How-To Video

Below is an instructional video demonstrating just how easy setting up a container water garden can be!

How to make a container water garden

If you’ve never done this before, don’t worry! Creating a small water garden in a container just as easy as traditional container gardening with potting soil. All you need to know to do it yourself is how to choose or seal your container and also a bit about a few aquatic plants and their placement inside the container. We’ll go through the basic steps here to make a simple but elegant design. For more ideas and adding features such as fountains, lights, fish and more, please visit our Ideas page.

The container should be at least 12-24 inches wide and 12-18 inches deep or larger. Plastic containers with dark colored interiors are very economical. Ceramic containers like terra cotta should be sealed with a dark colored sealer on the interior of the pot and wooden barrels will also need sealing. Drainage holes can be sealed with a wine bottle cork, hot glue gun, or by placing a thick piece of cardboard over the hole(s) before applying a spray-on sealer. Allow a day or two for sealant to cure before filling with water, after filling with water, wait another two days for any chlorine in the water to evaporate.

Now for the fun part… the plants! Some aquatic plants float on the surface without any need to root in soil. Other varieties needing soil to grow are submerged in smaller containers within the container water garden. More than 3 plants in the container will look crowded and hide the water. There are a great number of aquatic plants to choose from. If you need a place to start, I would suggest choosing a trio with a tall, spiky variety such as cork screw rush or water blue bells placed with dwarf papyrus or the brightly colored chameleon plant with the final touch of a floater like water lettuce or a “spiller” for the edge like water mint. For more aquatic plants visit our Plant Gallery.

Placement and maintenance.

Aquatic plants for shade and varieties that can be grown indoors do exist but for this example we will assume you are using sun-loving varieties. In that case your container will need a spot that will receive at least 6 hours of sun a day or more. If placing a larger container on a deck or balcony make sure the structure can hold the weight. Refill your container at least every other day when it’s hot to maintain the water level and remove any dead leaves and debris from the water.

You might find unused containers lying around such as these. If they are not water-tight, you can use a spray-on sealer such as Flexseal. Black or dark brown colors give the best effect. Cover any drainage holes with a piece of cardboard before spraying your sealer.

You might find unused containers lying around such as these. If they are not water-tight, you can use a spray-on sealer such as Flexseal. Black or dark brown colors give the best effect. Cover any drainage holes with a piece of cardboard before spraying your sealer.