Easy and Beautiful Container Water Gardens
Make one of these miniature water gardens in an afternoon—or less.
A container of fresh, unchlorinated water and several hours of sun a day is about all you need to add a water feature to your yard. Here, tall plants (elephant ear and dwarf papyrus) contrast with low-growing water lilies and water lettuce in a ceramic planter.
Experts recommend three to four five of direct sunlight a day for most aquatic plants as well as protection from afternoon sun; full can can help promote algae. Get more tips on how to create this and other water gardens.
A glossy tureen holds an ensemble of lovely leaves: floating sensitive plant (Neptunia oleracea), water clover (Marsilea drummondii), water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) and floating fern (Salvinia minima).
Water garden maintenance is typically minimal. Remove old flowers, yellowing foliage, and excess plant growth, and add water as necessary.
Water Lily Beauty
Create a romantic, miniature garden with water lilies. You only need a few, and assembly is easy. See how to make a water lily garden in an afternoon.
Provide a colorful counterpoint to a rough-texture stone container by adding leafy rosettes of water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), white water snowflakes (Nymphoides indica) and tiny Azolla fern.
This glazed terra-cotta pot sprouts two colors of hardy water canna, dwarf papyrus and tropical pitcher plant.
Combine four floating plants in a striking glass bowl: trailing parrot feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum), round-leaved frog's bit (Limnobium spongia), fan-like water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) and red-tinged Azolla.
Most water plants spread very quickly, so you may only need to buy one of each for your small garden. If you need to thin fast-growing plants from your container, be sure not to put them in natural waterways, where they can become invasive.
Place hardy miniature waterlilies, such as these Nymphaea pygmaea 'Helvola', in a yellowware bowl.
A bowl of water lettuce and water hyacinth looks pretty on the table.
A pale stoneware bowl is a good choice for showing off burgundy-edged Phyllanthus fluitans, tiny-leaf duckweed (Lemna minor) and lavender-flower water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes).
Set a trio of small floating plants—water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), water poppy (Hydrocleys nymphoides) and oval-shape Salvinia—in a square pot. Even without the occasional yellow poppy blossoms, the composition boasts an interesting mix of pleated, shiny rounded, and tiny oval leaves.
A Splash of Color
Add color to enamelware with floating fern (Salvinia minima) and water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), an easy-to-grow water plant.
What happens to your tabletop garden in winter? In the Midwest, most water plants are grown as annuals. Some water plants can be overwintered indoors in an aquarium or in containers of wet, sandy loam; check with your local garden center for information specific to your area and the plants you have.