August 25, 2021

What Do You Need to Do When Your Pond is in The Shade?

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How to Care for a Pond in the Shade

You can put a water feature just about anywhere. But each location will have unique design and maintenance considerations. Many ponds have shade or partial shade, and that’s a great spot to be in. Backyards with mature trees and shade loving plants are also a great place to install a water feature! So, if you don’t have that much sun available, don’t worry. With a little planning, your shady spot can be home to a thriving pond. Here’s what you need to know.

Advantages to Having a Pond in The Shade

One big advantage to a pond in the shade is it will be less susceptible to algae blooms. When sunlight cannot reach the water, it minimizes the process of photosynthesis from occurring. This which inhibits algae growth. That’s not to say a pond in the shade can never grow algae and we still recommend adding beneficial bacteria at least weekly and doing an annual cleanout . Ecosystem ponds are designed for low maintenance – water, plants, algae, rocks, bacteria and fish all work together to create a balanced environment.

Plants for Shady Ponds

One of the main challenges with shady ponds is selecting the right plants to grow in the water. Because of the lack of sunlight, many popular aquatic flowering plants like water lilies and lotus will not bloom. But plants still play an important role in the ecosystem of a shady pond. Plants release oxygen, which provides aeration for fish and prevents water from becoming anaerobic, which will produce bad smells.

What Aquatic Plants Do Well in Shade?

Most flowering aquatic plants are not a match with a shady pond, but there are still varieties that do well in these spots. We recommend planting these aquatic plants in a pot so that they don’t spread and take over your pond: Cannas are also a good option, although they do best in partial sun. As a bonus, here are plants that you can find at most garden centers. If you remove all the potting soil from their roots, you can plant them in a pot or in the gravel of a pond or stream: If you’re looking for something really special, go to a tropical plant store. They have “understory plants” that need a lot of water. Most of these varieties will do well in the water as a marginal plant, since their native habitats are in the rainforest. You’ll need to remove these plants from your water feature before frost.

Trees Around Shady Ponds

Trees around a pond seem like a great idea until autumn, especially around shady ponds. Once leaves start to fall, they will land in the water, clog pumps and filters, cover plants and fish, and potentially add tannins (depending on the tree) that will turn the water a darker/stained color. Leaves that you don’t remove will decompose and turn into pond muck. This muck is rich in nutrients and great food for algae. This means that later in the season when there are no leaves to block the sunlight, photosynthesis will occur and algae can bloom even in the cold winter water. We highly recommend netting ponds that are surrounded by large trees. An unobtrusive net means you can still enjoy the sights and sounds of your water feature without worrying about leaf clean up. Check out our guide to pond netting.

Making The Most of Your Shady Pond Area

Whether you’re dreaming of a robust koi pond or need assistance maintaining your current shady piece of paradise, Good Earth Water Gardens can help. Our pond pros can help you establish and maintain a healthy ecosystem in your pond. We’re happy to serve the entire Kansas City metro area. If you have any questions, please contact us today!

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