Gardening Guide

4 Water Gardening Section


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4 Water Gardening Article

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Water Gardening


If there is at least six hours of light on it, and as long as a container can hold enough water to sustain some plants, and perhaps some fish, any container can become the basis for a water garden.

Water gardening used to be limited to ponds and larger bodies of water. Now, many people can enjoy the pleasures of water gardening, even if they live in an apartment. Water gardening has different needs than regular soil gardening, and as long as those needs are maintained, water gardening can be successful in some surprising places.

A container that will hold at least 15 – 20 gallons of water can be used for a small water garden. Contrary to some expectations, small plants need to be planted in containers. The nature of the soil will vary depending on the plant that will be in the garden. The plant may also have specific requirements as to how deep it needs to sit in the water. Specific information can be found at local garden centers or online.

One can’t always fill a water gardening container with water directly from the tap. Many communities use chemicals in the water to help keep the water drinkable. Chlorine is one of these chemicals and can kill a plant if it is placed in water with a high chlorine content. Generally, the chlorine will burn off in about 24 – 48 hours, so it is advisable to let the water sit in the container before anything is placed in it.

Water gardening containers may have one, two or three basic kinds of plants. Some plants are placed in the water, but grow above the water line. Some plants grow below the surface of the water. Some plants, called “floaters” for obvious reasons, seem to “float” on the water. How many and which variety of plant will depend on the care the plant needs and the size of the container.

Some water gardens contain fish or snails. Small water gardens might be home to a few guppies. Guppies can tolerate a range of temperatures. They also eat mosquitoes that might be tempted by the water. Larger containers might be able to hold one or two goldfish. Some snails might be advantageous since snails eat fish waste and decaying plant matter.

Even with snails, it is not possible to fill a container with water, stick some plants in the water and call it a successful water garden. Water gardening requires some form of fresh water supply. If the garden is a container, then consideration must be given to how often and how easily the container will be cleaned and given fresh water.