Marginal and Bog Plants

what is often referred to as bog plants are not bog plants at all. The distinction between bog plants and marginal plants is the difference in the type of soil and water in which they grow. The legitimate bog plant is one which is grown in soils rich in acidity and have lots of peat. Carnivorous plants fall into the bog plant variety. Marginal plants are grown in topsoil and soil which contains some clay. Marginal plants are also called emergent plants. A marginal plant is a plant which grows with its roots in wet soil, but the body of the plant is above the water, or emerges out of the water. These plants are found along the sides of ponds, streams and lakes, growing in the shallow water or along the water’s edge. They are found in freshwater swamps and marshes, and wet lowlands.

Planting- Before planting your marginal plant, it is important that you know some things about your plant. Since the marginal plants vary in size and needs, you need to consider several factors in deciding the type plant you want and what its needs are.  What size pot do you need? For example, a one gallon pot will not hold most taro plants very long because they grow such large plants. However, a one gallon pot might be used to grow rain lilies.  What type of soil do you need? Is your plant a true bog plant? If so make sure you have a mixture of sand and peat moss to plant it in. If it is a true marginal, you need a good top soil (do not use potting soil!) and preferably, one with some clay content.  Is your plant a tropical or hardy variety? This is important because you need to know whether or not you can leave the plant out in the winter, or do you need to take care to protect it through the winter. If it is a tropical, you may need to consider the pot size and its difficulty to get it out of the pond in the fall. Once you have taken these considerations and decided on your plant, planting is fairly easy. I find it best to add fertilizer to the bottom of the pot before adding soil. I use pond fertilizer tablets, but some use other forms of fertilizer. Putting the fertilizer in the bottom will allow the plants roots to grow to the fertilizer and reduce burning them. Place soil on top of the fertilizer and place the plant roots into the soil. Depending on the length of the roots, this depth will vary. You can trim the roots before planting, but do not over trim them. Remember, your plant receives its nourishment from its roots. Trimming the roots back some will encourage the plant to produce more roots, but over trimming it will cause your plant to “starve” to death. I usually trim the roots at the point where the longer straggly roots hang below the mass of smaller thread-like roots. Plant the plant where the “crown” (the point where the stem stands above the roots) sits atop the ground, partially buried to hold it firm. Do not cover the entire crown with soil or it will rot. Place plant into pond or fill container with water to where the water level covers the “feet” or roots, or the crown of the plant. Do not place in water deeper than what the plant will tolerate. I fertilize when I plant the plant, and then when it is starting to grow and send up leaves, I begin my fertilizing ritual. During peak growing and blooming months it is a good idea to fertilize at least every other month. Propagation- Marginal plants can be propagated in a variety of ways, depending on the plant. They can be grown from seed, but most can also be grown from divisions or rhizomes.  Some plants, such as Marble Queen melon sword, grow plants from flowers that form at the end of stems that reach out across the water. These new plants can be removed and potted up and will grow to mature plants. 

Some plants, such as arrowheads, produce new plants from tubers produced at the ends of roots. Again, these plants can be separated and planted up. 

Floating hearts are a good example of plants which form new plants from viviparous plantlets which are produced on its leaves. Once the plantlet starts producing roots, the new plant can be separated and planted. 

Some plants produce rhizomes which produce new plants. The rhizomes can be separated taking into consideration the growing tips. Rhizomes are then planted, and new plants will grow from the rhizome. Canna, rushes, and cattails are among the plants that propagate in this manner. 

Bulbous plants, such as taro, rain lilies and calla lilies. Can be propagated by separating the bulbs, and planting the bulbs individually. 

Plants such as dwarf papyrus and umbrella plant, can be divided by separating the root clumps. However, these plants also propagate in a different manner. The heads of these plants will begin to lean down toward the water’s surface as the head matures. It will also begin to grow a new plant from it’s head. When the head has bent down to the water’s surface the new plants roots will grow into the water and the new plant will grow as the stem and head die. This new plant needs to be potted up so that it can gain nutrients from the soil.

Over wintering- Depending on the type of plant, whether hardy or tropical, steps can be taken to help keep your plant safe for the following summer. Tropical plants need to be protected from freezing during the winter. Some can be moved to deeper water, where they cannot freeze. Others can be removed from the pond and stored in a warmer place for the winter, while still others can be taken out of the soil and have its tuber, bulb or rhizome stored for the winter. The safest way to over winter your plant is to take it out of the pond and put it in a place where it will remain around 50*f throughout the winter. Care must be taken to make sure the plant’s roots do not get dry during the winter’s storage.

APHIDS- Aphids can destroy the health of your plant. They are a tiny gray or black bug that will suck the life out of your plant, killing it. You will see them on the stems, usually starting under the leaves. Ants are often seen trailing back and forth to the places where the aphids are because of a sweat substance they form. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this is a way to get rid of them- (This recipe was developed after entomologists at the Agriculture Research Center in Phoenix, Arizona) The found that a spray of soybean oil protected cotton from aphids and white flies. Mixing one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent with one cup of cooking oil as a base. When aphids or white flies are found, mix one to two and one half teaspoons of the detergent oil mix with one cup of water. The detergent causes the oil to emulsify in the water. It can be sprayed on the water lilies every ten days. Rinse mixture off of the plants within 10 minutes to protect the plant. Besides aphids, the mixture works against whiteflies and spider mites. An alternative method is to spray them with cooking oil, or to drown them.

Lotuses

Lotus plants are of the species Nelumbo and are perennials. There are basic species of the genus: N. lutea, found in North America, and N. nucifera, found mainly in the Orient, but also in a few other locations. They need the summer's heat of at least 75 degrees to bring them into bloom. Due to their need of warmer weather, they begin blooming later in the season than lilies. If the water is warm enough, they can bloom even in partially shaded areas. They bloom during the day, opening in the morning, and closing in the afternoon. Blooms usually last for three days. Lotus need to be fertilized heavily during the growing season. Lotus reproduce by seeds and by tubers. Their tubers are extremely delicate, and if the growing tip is broken, the plant will most likely die. Because of this, lotus should be grown in round pots, allowing the tuber to continue to grow unimpeded. Division of tubers should only be done during the hibernating period when the leaves have died and before new growth begins. Due to their size, standard sized lotus need to be planted in round containers that are at least 2' in diameter and 10" deep. The smaller, or dwarf-sized (bowl) lotus, can be grown in 18” containers. Because these large pots are difficult to handle in a pond, many gardeners grow the lotus in watertight pots or containers as a small water garden themselves.

Planting- Wash tuber before planting to remove any debris, etc. from the plant. The growing tip is very brittle and easily broken. If broken the plant will not survive! Be extremely careful in unpacking and in planting your lotus. You are receiving tubers with at least 2 growing tips, so that if one gets broken, the plant will still grow and survive. You only have to have one growth tip for the plant to survive. Try not to break any of the tips, however. If the tubers get broken, or the leaf stem gets broken, the plant will still live. Tubers should be planted in shallow (10-12 inches deep) round containers. Place 5 or 6 aquatic plant fertilizer tabs in the bottom and around the edges of the container and cover with 6" of soil or more. Place your tuber about two inches from the side and running parallel with the sides so that the growing tip will grow around the edges of the pot. Place a small flat stone on the tuber if necessary to hold the tuber in place so that the roots stay in contact with the soil. Cover the tuber with 1” inch of soil, but do not cover the leaf part of the leaf stem, or the growth tip. You can add more soil when the leaf stem is taller, if needed. Be careful for new growth if you do add soil, however. Add water slowly and cover the soil with approx. 2"-3" of warm water, or place in pond with preferably no more than 5-6 inches of water over the top of the soil.. I fertilize when I plant the tuber/runner, and then when it is starting to grow and send up leaves, I begin my fertilizing ritual. During peak growing and blooming months it is a good idea to fertilize more often than once a month. My fertilizer of choice is pond fertilizer tablets.

Over wintering- Lotus tubers need to be protected from freezing during the winter. They need to be moved to deeper water, where they cannot freeze. If you can not move them to deeper water you must store the tuber in a place where they will not freeze. Gently wash the tuber off after it has died down for the winter, and treat it with a fungicide. Then place it in moist kitty litter in a bag or container, making sure not to damage or break the growing tip. Place it in a cool location for the winter. Repot it in the spring. Divide at least every 2 years before the tuber comes out of hibernation.

SHIPPING-  ALL PLANTS ARE SHIPPED BARE ROOT, WHICH MEANS THEY ARE SHIPPED WITHOUT SOIL. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR PLANTING THEM IN YOUR POTS. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS FOR YOU TO USE TO KNOW HOW TO PLANT THE PLANT, CARE FOR THE PLANT, and over winter it.

THE BUYER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL SHIPPING COSTS.  PRICES DO NOT INCLUDE SHIPPING FEES.

ALL PLANTS ARE SHIPPED USPS PRIORITY MAIL.

About the Plants


Inspected and Certified by the  TN Department of Agriculture

HARDY WATER LILIES

 Hardy water lilies might be considered the perennial water lily, due to its ability to come back each year in the spring. The plant will go dormant in the winter, and if the tuber does not freeze, it will come back in the spring. Hardy water lilies usually can live in zones as low as zone 4. They need sunshine, heat, fertilizer and water to survive, however. Hardy water lilies typically do not hold their blooms as high above the water as tropical water lilies, and they do not produce as many blooms at a time. They do produce beautiful blooms which may be red, pink, yellow or white. Although hybridizers are attempting to create a blue hardy lily, there are none on the market at present. There are no night blooming hardy lilies. The hardy lily blooms usually open in the early to mid-morning and close in the mid to late afternoon. A few hardy lilies are not as heat tolerant as others, and may “burn” in zones above zone 8. This causes the blooms to blacken at the edges of the petals, and to wilt. Sometimes the heat will even keep the plant from blooming at all. These varieties are generally among the red blooming lilies. To help counter this, some people have put these lilies in ponds that are shaded during the hottest part of the day. Hardy lilies are also smaller in their spread than tropical lilies. This allows for more plants and varieties to be kept in a smaller area. Easy to care for, perennial, varying in colors, are among the reasons people enjoy growing hardy lilies in their ponds.

Planting-A pot big enough to give your lily enough room to grow in. Plastic pots work best. You should get a pot that is at least 6" deep, and 8" in diameter, depending on the size of your tuber. As the plant ages and grows, the pot size will have to be increased.  Top soil with some clay basis. Do not use potting soil or any soil with peat moss or vermiculite in it. They will float and make a mess in your pond. Small gravel or sand to cover the surface of your pot 1/2 inch thick.  Fertilizer (pond tablets are preferred) Your lily is probably bare root, meaning it has no soil, when shipped. Where you see the smaller leaves growing is the growing tip. Larger leaves will also be growing primarily from this end. The other end is the cut end, and nothing will grow from that end. Do not allow the growing tip to dry out at any time. If allowed to dry, the plant will die. You will want to keep the growing tip above the soil when planted. Fill the pot with the soil to about 2" from the top of the rim, with a "ditch" in the middle, starting at the edge. The ditch should be about 2 or 3 inches deep. Place the tuber in the "ditch, with the cut end next to the edge of the pot, and the growing tip angling up out of the soil. Cover the tuber's cut end and fill the pot with soil to about 1" below the rim of the pot. Make sure the growing tip is still 1" above the soil level. Push fertilizer tablets into soil. Avoid placing tablets directly against the plant's roots. Cover the tablets with soil, and pack down soil around plant and in pot. Add gravel or sand to an approximate depth of 1/2 inch. Make sure the growing tip is above this level. Gradually, lower the pot into your pond, allowing the pot to fill with water, and the air bubbles to escape. Remember to check your lily annually to see if it needs to be divided, or repotted.

Propagation- You should stop fertilizing the lilies in mid-September to mid-October, depending on how early your first freeze comes. This will cause the plant to start growing it’s “tuber.” The tubers are the means by which new plants will be produced the next spring. The tubers produce plants identical to the mother plant. The main tuber can grow to several feet long if the plant is not divided at least every two years. Not all tubers grow to this size, however. The tuber will have smaller tubers grow from it and they will produce new plants at their tips. These new tubers can be separated from the other tubers with the plant growing from their tip. This is called “dividing” and the new tuber and plant is to then be potted up on its own. A few hardy lilies are “viviparous.” This type of lily occasionally will produce new plants from an existing bloom. These new plants are usually formed when the bloom is ready to die, and should be left on the stem until the pad is gone. The new plant will continue to grow while attached until the stem is decayed also, but it is best not to wait that long before removing the plant from the stem and planting it in its own pot. The new plant will be identical to the mother plant. Hardy lilies will also reproduce by seeds as well. When planting hardy lily seeds, as with other water and land seeds, seeds that are hybrids or produced by hybrid mother plants, will not be the same as the mother plant. Planting of these seeds may or may not produce plants that look like the mother plant and should not be labeled with the name of the mother plant. New varieties of plants are created by the crossing or hybridization of these seeds.

OVER WINTERING- The best way to keep your plants over the winter is to move the pot to deeper water, below the freeze line. Hardy lilies can be kept as far north as zone, if the tubers are not allowed to freeze. The plant will die back when frost hits, and the dead can be removed. The pot then must be moved to deeper water before a “hard” freeze hits. If you cannot move the plant to deeper water, move the pot to a place where the plant can be 1) kept from freezing, 2) in a low light location and 3) kept wet.

Dividing the plant- 1) I take the plant out of the pot, 2) Wash all of the soil off of it. 3) Break the new tubers (I refer to them as fingers) apart from the main tuber. I throw away all rotted tubers and keep only the tubers with new "crowns" or plants started on them.

APHIDS and WHITE FLIES- Aphids can destroy the health of your plant. They are a tiny gray or black bug that will suck the life out of your plant, killing it. You will see them on the stems, usually starting under the leaves. Ants are often seen trailing back and forth to the places where the aphids are because of a sweat substance they form. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this is a way to get rid of them- (This recipe was developed after entomologists at the Agriculture Research Center in Phoenix, Arizona) They found that a spray of soybean oil protected cotton from aphids and white flies. You mix one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent with one cup of cooking oil as a base. When aphids or white flies are found, mix one to two and one half teaspoons of the detergent oil mix with one cup of water. The detergent causes the oil to emulsify in the water. It can be sprayed on the water lilies every ten days. Rinse mixture off of the plants within 10 minutes to protect the plant. Besides aphids, the mixture works against whiteflies and spider mites. An alternative method is to spray them with cooking oil, or to drown them, as they cannot swim.

CHINA MARKER MOTH LARVA- Roller worms, as they are commonly called, are actually the larvae of the China Marker moth. They eat off part of the leaf of a plant and then cover themselves with the leaf part as they eat on the lily leaf. This is also destructive to your plant. They can be removed by physically removing them from the plant and crushing them. Or you can kill them using a caterpillar insecticide. I use Dipel dust on mine.


TROPICAL LILIES

Planting lilies and keeping them happy is not extremely difficult. Just remember to follow these few easy instructions. If you are not able to plant the lily immediately, take the lily out of the box and bag, and place it in water. A bucket will be fine temporarily. You will need: A pot big enough to give your lily enough room to grow in. Plastic pots work best. You should get a pot that is at least 6" deep, and 8" in diameter. As the plant ages and grows, the pot size will have to be increased. Top soil with some clay basis. Do not use potting soil or any soil with peat moss or vermiculite in it. They will float and make a mess in your pond. Small gravel or sand to cover the surface of your pot 1/2 inch thick. Fertilizer (pond fertilizer tablets are my preference) Your lily is probably bare root, meaning it has no soil, when shipped. Do not allow the plant's roots to dry out at any time. If allowed to dry, the plant will die. Fill the pot with the soil to about 2" from the top of the rim, with a "hole" in the middle. The hole should be about 2 or 3 inches deep. Place the plant in the "hole", with the plant stem out of the soil. Cover the roots and fill the pot with soil to about 1" below the rim of the pot. Make sure the plant is above the soil level. Push fertilizer tablets into soil. Avoid placing tablets directly against the plant's roots. Cover the tablets with soil, and pack down soil around plant and in pot. Add gravel or sand to an approximate depth of 1/2 inch. Make sure the plant is above this level. Gradually, lower the pot into your pond, allowing the pot to fill with water, and the air bubbles to escape. Remember to check your lily annually to see if it needs to be divided, or repotted.

Propagation- You should stop fertilizing the lilies in mid-September to mid-October, depending on how early your first freeze comes. Starving the plants at the end of the season makes them most likely to form one or more small, firm and durable tubers (corms) in the roots system. These can be the size of a pea on up to the size of an egg. The corms are the means by which new plants will be produced the next spring. The corms produced plants identical to the mother plant. Some lilies are “viviparous.” This type of lily produces new plants from the leaf pad at the place where the stem attaches to the pad. These new plants are usually formed when the pad is ready to die, and should be left on the stem until the pad is gone. The new plant will continue to grow while attached until the stem is decayed also, but it is best not to wait that long before removing the plant from the stem and planting it in its own pot. The new plant will be identical to the mother plant. There are many plants with this characteristic. They also will reproduce by corms, and also produce seeds as well. Not all tropical lily hybrids produce fertile seeds, but some do. When planting tropical lily seeds, as with other water and land seeds, seeds that are hybrids or produced by hybrid mother plants, will not be the same as the mother plant. Planting of these seeds may or may not produce plants that look like the mother plant and should not be labeled with the name of the mother plant. New varieties of plants are created by the crossing or hybridization of these seeds. Replant the tubers out in the pond when the water temps are above 70, or start them by planting in an aquarium or container where they will have 70* + temps, and sunlight if you want to get them started early. They will begin to sprout new leaves within a few weeks. When the plants are starting to send up floating pads, you need to separate the plants, as most often the corm will produce more than one new plant. If you allow all plants to grow together without dividing them you reduce the number of blooms you will receive.

Over Wintering- Once the plant has formed, the corm, also called tuber, it should be broken off from the parent plant and washed clean of all soil. They then should be stored in lightly damp sand for the winter in a plastic zip lock bag at a temperature of 50 to 55 degrees. This method of storing the corms for the winter is preferred, and it is the method I use personally. An alternative to the above is to place the plants in a greenhouse that maintains a 65* or higher temp throughout the winter. This works, if you have a heated greenhouse. Or place plants in a heated aquarium with sufficient light to maintain the plants throughout the winter. You would need a large aquarium and high intensity lighting with the right spectrums to maintain the lilies through the winter, but some people keep their lilies this way. The success rate of doing plants this way is not very great due to most growers do not have the right kind of lighting. Lastly, another alternative is that you can try moving your plants to deeper water after they have formed corms if the water where they will remain for the winter is at least 55*. I do not recommend this. However, I have found that a few varieties of tropical lilies are able to tolerate colder temps than others and occasionally do survive outdoors over the winter in zones 6 or higher. Miami Rose and Rhonda Kay are two of the more consistent ones from my experience.

APHIDS and WHITE FLIES- Aphids can destroy the health of your plant. They are a tiny gray or black bug that will suck the life out of your plant, killing it. You will see them on the stems, usually starting under the leaves. Ants are often seen trailing back and forth to the places where the aphids are because of a sweat substance they form. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this is a way to get rid of them- (This recipe was developed after entomologists at the Agriculture Research Center in Phoenix, Arizona) The found that a spray of soybean oil protected cotton from aphids and white flies. Mixing one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent with one cup of cooking oil as a base. When aphids or white flies are found, mix one to two and one half teaspoons of the detergent oil mix with one cup of water. The detergent causes the oil to emulsify in the water. It can be sprayed on the water lilies every ten days. Rinse mixture off of the plants within 10 minutes to protect the plant. Besides aphids, the mixture works against whiteflies and spider mites. An alternative method is to spray them with cooking oil, or to drown them, as they cannot swim.

CHINA MARKER MOTH LARVA- Roller worms, as they are commonly called, are actually the larvae of the China Marker moth. They eat off part of the leaf of a plant and then cover themselves with the leaf part as they eat on the lily leaf. This is also destructive to your plant. They can be removed by physically removing them from the plant and crushing them. Or you can kill them using a caterpillar insecticide. I use Dipel dust on mine.