface, but do not require rooting into soil. They include water hyacinth, water lettuce, frog-bit, duckweed, and fairy moss. Do not expect much bloom from floating plants. Even water hyacinths, the best blooming of the floaters, tends to bloom only when they sense a threat to their survival, such as when they become overcrowded or run out of nutrients. Their primary function is elsewhere.

These are the fastest multiplying plants, excellent for shading the water surface and absorbing nutrients. Even though there will be far more than needed by the end of the season (for example, in optimum conditions a single water hyacinth can produce over one million water hyacinths in a single growing season), it is desirable to buy them in quantity at the beginning of the season. They do not multiply quickly in the cool spring weather, and a number of them are required to provide shade and nutrient absorption. When the desired number is reached, and excess should be removed from the pond, this is often seen as a pain. Far from it—water hyacinths and other floating plants make incredible mulch and compost! They moderate garden soil temperature and moisture levels, and are full of wonderful nutrients for garden plants. We treasure our excess floating plants, and so does our garden.

When receiving floating aquatic plants it is important to adjust them slowly to direct sun. During shipping the plants become softened and lush in the bag, and even do some growing while in the box. When they come out into direct sun, they may temporarily sunburn and/or wind burn. During initial growth in the spring, floating plants tend to have a high foliage to root ratio, and often lose roots during shipping. Insufficient roots are an additional reason for extra care in acclimating floating plants.

To help prevent damage please follow these procedures:

In cooler temperatures, cover with one or two layers of reemay (a white floating crop cover) for several days. In warmer temperatures, cover with a shade cloth for several days. Time the removal of the cover for late afternoon; cloudy or rainy weather optimal if available. Protect all floaters from frost. It may not be necessary to use this extra precaution; however, it is the safest way to deal with new floaters.

Waterlilies and Lily-Likes

The classic pond plant, waterlilies come in various colors including white, yellow, orange, pink, red, blue, and purple. They are classified as either hardy or tropical, meaning whether or not they will consistently winter over outside in our temperate climate. The primary function of this group of plants is their beauty. They also are effective at shading the surface, and do pull out some nutrients (some lily-likes are faster growing, and these will pull out more nutrients).

Hardies are best grown in wide, shallow pots about 15” across, and divided and repotted when overcrowded. Using a solid plastic pot or a mesh pot with many pores is a matter of preference, but also of function, depending on if the primary purpose of the plant is to be beautiful or to absorb nutrients from the water; if fertilized, solid plastic pots will retain the fertilizer better. They should be fertilized with an appropriate aquatic plant fertilizer from the time they begin growth in the spring until July or August, giving them an opportunity to exhaust nutrients in the pot to encourage dormancy as cold weather approaches. Water depth may be variable, from 6” to 10’ below the water surface, depending on the variety and the size of the individual plant. For most varieties, 1’ to 2’ under the surface is a good range.

Tropical waterlilies are under-utilized, as they bloom 3 to 4 times as much as hardies, tend to stand up much higher above the water surface, bloom much later in the season and are much more fragrant. There are also night-blooming tropical waterlilies. These are preferred over the day-blooming by many people, as they open in early evening while it is still light, and do not close until mid-morning; this affords many working people the opportunity to see the blooms more often than with a day-bloomer, which does not open until mid-morning, and closes by early evening. Night-blooming tropicals come in the colors of white, pink, and red. Tropicals can grow very large in a 15” pot, and become gorgeous specimen plants during the season. They should receive twice the fertilizer given a hardy, because of their rapid growth and increased number of blooms. There are various means of over-wintering tropicals in a temperate climate, but many people simply choose to treat them as an annual with a 5 month season, replacing them each year. Compare this to a hanging basket or flower arrangements, and having tropical annuals starts looking pretty good.

Lily-likes are aquatic plants that are treated like waterlilies, with floating leaves and roots in soil, but are generally smaller in size. They are good in small containers or in shallow areas of the pond.

Once you've gathered your supplies and your bare root plant has arrived, it's time to plant. Keep your plant wet while you are planting it so that the leaves don't dry out. Fill your container approximately 1/2 full with a heavy clay soil, loam garden soil or aquatic planting media. Then, drop in a few fertilizer tablets and add a few more inches of soil. Lilies grow horizontally across the container, so a wide pot is necessary for planting. Locate the rhizome, which is also commonly known as “the root” or the base of the plant from which the stems emerge. The rhizome should be planted at one edge of the container and at an angle of about 45 degrees with the crown exposed towards the center of the pot. Gently add soil over top being sure to keep the crown (the top of the root formation) exposed. Tamp down the soil to compact it a bit. Then, top with some pea gravel. The pea gravel helps to make sure the soil won't float away. Remember, do not cover the crown with the pea gravel or stones, as this may hinder the plant's growth. Your plant is now ready to be placed in the pond. We recommend fertilizing your lily monthly.

Shallow Water Plants (Marginals/Bog Plants)

These are the plants typically found in the shallow water or moist soil around the edge of a pond, and include cattails, reeds, rushes, water iris, and water canna. They provide a variety of heights and textures to the pond; some are grown more for foliage, while others are grown more for blooms. Tropical species must be brought in for winter (treat as a houseplant, giving as much light as possible, and reducing watering as you would a normal houseplant), while hardy species may be left outside. Of the hardy species, most are winter dormant, but a few are evergreen.

Small species should be planted in smaller pots, but the larger ones may be planted in 15” diameter, shallow pots; like hardy waterlilies, they need wide, shallow pots, as their rhizomes tend to grow across the soil rather than deeply. Wide, shallow pots are better for stability, and help in oxygen penetration. Place short species in shallower water, with no more than 2” of water over the soil surface; taller species may be placed in deeper water, even up to 2’ deep. As a general rule, don’t put more than 25% of the plant’s height under water. Fertilize as with hardy waterlilies.

The primary function of this class of plants is beauty, but nutrient absorption is also very important. Many marginals are fast growing, and can absorb many nutrients. If used in a bog filter outside the main pond, marginal plants can effectively filter any pond and control algae, even those with large fish. Bog filters are inexpensive and incredibly efficient, requiring little maintenance and considerably enhancing the landscaping around the pond when properly designed.

Once you’ve gathered your supplies and your bare root plants have arrived, it is time to plant them. Keep your plant wet while you’re planting it, so that the leaves don’t dry out. Use a heavy clay soil, loam garden soil or aquatic planting media and fertilize with PondTabbs Fertilizer Tabs, about once every 1-2 months. Start by selecting the right size plant pot or fabric planting bag. Fill your plant pot approximately 3/4 full with the soil, then make a hole in the center of the soil large enough for the plant’s roots. While placing it in the hole, hold the plant upright and fill the hole with soil around the plant’s roots. Pack the soil around the crown of the plant, so that it holds the plant upright. However, do not cover the crown of the plant. Then, top with some pea gravel. The pea gravel helps to make sure the soil won't float away. Remember, do not cover the crown with the pea gravel or stones, as this may hinder the plant's growth. Your plant is now ready to be placed in the pond. We recommend fertilizing your lily monthly.

Submerged "Oxygenating" Plants

These grow under the surface of the water. Most do not root or are weakly rooting, such as anacharis and hornwort. Strongly rooting submerged plants are vallisneria and dwarf sagittaria.

Submerged plants aren’t usually much to look at, although they are pretty in a subtle way. Their primary function is nutrient absorption, some shading of the water column, and fresh salad for fish to nibble on (they are an excellent source of fresh vitamins, chlorophyll, enzymes, and minerals).

Submerged oxygenating plants should be planted in shallow pots with loam soil, aquatic plant media, or pea gravel to submerge them.


Exotic and showy, lotus are in a class of their own—not only for their size and grandeur, but also because they are a cross between waterlilies and shallow water plants in their growth habit. Their large circular leaves will grow several feet out of the water, and they send their blooms up among and above the leaves. Winter hardy, they nevertheless look lush and tropical, and boast large blooms. For best effect, grow them only in shallow water in full sun. Use large, shallow tubs.

The main reason for shallow water and full sun is to maximize heat. In cooler climates, lotus need sufficient heat to allow them to grow strongly. The minimum tub to grow a standard sized lotus is 2’ across, and 3’ or more is even better. Shallow tubs are fine, even preferred, and no more than 3” to 4” is required. Do not fertilize until the first lotus leaves begin to grow above the water surface, and once the lotus begin growing strongly, fertilize more heavily. The primary function of lotus is definitely beauty, although they shade and absorb nutrients quite well.

Standard lotus can grow 5’ or taller. To do this, and to also maximize the size and frequency of bloom, they should be potted into a container approx. 2’ across. Use a heavy clay soil, loam garden soil or aquatic planting media. Do not use a commercial house plant or garden mix, as the ingredients float. Use a good aquatic plant fertilizer. Because lotus grow vigorously, use double the amount of fertilizer per gallon of soil that the label recommends for hardy waterlilies. In the spring, lotus will make floating leaves first, then standing leaves. It is best to begin fertilizing when the lotus is starting to make standing leaves, because it is hard to over-fertilize a fast-growing lotus, but it is easy to over-fertilize them when they are just beginning to sprout. In the autumn, stop fertilizing so that lotus can exhaust the fertilizer in their pot in preparation for dormancy.

The soil in the container should have at least 2” to 4” of water over the top of it, so that the soil is always under water. Taller standard lotus can grow in water up to 18” deep or even deeper in warm climates, but it takes more energy, and in spring and in cool climates lotus benefit from the extra warmth in shallow water. Dwarf lotus should be grown in water between 2” and 12” deep.

Plant Hardiness Zone

The Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones.

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