Planting Aquatic Plants In Container Water Gardens

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This article provides information and instructions for creating a container water garden
by Brett · All Zones · Container Gardens · 1 Comments · September 09, 2013 · 10,439 views

Pot some plants for your container water garden

Although your water garden will have a few floaters, you will need to pot up other varieties of aquatic plants before sinking them in the water container. Use sturdy plastic or terra cotta pots. Most nursery and garden centers will have a supply of used black plastic growing pots that our plants, and they're free! Water plants should be grown in a 50/50 mixture of bagged topsoil and clay soil. Don't use a light-weight commercial potting mixture.

To pot plants and sink them in the water:

  1. Remove the plant from its original container and rinse thoroughly to wash away any insects.
  2. Partially fill the pot with soil mixture and gently position the plant.
  3. Fill in with additional soil mix, leaving about an inch below the rim.
  4. Spread a layer of pea gravel or aquarium gravel on the top of each newly planted pot to keep soil from muddying the water.
  5. Slowly lower the pot into the water at a slight angle, allowing time for air to escape without displacing dirt.
  6. To position an aquatic at just the right depth in your container, simply set it on a brick or two. Keep the plant high enough so that its leaves sit above water.
  7. Add free-floating plants, such as water hyacinth or water lettuce, to the container after potting up and positioning the submerged aquatic plants. Simply float them in the water - they don't need any soil. They have beautiful flowers and help to keep the water clear of algae and weeds by minimizing the amount of sunlight on the surface of your container garden. Remove excess floating plants by lifting them above the water and cutting off unwanted parts. Use discarded pond plants as mulch around you garden plants!

Swamp in a Pot...

Do you know you can grow water plants in a containerized miniature swamp? It's true and it's the simplest form of water gardening you can think of. Instead of filling your pot with water, all you need is a traditional terra-cotta pot, pea gravel, potting mix and a couple of water plants. If the pot has a drain hole(s) line it with heavy duty plastic film or a piece of pond liner.

For best results, treat the pot as if it were a miniature swamp. Just fill the container at least two-thirds full of 50/50 potting mix/clay soil mixture, add the plants, top them off with pea gravel, and then add water. Make sure the plants stand in 6 inches of water or less.

Some good "swamp plants" are water arrow arum, pickerel weed, soft rush, marsh mallow, and cattails to name a few.

NOTE: If your little swamp attracts mosquitoes, add a drop of cooking oil to the water every couple of weeks. It creates a film over the water surface that is harmless to plants but prevents mosquito larvae from coming up for air.

Go to next page to find a list of the best plants for your container water garden


Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Nice article. I have enjoyed creating several water gardens to enjoy on my patios and in the gardens. Besides plants, rocks, and figurines I have used small water pumps to add the sound of running or splashing water. A simple tube set vertically in the middle of the water garden can make a simple fountain. Water running over taller rocks make a nice small water fall that produces a pleasing sound as the water slowly falls into the garden. Adding small underwater lighting really highlights the plants and draws much attention in the evenings. Like the article said small fish can add interest to your water garden. I like using the small mosquito fish. They not only eat the mosquito larvae but keep the garden clean at the same time add nutrients for the plants. I believe most states in the U.S. have cities or special districts responsible for Vector control of multiple cities. I have found these vector control districts more than willing to give homeowners these mosquitos fish for free if they have enough available. The mosquito fish multiply quickly which allows me to net many at times to return to vector control. The vector contol district has always appreciated these fish as they are then given out to others to use in their ponds and water gardens. Its a small but nice way to help with the control of our mosquito pests.

4 years ago ·
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