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Water Feature Gardening Q&A

    • Your site should be level but not at the lowest point in the garden, where anything and everything can run into it.
    • To successfully grow Water Lilies and many other aquatics, position your water feature garden to receive 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
    • Away from trees as roots make digging difficult and leaf drop in fall threatens fish and promotes algae.
    • At a safe distance from all underground utilities.
    • Close to patio/deck for maximum visual and auditory enjoyment.
    • Easy access to a garden hose and electricity for pump and/or lighting, if applicable.

    • 2-4″ of sand on the bottom so rocks/stones can’t perforate.
    • Place a board and carpenter’s level across the top of the pond to ensure it’s absolutely level.
    • Leave a wide lip of liner at the top on which you can place flagstones and/or landscape rock to finish the edge with a natural look. Trim the excess afterward.

    • If you want fish in addition to aquatic plants, you will need a depth of 3-4′ to over-winter both.
    • To achieve a depth of 3-4′, you will need to install flexible PVC (polyvinyl chloride) liner.
    • This choice of material allows you to build any size pond in any shape with sloped sides and shelves for “Marginal” plants.
    • PVC liner is also fish-safe, resistant to extreme temperatures, and easily repaired.
    • Preformed rigid ponds are not fish-friendly as they get too hot in the summer and are not deep enough to overwinter fish or hardy aquatic plants.
    • Preformed ponds are less expensive, easy to install, and transportable should you decide to move.

    • Pumps are sold based on how many gallons of water they circulate in an hour (g.p.h.). Calculate how many gallons of water are in your pond using the following formulas:
    • Rectangular or Square: length x width x depth x 7.5 = US gallons. For example:
    • 8′ x 5′ x 3′ x 7.5 = 900 gallons you will need a 900 g.p.h. pump minimum
    • Circular: diameter x diameter x depth x 5.9 = US gallons.
    • Oval with straight sides: length x width x depth x 6.7 = US gallons.

    • Floaters simply drift on the water surface and move where the breeze takes them.
    • They shade water surfaces like lily pad leaves and absorb dissolved nutrients that contribute to algae proliferation.
    • 60-70% of water’s surface should be covered with foliage to reduce the water temperature and combat algae growth.
    • Water Hyacinth and Water Lettuce are annual plants and particularly attractive with shiny, leathery leaves or soft green, felted foliage upon which water beads.
    • Water Hyacinth roots receive and protect fish eggs while the leaves hold spawn near the surface where their warmest but still protect spawn and baby fish from the sun.
    • After fish are hatched, they continue to be protected among the Water Hyacinth roots.

    • Hardy Water Lilies need a minimum of 6 hours sunlight, rich soil, and warm, shallow, unmoving water to be able to last for years.
    • They come in a range of sizes from small with a mature spread of 4-5 sq. ft. to medium spread of 6-10 sq. ft. and large at 10-12 sq. ft.
    • Blooms can be pink, white, yellow, salmon, or red and they sit just above the surface of the water.
    • To overwinter, move containers to the deepest area of the pond (at least 2′-3′) so the roots don’t freeze solid.
    • Tropical Water Lilies can be treated as an annual or brought indoors to a heated greenhouse or sunroom, placed in a tank where water temperature doesn’t fall below 70°F, and returned to the pond when water temperature outside is 70°F (usually early June).
    • Large flowers are held above the water on long stems in shades of blue, purple, red, pink, yellow, and white.
    • Day and night blooming as well as fragrant varieties are available.
    • Tropical Water Lilies are prolific bloomers.
    • Fertilize once a month from April to August with an aquatic fertilizer pellet/pond tab that is inserted into the soil.

    • Oxygenators grow under water and control algae.
    • They absorb excess nutrients from the water and liberate oxygen that clears water, prevents growth of algae, and allows fish to breathe.
    • They also provide spawning space for fish and much needed shelter and protection for baby fish.
    • Oxygenating plants include Elodea, Cabomba, Hornwort, Sagittaria, and Vallisneria.
    • Place the pots on the bottom of the pond between lily tubs.

    • All aquatics can be planted in pre-mixed, rich, clay loam (Fafard® Aquatic Plant Soil).
    • Do not add compost, peat moss, or manure as lighter materials float and manure discolours water and encourages algae growth.
    • Plastic mesh baskets are available in a variety of sizes.
    • Marginal or bog plants can be planted in 8-10″ containers or larger.
    • Dwarf Water Lilies can be planted in 10-12″ pots while most other lilies require 15-24″ diameter containers.
    • Oxygenating plants can be planted in 8″ containers or shallow trays.
    • After planting, top the container with heavy gravel or riverbed stone to weight the pot and prevent fish from nosing around the soil and clouding the water.

    • Yes, these scavengers feed on algae and excess fish food.
    • Hardy Melantho snails consume large amounts of green scum and are prolific egg layers.

    • With flexible PVC liner ponds you can build ledges near the edge and place pots of shallow water and bog plants.
    • These plants include winter hardy Arrowhead, Corkscrew Rush, Yellow Water Iris, Pickerel Rush, and Cattail to name a few.
    • To overwinter, trim back the foliage and drop containers to the deepest part of the pool with Water Lilies.
    • Tropical, non-hardy, shallow water plants include Taro, Canna, Papyrus, Parrot Feather, and Golden Club – they look very exotic.

    • Too much sunlight on surface of water: floating aquatic plants and Water Lily foliage need to cover 60-70% of surface.
    • Warm water: not enough plants on the surface to keep water cool and/or the water is too shallow.
    • Cool water: plants haven’t started to grow yet because water isn’t quite warm enough – be patient – wait for water to heat up and plants will do their job of covering the surface and absorbing nutrients that don’t evaporate.
    • Dissolved nutrients in water: all aquatic plants absorb these nutrients instead of being food for algae – increase ratio of plants to water area.
    • Large fish population: fish waste breaks down into nitrate fertilizer and makes algae thrive – reduce number of fish, increase aquatic plants, and/or consider using a biological filter system.
    • Excessive feeding of fish: feed in smaller amounts, less often.

    • A maximum of 1″ of fish per square foot of surface area.
    • Calculate surface area by establishing square footage. i.e. length x width.
    • Allow for growth and reproduction.
    • Too many fish causes stress and makes them more disease prone.

    • Feed fish a small amount twice a day.
    • They should consume it all within 3 to 5 minutes.
    • Remember, too much fish food and fish waste are contributing factors to algae proliferation.

    • For raccoons: edge your pond with rocks or flagstones that hang out over the water 6-8″ so they can’t walk into the water and place rocks high enough from water surface that they can’t scoop fish out.
    • For herons: run several strands of fishing line filament in the area of the water garden (perhaps from house to trees or from tree to tree) so they won’t land at all.

    • In early autumn: stop fertilizing plants, install netting over the pond to catch leaves/needles, scoop or vacuum debris from bottom of pond, prune yellow lily leaves, bring tropical marginal plants indoors prior to first frost.
    •  Late autumn: place hardy Water Lilies and tender, hardy Marginals in deep, ice-free water. Leave non-tender hardy Marginals on growing shelves, compost annual floaters such as Water Hyacinth and Lettuce.
    • Remove the pump from the pond and install a pond heater or bubbler to keep a small area of the pond ice-free so toxic gases that would kill fish can escape or bring fish indoors before water temperature drops to 50°F to reduce stress.


  • A typical roll of sod is 2′ x 4.5′ for 9 sq. ft.

    Kentucky Bluegrass sod which is ideal for sunny locations. Some of our locations may have other varieties of sod available by custom order. Sod can be delivered depending on the quantity. Please contact the Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre closest to you for additional information on sod and delivery fees.

  • If a lawn is dug up, it is usually a sign that there are racoons or skunks looking for food, most likely grubs, in your lawn. You can sometimes deter these animals by using  ‘Critter Ridder’. To check for grubs turn over the turf and look 4″-6″ down.

    You may find white grubs from 3/4″ up to 1 1/2″ in size at the root level. If this is the case, it is imperative that you act quickly to control the grubs. A comprehensive insect control program should be implemented. We recommend that you visit a Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre that is nearest to you for specific details on your lawn and to determine the degree of damage that has been done.

    Maintaining a healthy and well-watered lawn is the best defence for the prevention and control of grubs and most other insects. Use Beneficial Nematodes to ensure a strong, healthy lawn.

  • There are various fertilizers to apply to your lawn depending on the time of year. We have our Parkwood® brands that can be used at all times of year. We recommend our “3 Step” Fertilizer Program which can be purchased as a package and will ensure all your fertilizer needs are met for the year.

  • We sell many different grass seed mixtures for many different conditions which include our Parkwood® “Supreme” mixture for sun and Parkwood®“Forest Blend” mixture for shade. Determine what type of light conditions you have and select the appropriate seed. Within each mixture of our Parkwood® brands are three types of seed: Perennial Ryegrass, Fescue and Bluegrass. The Fescue grass is what grows well in shade and is in higher concentration in the shade mixture. The Bluegrass does well in sun and is in higher concentration in the sun mixture.

  • Yes. We can arrange for delivery of these products. Prices and arrangements may vary by store, so ensure that you contact your local Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre for specific information.

  • New Lawns: Add Fafard® Viva Lawn Repair to a depth of 5 cm (2″) to fill in any low spots and ensure the lawn surface is flat and even. For quick establishment and healthy root growth, spread Scotts® Turf Builder® with a fertilizer spreader at a rate of 10 kg (22 lb.) per 50 m2 (538 ft2.) Sow the appropriate Parkwood® Lawn Grass mixture at a rate of 500 g (1.1 lb.) evenly over 30 m2 (322 ft2.) Use a lawn rake to lightly mix seed, soil and fertilizer together. Roll once. Water thoroughly with a fine spray at least three times a week until the lawn is established. Do not let the soil dry out and do not mow grass until it reaches a height of 8 cm (3″). After 4 weeks, fertilize with Parkwood® Lawn Food to help the root system expand, thicken turf and darken the green colour of the blades. Do not use any control products for weeds or insects until after the third mowing.

    Rejuvenated Lawns: Mow grass close to the soil surface. Rake vigorously to remove clippings, debris and accumulated thatch. Use Parkwood® Viva Lawn Repair to fill-in and level any low spots. Repeat all steps listed above beginning with an application of Scotts® Turf Builder®.


  • Anytime of the year is fine for planting as long as you can dig into the soil. Ensure that the plant is well watered (especially in summer) and fertilized regularly. Begin with Parkwood® Transplanter 5-15-5 every two weeks for the first month followed by a regular fertilizing program throughout the season.

  • There are many plants which love acidic soil such as Rhododendrons, Broadleaf Evergreens, Evergreens, Blueberries and Hydrangea to name a few. There are several items that could be added to the soil to increase its acidity: Parkwood® Make it Blue, Peat Moss, Granular Sulphur, or Aluminum Sulphate.

  • Once you have purchased a tree, be sure to purchase a bottle of Parkwood® Transplanter 5-15-5 and Parkwood® 3 in 1 to supplement the existing soil. You may also require some gravel for drainage, a Parkwood® stake kit in the fall and Parkwood® tree wrap to protect the bark.

  • A plant in full sun is expected to receive a minimum of 4-6 hours of afternoon sun.

Plant Maintenance

  • Generally, roses should be pruned and fertilized in the spring. During the summer, roses should be deadheaded and fertilized (no later than August). Once fall arrives, your roses should be pruned back to knee height (except climbers) and mounded up with soil to be protected for the winter. Keep in mind that roses should be watered at ground level and not overhead. This will prevent water from sitting on the leaves which promotes disease.

  • Pruning depends on the plant and weather conditions. In general, prune flowering shrubs after they bloom, prune trees in the winter, evergreens can be pruned throughout the season and roses should be pruned in the spring or fall. For further details, speak with the experts at any Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre.

  • Watering depends on the plant. Generally speaking, water plants only as needed, checking the soil for moisture. Over watering can be dangerous to a plant just the same as under watering can be detrimental. Most outdoor plants should be watered every 2-3 days during the growing season. Watering requirements for indoor plants varies widely depending on the type of plant and the conditions. You may wish to purchase a moisture meter to determine the right amount of soil moisture for each plant. Consult with the plant experts at Sheridan Nurseries for specific varieties.

  • There are several tasks to complete in the fall for winter preparation. Among them are: fertilize your lawn with Parkwood® Fall Fertilizer, clean up the vegetable garden, hill up and protect roses, wrap evergreens with netting, spray non-deciduous plants/evergreens with Wilt-Pruf, screen sensitive plants with protection (i.e. burlap around plants and/or tree wrap around stems).

Product Information

  • Many plants can and have been used for hedging. However, the most popular to provide privacy are: cedars, privets, and some types of columnar trees.

  • To keep your annuals flowering all season long, water them regularly, apply Plant Prod® Smartcote® 14-14-14 in early May, again in July and then fertilize them every other week with Parkwood® Flowering Plant Food 15-30-15.

  • The coverage on a bag of bulk will vary depending on the material and the amount that is spread out. Most bags will have a chart which indicates the area of coverage in relation to the depth applied.

  • If house plants are outdoors for the summer months, they may carry unwanted insects indoors with them when brought back in for the fall and winter. To prevent this from happening, spray them with “Trounce” or Safer’s “Insecticidal Soap”. Products like Chemical Free Crawling Insect Killer can be added to the soil.

  • Roses can be attacked and hindered by either insects and/or disease. In general, Safer’s 3 in 1 will act as a preventative measure and will help rid the rose of both insects and disease. This should be applied as soon as new shoots appear in the spring. The most common diseases known to roses are “black spot” and “powdery mildew”. Specific products, called “fungicides”, can be used on black spot and other rose related diseases. (“Defender”) It is suggested that alternate products be used to prevent a build-up of resistance.

  • “Fruit Tree Spray”, “Trounce” or “Sulphur Spray” can act as a general control against insects and disease on most fruit plants and trees. These can be used throughout the season, however be sure to read the package instructions for information on the number of days to spray prior to harvesting. At the beginning of the season, use the dormant spray kit, (Horticultural oil and Lime Sulphur) before the tree comes out of its dormancy. This controls many diseases or insects that have overwintered on the plant. The oil should not be applied at any other time of the year.

  • There are Perennial Chrysanthemums that will reappear year after year. Alternatively, the more popular are the Garden Mums that are Annual and are planted in the garden for Fall colour. Also, there are Indoor Pot Mums that are for indoor display only and are available all year round.

  • Many homeowners have mushrooms growing in their yards, particularly in the lawn. A mushroom is a fungus that usually grows from rotting or decaying wood in the soil (ie. a root left in the ground from a plant removed). “Moss Out” can be applied to get rid of mushrooms. In addition, changing the conditions of the soil by adding Lime will reduce the acidity of the soil and creates less preferable conditions for mushrooms to grow in. If possible, dig out the trunk or piece of wood. The mushrooms don’t harm any of the plant material and will eventually go away on their own and with enough time.

  • These beetles are known for eating the leaves of primarily Viburnum plants (often called “Snowball bushes”) and leaving only the veins of the leaf. It is recommended to use a “contact” insecticide like “Trounce” or “Endall” on a regular basis until there are no further signs of either the beetle or the larval stage. Speak to one of the experts at your local Sheridan Nurseries for specific details.

  • Squirrels and other animals like to dig up the bulbs and eat the heads (except Daffodils and Fritellaria bulbs). Products that can deter these animals are: “Blood Meal”, and “Critter Ridder”. Note that most of these products will wash away after a few rainfalls and need re-application.

  • Dividing perennials depends on the variety. In general, perennials can be divided in either the spring or the fall. Check with the professionals at your local Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre for specific inquiries.

  • Dormant spraying combines Horticulture Oil and Lime Sulphur to kill overwintering insects (such as scale and mites), insect eggs, and diseases on certain hardy landscape plants. Dormant Oil and Lime Sulphur are best applied to fruit trees, roses, ornamental shrubs like Highbush Cranberry and European Snowball, evergreens such as Cedars, Junipers, Euonymus, and trees like Hawthorn, Crab Apple, and Honey Locust. Do not use Dormant Spray on Beech, Butternut, Colorado Blue Spruce, Hickory, Holly, Sugar Maple, Japanese Maple, or Walnut. This powerful combination spray can only be applied when plants are completely dormant. Speak to the experts at Sheridan Nurseries for specific details on how and when to apply this product.

    Check out our Dormant Spray Video }

  • All lawn fertilizers are made with 3 main ingredients. Nitrogen (N) which promotes healthy green growth; Phosphorus (P) which stimulates root formation promotes and enhances blooms as well as provides energy for continued growth; and Potassium (K) which strengthens the plant and increases its resistance to disease. In the spring, early and late summer, your lawn requires a higher level of Nitrogen (N) to promote strong green growth. In the fall, we recommend a higher level of Potassium (K) to strengthen the lawn and increase disease resistance to prepare it for the winter months ahead.

  • You may have snails or slugs feeding on your plants. The best time to check for snails in your garden is at night with a flashlight. Slug and Snail Traps can also be used to determine if you have slugs or snails. Snails and slugs prefer moist, damp areas and tend to avoid direct sunlight. You may also notice the snails have left silver trails around the plants and on top of the soil. We recommend using Safer’s Slug and Snail Bait. This easy-to-use granular bait can be sprinkled around the soil near the affected plants, ideally in the evening. Any uneaten bait will degrade and become part of the soil. You will notice a marked improvement in the soil within a few days.

  • Sheridan Nurseries has 8 Garden Centre locations in Ontario.

    Check here for a Garden Centre near you! }

  • Sheridan Nurseries stocks a wide and diverse range of products including indoor and outdoor plant material, garden related products, patio furniture, giftware, Christmas items and much more. If you cannot find what you are looking for, speak to a Sheridan Nurseries representative and they will try to locate what you are looking for, either on site or by special order.

    Check out our products & services section }

  • We can assure you that all plants grown by Sheridan Nurseries are Neonics free. As well, our main bedding plant supplier assures us that they are Neonics free and the seed they use has not been treated with Neonics.

    However, we would question whether any retailer can guarantee that ALL plants they sell are Neonics free. At Sheridan Nurseries, we grow many of the plants we sell, however like most plant retailers, we source and buy plants from hundreds of suppliers covering half of the US, many countries in Europe and half of the provinces in Canada. These suppliers are in turn buying in seeds, cuttings and finished plants from thousands of other growers. We are also at the mercy of what our suppliers tell us regarding their neonic practices. We would be remiss in guaranteeing any specific practices that we do not have direct knowledge of the specific details. Therefore, the majority of our plants are Neonics free.

    We have also embarked on a program to ask all of our plant suppliers to confirm in writing if their plants are Neonicotinoid free.

    As a further commitment to the preservation of the bee population we have developed a line of Sheridan Garden Classic perennials which we have named “Bee-neficial” plants. We are also promoting bee friendly annuals and flowering shrubs.

Store Information

  • Store hours vary throughout the year depending on the season. Our store hours are extended in the spring and Christmas seasons and shortened through the winter months. We are open every day of the year with the exception of New Year’s Day, Family Day and Christmas.

    Choose a Garden Centre near you to view the hours }

  • We accept cash, Debit cards, VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and personal/business cheques with proper identification (i.e. valid driver’s license and credit card.) Sheridan Nurseries gift cards are also redeemable at any of our locations and can be used as methods of payment.

  • Yes we deliver. Each store has a defined delivery area to which they will deliver. Charges may vary for certain products and delivery areas. Contact a Sheridan Nurseries in your area for a quote.

  • When you purchase our reusable 4 litre Plant Food jug, you can re-fill it as often as you wish with our pre-mixed, all-purpose plant food.* Lids are available in-store at cash desk. *There is no other obligation to you except that the jug provided must be the only jug used for this purpose.

  • When you place a $3.99 deposit on one of our refillable, reusable bird buckets, you can fill up that bucket with any combination of our two bulk bird seeds for one low price. If you return the bucket, you will receive your deposit of $3.99 back. In addition, we offer a “Frequent User” card that entitles you to a free fill-up after you have purchased ten refills. Ask our staff for your “Frequent Purchase Bird Seed” program card.

    Parkwood® Brand }

  • By law, the free fertilizer jugs must be properly labeled. Nothing other than our fertilizer should go in these jugs. If another product in poured into the jug and re-used later for fertilizer, it may leave a residue which could be harmful to plants. The bird buckets we provide must be used as they are pre-measured and comply with the standard regulations for weights and measures.

  • We have a No-Hassle Guarantee Policy. Our hardy nursery stock and perennials are guaranteed for two full years, our roses are guaranteed for one full year from the date of purchase and our houseplants (non-flowering) are guaranteed for 3 full months from the date of purchase. We will replace the plant with a plant of equal size and equal value of the original purchase or issue an in-store credit for the original amount paid for the plant. We replace the replacement plants if they die aswell. This credit can be used towards any product in our store. The receipt and dead plant must be presented as proof of purchase. Our expert staff can provide you with advice and suggestions on selecting the right replacement.

    Our No Hassle Guarantee }

  • We do have a planting service. Each of our Garden Centres operates a planting service which will plant most of the material sold at the Garden Centre for a fee. If the planting or landscape project is beyond the capability of the Garden Centre, our Design and Landscape Department would be pleased to provide a quote.

  • We offer our Award Winning Sheridan Nurseries Garden Guide which contains extensive information on plant types, planting information, rose care and much more.

  • Senior citizens (60+) receive a 10% discount* off all regular-priced merchandise in the store every day of the year upon presentation of the Sheridan Lifestyle Plus Card. This card can be obtained by filling out an application at your local Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre.

    *Some restrictions apply.

  • Yes. Contact the Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre nearest you for details on our Tree Inspection and Garden Consultation services.


  • Poinsettias must be in a warm area and not be exposed to cold air or strong drafts. They require medium to full sun and must be kept well-watered. They can be kept growing until mid-May, at which time they can be planted in the garden. In September, they must be brought inside and placed in a light free environment (i.e. Closet) at night until late November (or until the coloured bracts are well developed).

  • Yes. Potted evergreen trees are most likely in their dormancy at Christmas time and can withstand a short period of time indoors. They can remain indoors for approximately 7 – 10 days before they should be put outside and planted. (Prepare the planting hole in advance before the ground freezes). The evergreens should be sprayed with “Wilt-Pruf” before being put inside to prevent moisture loss in the leaves.

For further information, or answers to your specific questions not mentioned here, please contact your nearest Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre or email us. We look forward to hearing from you!