Building a Container Water Garden
Once youve chosen a spot for your container water garden
remember, 6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day, no overhanging
trees, and a nearby water source (and power source if youll be
using a circulating pump for a waterfall) you get to the fun
part. Most home and garden supply store chains carry all the
materials you need to create small ponds, including plastic liners
but youre only limited by your imagination and a few
basic rules in choosing a container for your water garden.
It must be easy to drain.
It must be non-porous.
It must be deep enough to support the plants you want to grow.
Ive seen water gardens that use everything from old bathtubs to
an assortment of terracotta pots (with plastic liners) to large
baskets (also with plastic liners).
For a container water garden, you wont actually be planting the
plants in the bottom of the pond. Instead, each plant
will be planted in its own separate pot and submerged in the water.
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Assemble your equipment
Youll need your containers, plants, bricks or terracotta pots,
gravel, heavy soil, aquatic plant fertilizer tablets and a garden hose.
Pot your plants
If theyre not already in suitable pots, youll need to pot
your plants. Do not use potting soil, vermiculite or peat moss
all of which will wash out of the pots and foul the water. Instead,
you want a very heavy, mud-clay like soil. Fill the pot 2/3 full with
soil. Push a fertilizer tablet into the soil, then carefully spread
the roots of the plant over the surface of the dirt. Add a few inches
of dirt and lightly tamp it down, then cover with an inch or so of
pea gravel. Repeat until all of your plants are potted.
Arrange your plants in the container
This is where the bricks come in. The tops of the plant pots should
be no more than a few inches below the surface of the water. Stack
bricks, upended terracotta pots or construction blocks in the
container and place pots on top of them to vary the heights of the plants.
Add pump for fountain or waterfall if using one.
If youre adding a fountain or a waterfall, situate the pump per
the manufacturers directions.
Fill with water.
Using the garden hose, fill your container with water until the plant
pots are submerged under a few inches of water. If you fill
from the bottom by dropping the hose into the bottom of the
container and letting the water level rise, youll reduce the
chance of disturbing the soil and gravel in your plants.
Dont forget that the point of the exercise was to have a
lovely, cool water garden to enjoy. Make sure that you place a bench
or comfortable sitting rock nearby where you can enjoy the beauty of
your own miniature pond every day.