Water container gardens


Simple water gardens can be created in almost any space using preexisting containers. To create an attractive and easy to maintain water garden, start with a large pot at least 18" deep and 24" wide. This size will easily accommodate most marginals and at least one dwarf or
medium-sized Water lily or lily-like plant. Your goal is to have 50%-60% of the water surface covered with foliage. This can be achieved with Water Lily pads, the foliage of submerged marginals and the addition of annual floating plants such as Water Lettuce, Water Hyacinth or Duckweed. This shielding of the surface area will keep algae growth to a minimum.


1 Hardy Water Lily ( Nymphaea spp.)
1 Hardy Marginal, i.e. Flowering Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) OR Cattail (Typha minima)
1 Tropical Accent, i.e. Canna OR Umbrella Palm (Cyperus alternifolius) OR Elephant ear
Annual Floaters:
1-3 Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)
1 Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
1/4 cup Duckweed or Fairy Moss


Place Lilies directly on the bottom of the pot. Marginal containers should be placed with 2”-3” of water over the top of the pots. Floaters can be added last. Plants should be fertilized during the growing season with aquatic fertilizer tablets plunged directly into the pots. To control mosquito larvae, add one or two small goldfish to the pot. Alternatively, you can use the ecologically safe Mosquito Dunks tablets made with B.T., which will not harm plants or fish.

To winterize your container garden, remove all plants and thoroughly clean the container with fresh water. All hardy marginals can be stored outside the pond in a protected area. All tropical, non-hardy marginals should be brought indoors for overwintering. Floaters will survive indoors in a warm pool but should be replaced annually.

Please consult our staff with any questions on making or maintaining your pot garden. For your convenience, Swansons also carries a number of helpful water gardening books.