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Winterizing Water Plants, Fish, Ponds & Fountains    Bookmark and Share

Living in cold northern climates like Minnesota, we need to take steps to insure that water plants, fish and ponds all winter successfully in our gardens.

Ponds
All water features that do not have a natural soil bottom should be drained and cleaned in the fall.
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Drain as much water from the pond as you can.
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Scrub the sides of the pond with a soft brush and rinse.
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Refill with water. (Concrete ponds should remain drained; cover with a tarp.)
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Remove the pump from the pond and place it in a pale of water; store in a heated location.

Fish

Fish can remain in the pond over the winter provided the pond is heated and doesn’t freeze.  Therefore, fish are usually brought indoors in Minnesota.
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Discontinue feeding fish when water temperature is below 55 degrees.
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Save some water from the drained pond.
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Fill an aquarium or stock tank with water drained from the pond. Small fish can be kept in a properly equipped aquarium.
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The aquarium or stock tank must have sufficient aeration.
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For additional help with over-wintering fish indoors, ask at your local pet store.

Non-Hardy Water Plants
Bachman’s can assist identifying plants if varieties are unknown.
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Most free floating (Water Hyacinths) and submerged plants are extremely tender; they are usually considered annuals and replaced each season.
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Papyrus, Umbrella Plants and Taro can be treated as a tropical plant indoors:
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Place plant in south or west window.
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Keep soil moist but not saturated.
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Move outdoors in spring once night temperatures are above 55 degrees.
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Water Cannas and Elephant Ears can be stored indoors.
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Tropical Water Lilies require a large aquarium.
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Maintain full spectrum light 12-18 hours each day.
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Maintain 75-80 degree temperatures.
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Move outdoors in the spring once the pond temperature is 65 degrees.

Hardy Water Plants

Bachman’s can assist identifying plants if varieties are unknown.
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Shallow/bog plants survive the winter relatively easily if planted directly in the garden. If the bog plant is in a container, simply prune the yellow foliage and place in the bottom of the pond; do not prune off cattails until the spring.
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Water Lilies are hardy in Minnesota provided the pond does not freeze solid to the bottom.
Either
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Remove the root from the container.
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Rinse off the root system.
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Prune all leaves and stems back to the root crown.
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Pack into a container with damp sand.
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Store in a dark, cool area such as a refrigerator or cool basement.
Or
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Prune all leaves and stems back to the root crown.
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Place the container in a dishpan.
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Store in the existing container in a dark, cool area such as a refrigerator or cool basement.
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Maintain water in the dishpan throughout the winter.

Concrete Statuary and Fountains
Because concrete statuary and fountains are vulnerable to our severe winter conditions, some special care needs to be provided.
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If possible, the pieces should be stored indoors during the winter, a shed or garage is sufficient. 
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If stored outdoors, the items should be covered with a waterproof cover that fits securely over the item.
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Remove the pump and all drains.
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Wait until the concrete is completely dry before covering the fountain or statuary.
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Wrap all bowls with burlap that might collect water or condensation.
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To prevent scratching or chipping, avoid stacking items together unless several layers of burlap or other packing material is laid between the pieces.

Related Bachman's Information
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Winter Protection for Outdoor Plants
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Winterizing Hybrid Roses
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Fountain Maintenance
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Ornamental Fish
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Rain Gardens

Bachman's Floral, Gift & Garden Centers
Your local garden expert since 1885.
bachmans.com | ©Bachman's 2012

Select source information provided by the University of Minnesota Extension, www.extension.umn.edu.

Last Updated: May 2012

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