Winter Care for Aquatic Plants

Posted by Cathy Green on

The leaves are falling and it's time to prepare for the cooler weather!

When preparing for the cold days to come, it's important to identify the tropical and hardy plants in your water garden. The care for each will be quite different and will follow thusly:


Hardy plants, or annuals, should come back in spring, so you can prep them by cutting back foliage when it begins to yellow or sink. You will want to do your pruning before the first frost. Submersibles like hornwort and anacharis can simply be pushed down to the bottom, away from a surface that may freeze over. Tall reeds and grasses can be left to dry to provide winter interest in ice and snow.


Tropical plants, or perennials, are not made to survive past winter, but you can increase the odds you have taros and palms ready for spring with the following steps. As soon as the foliage of your tropical plants begins to turn, bring them inside to a container of ample water in a pot without holes. A semi-warm garage or greenhouse sitting above 45 degrees will work just as well. Trim old foliage to a size that is conducive for you to move and keep inside. Shade loving tropical plants make nice house plants. Sun loving tropical plants may need a sunny window or a grow light. Keep the water fresh and utilize an aerator to maintain oxygen in the tub. 

Are waterlilies the crown gems of your pond? We understand!

Tropical waterlilies can be kept through the winter. Leave the plant outside through the first frost to allow the a nut at the crown. Remove the plant from the pond. Here we have a few different options:

1. You may remove the plant from the pot and store it in sand or peat in a plastic box. Place it in a dark space. In spring float the plant in warm water to sprout new leaves. ( Small aquariums work well) Replace in the pond when the water temperature maintains 70 degrees.

2. Remove the plant from the pot and place in a mason jar of water sealed shut. Keep the jar sealed to keep oxygen in . Keep jar at room temperature. Replant when water temperature is 70 degrees.

3. Keep the plant potted and submerse the whole plant in a barrel with a sealed lid shut. Keep it at 45 degrees ( Put it by the hot water heater) and replace the following season when the pond water is 70 degrees.

4. Put the potted plant in a tub 26 in diameter inside where it will maintain above 45 degrees. Add water to the tub or put a small pump or aerator on the tub. Using an underwater light will help keep water temperature warmer. Replace when the pond is 70 degrees.

For a list of plants that perform well throughout the Autumn and Winter, check out the Winter Interest article under Education!