Do I need to fertilize my pond plants?
Not always. It can depend a great deal on the quality of your water, what’s in your pond, etc, just like in a garden. If you fertilize carefully, though, most pond plants are improved by fertilization.
Can I just use regular garden fertilizer on my pond plants?
I strongly discourage this. Regular fertilizers can be extremely harsh, and aren’t formulated to avoid harming your pond’s ecosystem. They can cause major problems, from huge algae blooms to killing plants and fish. Further, they’re not usually in a form that can be delivered to the soil of the pond plants without seeping into the water. I recommend a specialized pond plant fertilizer from a reputable company, such as Aquascape. I’ve also been impressed lately with Laguna’s plant fertilizer spikes, which have the neat feature of being activated by temperature so as to only fertilize the plants during growing months. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of timing fertilization (which, as those pond owners affected by the cold spring that much of the country just experienced can attest, can be tricky).
How important is it to bury tablet fertilizers thoroughly?
With just about any pond product, I of course recommend following the included instructions very carefully. This one, though, is especially important. If the fertilizer tablets aren’t completely covered by the soil, they will leech fertilizer into the water, which can give you some pretty serious problems with algae (especially planktonic algae, the free-floating, single-cell stuff that causes pea-green water). Also, be sure that your underwater plant beds are covered adequately with stone to keep your fish from digging up the fertilizer tablets.