Setting Up Indoor Water Gardens

Any vessel that can hold water can contain an indoor water garden. This could simply be a decorative glass ashtray with water, one flower and a few small shells or pebbles used as part of a table top plant display, or it could be an urn or half-barrel planted with aquatics and containing a couple of goldfish.

A miniature water garden

miniature water garden

  • A table top or windowsill is an ideal spot for showing off a decorative glass container of plants grown in water. Most plants can successfully be grown this way.
  • It is best to root cuttings in water, not soil, and use these, as the roots made in water are different from those produced in soil.
  • Place a 2-3cm (1 in) layer of well washed aggregate in the container, then cover with a shallow layer of small pebbles and a little charcoal. Continue adding aggregate until the container is about two-thirds full, then fill one-third with water and allow time for this to be absorbed.
  • Introduce the plants to be used, carefully securing the roots with more aggregate. Feed with soluble plant food.
  • Arrange two or three matching glass containers together, or group one large size with a couple of smaller glasses. Add a container of shells, pretty pebbles or coral in water.

Using a larger container

Depending on the space you have available, it may be possible to take a corner of a sunroom or conservatory to make your own permanent built-in pond. Alternatively, a large hall can provide space for a floor level water garden filled with various types of water plants. Garden urns without drainage holes can be used or you can line a container with a plastic bucket to make it watertight. Most pots will be large enough to hold at least two or three small aquatic plants and a few small-sized fish.

Some aquatics to use

Miniature water lilies: the following can be grown in a water depth of 12.5-25cm (5— 9in):

  • ‘Joanne Pring’ (pink), pygmaearubra (red) pygmaea alba (white) and pygmaea helvola (yellow).
  • Azolla caroliniana is a miniature mossy plant that floats on the surface of water.
  • Myriophyllum is a submerged oxygenator with attractive finely cut leaves.

Some suitable containers

  • Glass jugs, bowls, dishes, drinking glasses, vases and storage jars can all be used.
  • Old china wash bowls and stone preserving jars make unusual, attractive containers.
  • For larger water gardens plastic garden troughs are sturdy — but do not remove the drainage hole covers.
  • Large terracotta pots can be lined with plastic buckets to keep them water tight but remember, they will be very heavy, and not easy to move.
  • Using imaginative containers enhances your water garden display.

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