photo courtesy of
Christy Fix

Koi Pond

Photo credit: Jeanette Summers

Leopard Frog

Photo credit: Jeanette Summers

Leopard Frog

Photo credit: Jeanette Summers

Pink Water Lily

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Greater Phoenix Pond Society

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Place pointer over a question's link.

 Note: The Greater Phoenix Pond Society does not necessarily endorse businesses whose website may be linked,
 nor do we guarantee the quality of their products.

Similar FAQs are grouped by links below:

Plants , Aeration , Ponds , Fish , General Information
Aquatic and Other Critters , Technical Committee Reports.


Question: Can Irises grow in the Phoenix desert area?
The answer is yes. Irises come in different types. Those that will grow in the Phoenix desert area are: Bearded, Aril and Arilbred, Spuria, and Louisiana. Of those types the first four are land locked (webmaster's terminology about Irises) plants. Only Louisiana Irises are aquatic (webmaster's terminology about Irises) and love to have wet feet. Louisianan irises are great for bogs.

There are varieties of each type that bloom early, middle, and late in the season. Irises like sun, but if only partial sun is available -- morning sun of six hours is preferred. Irises will not bloom in deep shade. Land locked Irises like well drained soil. Water should not stand in the bed. They like good air circulation. Provide space according to the type of iris.

The American Iris Society, Inc. (AIS) is the national non-profit organization and its website is AIS has regions and Arizona is part of Region 15 and has a web site The Greater Phoenix area has the "Sun Country Iris Society" and contact information may be found at

There are Iris Societies in the Prescot area named "Prescott Area Iris Society" (PAIS), and Tucson named "Tucson Area Iris Society" (TAIS) with a website

Question: Is there a plant watering guide for this desert area?   

Question: Can daylilies grow in the Phoenix area?
The answer is yes, but they need to be special versions that do not go dormant. They can not take the hot summer sun directly. While they need sunlight to bloom, morning is best, but they need shade from the afternoon glaring sun. Darker flowers burn up sooner than the yellow or pink. They also may need some special attention with watering and insulating the roots (in double pots with air gaps or insulation.

There is no website for the greater phoenix area, yet anyway. But, there is a local organization that is a part of the national.

The American Hemerocallis Society, Inc. (AHS) is a non-profit organization and its website is It has regions and Arizona is part of Region 7. The Greater Phoenix area has the "Desert Daylily Society" and contact information may be found at They have a Daylily Tour and a Daylily Show annually. They only meet ever two or three months at the Scottsdale Civic Center.

A Daylily lover website can be found at  image stating updated!

Question: Is there a Canna Virus affecting the Cannas?   
The answer is yes, and appears to have spread world wide.

Be careful mail ordering Cannas.

Here is a links to information about canna virus and pests.

Question: What is the name of the water lily plant with the huge leaves?   
Reprinted in part, with permission of The Hudson Gardens Logo image for The Hudson Gardens.

The three to nine foot wide lily is commonly called Victoria or Victoria Amazon.

Also known as:
- Queen of the Water Lilies
- Royal Water Lily
- Amazon Water Lily
- Santa Cruz Water Lily
- Giant Water Platter

The large leaves have spiny underside that protects it from being eaten by some fish.

Victoria is a genus of water lilies, in the plant family Nymphaeaceae, and two species Victoria amazonica and the Victoria cruziana. They are water plants with very large leaves that float on the water's surface. Victoria amazonica has a leaf that is up to 9 ft in diameter, on a stalk 22-26 ft in length. The genus name was given in honor of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. It is native to the Amazon River basin, hence part of the name.

The day before the plant flowers, a tennis-ball sized bud rises out of the water. At sunset on the first night of its bloom cycle, the bud opens to reveal a 50+ petal bloom that may be up to 18" in diameter. The bloom is sharply white and glows in the darkening night sky. As the flowering Victoria opens, it emits a strong fragrance of tuberose, pineapple and banana that can be sensed from 20 - 30 feet away. It also radiates heat and is considerably warmer than the surrounding air. At this stage, the Victoria is female, seeking to be pollinated. The bright flower, heat, and strong fragrance combine to attract pollinating scarab beetles. Several pollen - covered beetles enter the flower and stay for the night, feasting on the starchy nectar. As dawn approaches, the temperature of the flower cools, and the fragrance disappears. The bloom closes and traps the beetles inside for the day, allowing the pollen-covered beetles to fertilize the Victoria. At sunset of the second night, the bloom re-opens and the beetles are released. At this point, the flower has pink or red petals, and has changed not only color, but gender as well-- it is now male. The beetles leave in search of a first-night blooming Victoria, and the original flower remains open for the rest of the night. After the second night ends, the pollinated flower sinks back into the water, allowing the seeds to germinate and mature.

The flowers are white the first night they are open and become pink the second night, and are gone the next day. The night-blooming flowers that appear for only 48 hours once a year, in late July to early August. However each plant may produce multiple blooms.
Since those beetles are not native to the USA, the flowers must be hand pollenated.

Victoria Longwood is a hybrid created by crossing the two native plants, the Victoria amazonica and the Victoria cruziana produced by The Hudson Gardens, Littleton, CO

The growing season, the container and the size of the pond influence the size of the leaves. Dead leaves must be removed quickly to reduce the development of loads of muck in the bottom of the pond.

Question: Is there a plant related to the Victoria?
Euryale ferox is closely related to the Victoria. Webmaster presumes authorization to link to the webpages at, due to no-reply by the webmaster @:

Question: Is floating water hyacinth a noxious weed in Arizona? - What about Parrot's feather?
The short answer is YES to water hyacinth (WH) being declared a noxious weed! WH is listed on the Arizona Department of Agriculture (AZDA) web site page "Prohibited, Regulated and Restricted Noxious Weeds." Floating water hyacinth appears under all three headings: Prohibited, Regulated, and Restricted. "Prohibited" plant are prohibited from entry (shipped) into the state. "Regulated" and "Restricted" plants if found within the state shall be quarantined to prevent further infestation or contamination. What does that mean, if found on your property - you will be required to destroy them.

Note: GPPS Webmaster -- If a business sells plants, they are inspected by the AZDA for compliance with the noxious weed restrictions. So plants sold at nursureys and do-it-yourself centers should be safe to purchase. However, do NOT trust online vendors -- they may not know the particulars of Arizona.

Source: Arizona Department of Agriculture

University of Arizona, Cooperative Extension: "The term noxious weed is not the same as invasive plant. An important distinction is that noxious weed is a regulatory term and is any plant designated by a federal, state or county government to be injurious to public health, agriculture, recreation, wildlife, or property. Noxious weeds are regulated with respect to their transport, sale, and eradication efforts. Not all invasive plants that occur in Arizona are noxious weeds." Note: GPPS Webmaster -- Parrot's feather is "invasive" but not noxious.

Source: University of Arizona, Cooperative Extension: "Invasive Plants on Small Acreage Properties in Arizona" (pdf)

This answer has been reviewed by AZDA, Plant Services Department as being accurate.

Question: Is there a difference between Water Hyacinth and Frog's Bit?
Both plants are invasive and can choke other plants out of waterways. Frog's Bit is native to Florida. It is not listed, currently, on the AZ Department of Agricultures list. Two Utube videos were found about identifying the Water Hyacinth and Frog's Bit.

Youtube: "Water Hyacinth"

Youtube: "Frog's Bit"

Question: Are there categories of water plants?
Plants vary within four categories: deep-water, marginals, oxygenators, and floaters.

Question: How do plants filter a pond?
Plants use nitrates and phosphates removing them and thereby filtering the pond. These items could contribute to algae growth.

Question: Do water lilies require sunlight?
Both hardy and tropical water lilies like sun light. They need at least five to ten hours per day, along with regular fertilization, to keep them happy.

Question: What is the difference between a hardy lily and a tropical lily?
Tropical lilies have many blooms per plant than hardy lilies, and go dormant in the winter time. Tropicals are strongly aromatic and hold flowers above the water. Many tropicals have viviparous leaves and flowers come in all colors. Hardy lilies have slight to no aroma. Hardy lily flowers float on water surface and there are no blue or purple colors. Hardy lilies keep their foliage all year round and have no viviparous leaves. Many varieties of tropical lilies are night bloomers, whereas hardy lilies do not.

Source is a chart from William Tricker, Inc., 7125 Tanglewood Dr., Independence, OH 44131. It is copyrighted material. Permission has been granted to link to this chart by the company. Note the link will open a separate instance of your browser.

Characteristics of Tropical Water Lily and Hardy Water Lilly

Question: What are marginal plants in a water garden?
Marginals (sometimes called "bog" plants) are grass-like plants grow in shallow areas no deeper than six inches. They border the water garden. Some examples are: Cattail, bamboo, rush, and papyrus. Other plants fall into the family of marginals and grow with a minimum of three hours of sun light.

The "Hughes Water Garden" link describing marginal plants

Question: Propagating tropical water lilies?
Viviparous (vip's) starts grow easily in conditions that they like. No special equipment is required, 70-80 degree water, fair to good light.

Once the vip's have formed roots and shoots, they are independent plants and will continue to develop as long as conditions remain favorable.

Question: Where would I find the clay soil for repotting my water lilies?
Some people feel that the unsented kitty liter is the best for water lilies because it is normally clay based. Where ever you can find unsented kitty liter that is clay based is the best comment on where to find it.

Two of our members has cited a red 25 pound bag at Wal-Mart as the cheapest and manageable.

Two other members have cited sand from the building and garden departments of Home Depot and Lowes. They add some of their own top soil.

One member cited "pond plant soil", which looks suspiciously like sand, at Summer Winds Nursery.

Question: What elephant's ear can I plant and where?
There are three genuses of plants known as elephant's ear. alocasia, colocasia, and xanthisoma colocasia.

Alocasia is the taro that is grown in standing water all over the Pacific as food. There are many cultivars that are popular ornamentals for ponds and bogs. Many have dark purple or almost black leaves. Alocasia will grow in moist soil as well as standing water.

Colocasia is the genus of the Giant elephants'ear and 'african mask' grown as a house plant. It is native to Central and South America. Colocasia will rot in water. So no standing water.

Xanthisoma colocasia like to be in water up to 6 in. But, xanthisoma must dry out a little every once in a while, just not bone dry.

A regular fertilizing every month is good during the growing season. A balanced, 20-20-20, fertilizer or water-soluble kind such as Miracle Grow or Peters is fine.

Question: Can I introducing pests and diseases to my plants?
The answer is YES, unless you make preparations to disinfect any new plant before adding it into your water garden.

Two methods are: potassium permanganate (pp) crystals dissolved at the rate of about 1 tablespoon per 2 gallons of water is an effective disinfectant. Soak plants in this pp solution for a couple of hours. Also soak the leaves (no roots) in a vinegar solution of about 10 mil per 10 liters of water.

Question: What are some oxygenating plants?
A few are: Hornwort, Water Thyme, Parrot Feather, and Mares Tail.

The "Hughes Water Garden" link describing oxygenating plants

Question: What are some floating plants?
A few are: Water Lettuce, Water Soldier, Floating Fern, Duckweed, Azolla, fairy moss. A popular plant, Water Hyacinth, is illegal to sell or ship into Arizona.

The "Pond Mega Store" link describing floating plants

Question: Plant feeding in the fall or winter months?  

Question: Where is the best place for my tropical marginal plants?  

Question: How often should I fertilize the aquatic plants in my water garden?

Question: Can I have too many plants in my pond?

Question: Is there a list of ideal bog plants?  



Question: What size of air bubbles should be used to provide aeration? Don't those bubbles provide the oxygen to the water as they rise?  

Question: Where is the best place in a pond system to add aeration?

Question: How much air should I add to my Koi Pond?  

Question: Do you reduce the amount of aeration during the winter?  

Question: What affects how much oxygen is stored in water?  

Question: What are solutions to the loss of power and hence the shutting off of aeration?  

Question: What affect does the location of the air pump have on my pond?  

Question: What is a trickle filter?


Question: Are there any safety issues to consider when cleaning a pond?  

Question: Are there any GPPS members doing Aquaponics in the Greater Phoenix area?  

Question: Are there any FAQs about Aquaponics for Arizona?  

Question: How can I control the pH in my Aquaponic System here in Phoenix?   Image of: Yellow New button

Question: What is the difference between Hydroponics and Aquaponics?  

Question: Does any member of the club have a Do It Yourself pond filter design?  

Question: Was there a GPPS presntation about Pond Leaks made at a recent meeting?  

Question: What should I have a pond sitter do for me while I am away on vacation?  

Question: Is there any way to check the pond water temperature from inside my home?  

Question: What is the difference in flooming as a method of areation?  

Question: What is the "new pond syndrome?  

Question: Was there a GPPS presntation about Elevated bog into pond construction?  

Question: What are some pond construction ideas?  

Question: What is this I hear about water changes? What is the value?  

Question: How can I prevent algae growth?  
It is a common question. Algae spores are everywhere and if you have water, warmth, sunlight, and nutrients, you will grow algae. The trick is to starve the algae of light or nutrients.

Shading the pond can be the easiest.

Another deterent is UV light filter.

Lastly regular water changes assist in removing the nutrients from the pond.

Question: Barley straw for algae control?
The process of the barley straw decomposition is temperature dependent. It takes the straw longer to rot in lower water temps in turn causing it to take longer for it to become active.

Definition of year round pond operation is dependent on the climate.

Putting barley in my pond could start as early as mid-March or April, depending how early spring decides to arrive. And as late as July or August, again dependent on how long the first batch of barley lasts. That would be my definition of year round. In warmer climates a year could be close to even steven, adding barley every six months or so.

Centre For Ecology & Hydrology "Control of Algae wiht Barley Straw" Report

Question: What are pond liners?  

Question: What size of pond liner do I need to purchase for my pond?  

Question: How do I calculate the number of gallons of water are in my pond?  

Question: How do I determine the size of pump to feed my desired waterfall effect?  

Question: External Pond Pumps vs. Submersible Pond Pumps?  

Question: How often should the water turn over in the pond?  

Question: What determines if a filter is "gravity" or "pressurized"?  

Question: What's the difference between a UV Clarifier and a UV Sterilizer?  

Question: How much UV do I need for my pond?  

Question: Best and easiest way to seal a crack in hard shell liner?
It is easier to drape an EPDM liner inside the hard shell instead of trying to repair it.

Of course you have to remove the fish, plants, rocks, lights, etc.

Question: How can I keep Herons out of our pond -- and eating my fish?

Question: Will a pond cause mosquito problems in my yard?

Question: Pond Constrution FAQs?

Question: When should I add fish to my pond?

Question: I want to increase flow to my waterfall from 1,500 gph (gallon per hour) to almost 4,000 gph, what size pipe should I use?



Question: I would like to learn more about goldfish, do you know of any websites?

Question: Can goldfish and koi cross breed and create hybrid fish?

Question: How many Koi or Goldfish should I have in my pond?

Question: Doesn't the Phoenix summer heat over 110o F kill the fish?

Question: What are the fish feeding secrets?

Question: What is a koi?

Question: Is there a way to determine the sex of a koi?

Question: Must I learn Japanese to keep koi?

Question: What is the differences between koi and longfin, butterfly, or dragon koi?

Question: How do you get koi to eat from your hand?

Question: How much do koi cost?

Question: Are goldfish and koi related?

Question: Can goldfish and koi be together in the same pond?  

Question: What are the types and varieties of goldfish?

Question: What causes my goldfish to swim upside down?

Question: What fish can help control algae?  

Question: Are there any native Arizona fish for my pond?

Question: I hear there is a small mosquito eating fish?

Question: What is the AKCA?

Question: What is the AGA?

Question: What is the GFSA?


General Information

Question: Are there any pond tours in Phoenix or Tucson, AZ?

Question: Is there any information or listing of other garden clubs in the Greater Phoenix area?  

Question: Is there any information about streaming video for use with ponds?  

Question: Where can I find 55 gallon plastic barrels in the Greater Phoenix area?  

Question: Is there a table for conversion of coverage of material per bag, cubic foot, and tons of rock?  

Question: Do you know of a great source of Aquatic Information PDFs?  

Question:  What is the blue green color on some lanscape rocks seen around pond areas that is not turquoise?

Question:  Why Should I join a Koi club or water garden society?

Question: Can you list any "How To" libraries?


Aquatic and other Critters

Question: Is there an exotic bird rescue service in the Phoenix area?  

Question: Is there another turtle that does well in Phoenix area?

Question: Why do I want a dark shelled turtle in the Greater Phoenix area?

Question: How old can a red-eared slider get?

Question: What is wrong with my turtle's shell?

Question: What is the difference between a turtle and a tortoise?

Question: I have had a predator attack my fish and apparently eat them because I find the skeleton and bones -- Any idea what this may be?

Question: I am afraid of attracting bees around my pond?

Question: Which aquatic plants do the bees like the most in a pond?

Question: Is there any information about Arizona and Sonoran Desert Toads?

Question: Is there any source of information about brine shrimp?

Question: Are there snails that eat algae? Is there a better snail for ponds?

Question: Is there a large snail for ponds that lays eggs and eats plants?

Question: How do you keep snails happy?

Question: Is there an organization that can inform me about desert reptiles? You know Arizona native snakes, lizards, turtles and tortoises!

Question: Why are reptiles called cold blooded?

Question: What are the temperature ranges for a red eared slider?

Question: Is there a web site for Arizona Reptiles and Amphibians?



Technical Committee Reports

Question: The membership of the club has access to the Technical Committee that answers questions for the members -- ONLY. The Tech Committee Report(s) are provided in links!  


GPPS members are encouraged to submit FAQs to the webmaster.
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