How to Pot Plants in a Water Garden


Gardens have transitioned from traditional flowerbeds to exotic water gardens. Container water gardens or ponds add beauty and dimension to the home landscape. Water garden plants differ from standard potted plants in the elemental placement of these plants. These plants are submerged in the water garden and require special treatment to thrive in this environment. Learning how to pot plants in a water garden will allow these beautiful cultivars to thrive in your pond for many years.

Step 1

Select pots large enough to accommodate the plant and allow a 2 to 3 extra inches of space as the plant matures. Plastic gallon transplant containers or standard plastic pots without bases work best in the water garden. Ensure each planter has drainage holes spaced at 4-inch intervals along the pot bottom. If not, place a screwdriver against the pot bottom and tap it with a hammer to make a drainage hole.

Step 2

Position the plant into the empty pot to gauge the amount of soil needed in the pot. Water garden plant roots should lie right below the finished soil level, roughly 2 inches below the pot edge. This allows room to place pea gravel for soil containment and to add stability to the pot after you submerge it in the pond.

Step 3

Moisten the soil with a garden hose and fill the pot two-thirds full with soil. Some gardeners use aquatic potting soil while others choose convenient clay-based garden soil. Both mediums work fine for aquatic plants. Standard potting soil is considered a "soil less" and contains a mixture of peat moss, perlite and sand that is too lightweight to use in a pond.

Step 4

Free the plant from the transplant container by squeezing the container to loosen the roots. Gently lift the plant by the main stem at the soil level. Do not tug or pull to avoid damage to the plant. Cut away the pot if removal is difficult.

Step 5

Center the plant into the pot and fill in with soil. Press down firmly to remove pockets of air and add more soil, if needed. Pour a 3/4- to 1-inch layer of pea gravel on top of the soil in the pot.

Step 6

Place the plant into the water garden on bricks or an upside-down, unused pot. Foliage should lie right above the water line. See the planting label on submerged plants for proper depth placement in the pond.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic containers with drainage holes
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Aquatic potting soil (optional)
  • Clay garden soil (optional)
  • Garden hose
  • Pruning shears
  • Pea gravel


  • University of Illinois: Planting Aquatic Plants
  • Colorado State University: Container Water Gardens
Keywords: pot pond plants, potting water garden, water garden pots, planting water plants

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.