Step by Step instructions to make your own container water garden:
Kits are available that include everything but the container to build your own container garden. If you would like to try making one on your own, here are our step by step instructions.
Click here to view complete container kits.
1) Once you have found a suitable container, confirm that it is water proof - fill will water and leave 24 hours in a dry place. If it does leak, fill cracks with aquarium grade silicone or caulking on the inside.
2) Seal the inside of porous or wooden containers, such as whiskey barrels with a flexible liner. Staple the liner in place and seal with silicone sealer. To seal the inside of clay pots, paint the inside with a paint made especially for water gardens, available from home and garden centers.
3) Add a layer of crushed aquarium grade charcoal and a layer of small stones.
4) Install a small fountain or a pond spitter to help aerate the water. The cord will be easily hidden by plant foliage. The most suitable are spitting fountains - cute little brass frogs or fish that gently spit back into the water. Avoid splashing fountains as many plants do not like the water to be disturbed.
Add water and allow to sit for 5-7 days to get rid of chlorine and establish water temperature - alternately use chlorine remover.
5) Stock with suitable plants - include a variety of floating plants, submerged plants, edge plants and trailing plants. Remember to choose plants that are in proportion to the scale of your container. Choose a variety of plant colors, textures and heights, with trailing plants for added interest. Plants are placed in their containers right into the water, to stop the soil from eroding, cover the top of each pot with pea gravel. Place the plants on rocks or bricks to bring them up to the right height. If you will be adding fish to your water garden, it is best to wait a few weeks at this point.
Plants suitable for small container gardens:
- Fairy moss
- Miniature cattails
- Water iris
- Miniature umbrella grass
- Water fern
- Water lettuce
- Miniature water lilies
- Parrot Feather
- Water Poppy
- Water Snow flake
6) By adding a few fish to your pond your water garden will require special care and maintenance. It is very important that the water temperature not rise above 85 degrees, use a thermometer and restrict your container gardens exposure to direct sunlight to six hours per day. Be sure to cover your garden container with netting to keep the fish from jumping. Koi fish do not do well in container gardens, they are too big.
Fish that do well in container gardens are:
- Sword Tails
7) Maintain your new water garden by removing dead leaves and plant debris regularly, and replace water lost to evaporation - don't be tempted to change the water. Within a few weeks, the aquatic plants will starve the algae, and the water should clear. If not, add another pot of oxygenating plants.